I’ve been in Denton, Texas for about a month now and in school at UNT for about 2 weeks. The atmosphere (besides the weather) is a lot different from Florida — there are SO MANY viola students here, let alone the rest of the school, and there are so many talented people who work hard and play really well. It’s really inspiring and I’m so amazed and fortunate to take part in what’s going on here.
My new teacher, Dr. Susan Dubois, is great! I’ve worked with her before at Green Mountain and I’m really looking forward to her guidance with not only some of the physical issues I’ve had with playing (pain, soreness, etc) but also using those methods to play with a richer sound and just become a better musician. So far I’m just working on refining some basic technique but it’s exactly what I need to focus on. I’m also playing in the UNT Symphony Orchestra, Baroque ensemble and a piano quartet. I’m doing a lot of practicing and rehearsals which can be tiring, but it’s definitely worthwhile. There are 28 violists at the school (wow!) and the atmosphere in studio class is very much supportive so it’s great to be a part of it.
Regarding the pain and soreness I’ve been having, this is something that I have struggled with for many years due to overuse of certain muscle groups. I’ve added swimming to my routine and recently have gotten back into weightlifting to help with strengthening. I’m hoping the combination of that plus the new playing techniques from Dr. Dubois will help alleviate these issues.
Despite all of the physical limitations, being in this environment truly inspires me to practice and focus on my craft, and even though I’m super busy it definitely is the right path for me. I’m looking forward to the next two years here in Texas…