Interviewing a MODG student violinist


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The Zillah Castle and Ronald Castle Collection of Musical Instruments, (189), collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum, 1998.60.123. This image has been released as “CCBY” by Auckland Museum.

What is your name, age and grade?

My name is Teresa Lopez-Furlong, I’m seventeen and a junior in MODG.

What made you start playing the violin?

When I was little my dad would play the piano and I’d sit next to him and watch him play, consequently, when I turned six, I started playing piano. He would take me to symphony concerts from a very young age, so when I was around seven while watching an orchestra performance, I asked my dad if I could play the violin. He said yes. The rest is history.

How long have you been playing violin?

I have been playing around eight years now!

Why do you play violin?

I’ve come to learn that musicians have a secret superpower of the ability of accompanying people with whatever they are going through emotionally and helping them express their sorrows, their joys, their hopes, and most importantly exemplifying the transcendentals; the true, the good, and the beautiful. Music is an art that most definitely can serve as a path towards God. I can definitely see this when I go perform for the senior communities at nursing homes.
Additionally, there is something so joyous about sharing it with others. Whether those others are your fellow musicians or the audience. Whether my performance is a solo of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor or with 100+ musicians on stage performing a major symphony, the sense of accomplishment and joy is immeasurable.

Have you ever played in an orchestra? If so, which orchestra(s)?

I have and I am very grateful for these experiences!
I’ve been part of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of DuPage in Chicago IL, the Florida Youth Orchestra and the University of Miami’s Frost Music School Honors Summer Program Orchestra in Miami FL, and I now serve as the associate concertmaster of the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra in the capital of Arkansas, Little Rock.
During the summers I like to attend chamber music camps like the OPUS Chamber Music Camp in Naperville IL, or the Faulkner Chamber Music Festival during spring and summer break in Little Rock which also include orchestra in the schedule.

Are you considering a professional career in violin?

At the moment, I am not considering it as my profession. However, I’d love to continue being involved in music performance in some way after high school. That might be joining the local professional orchestra, participating in solo competitions, outreach service performances, or volunteering teaching younger kids. I do have a few violin students of my own that I would still be teaching after graduation.

If you did make it your career, would you rather play in an orchestra or be an independent player? Why?

I’d rather play in an orchestra. I absolutely love being part of an orchestra. Being surrounded and working with people that communicate and work as a team to create something bigger than ourselves is one of the best experiences one could ever ask for. Even just being backstage, warming up with your stand partner and feeling the anticipation and excitement everyone has, it’s amazing. I’d gladly do it the rest of my life.

Is there anything you would tell anyone or any tips you would give to someone who wants to/is trying to learn violin?

Embrace the mistakes, squeaks, scratches, and all the unpleasant sounds that come with practicing. It’s all part of the journey.
I know practicing is not always fun and you don’t want to do those scales/arpeggios/technique exercises, but they are so fundamental and very important components. In the words of St. Augustine, “You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.”
Be patient! It does take thousands of hours of practice to go from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Paganini’s 24 Caprices. Those tears in the practice room because you don’t see the improvement or your back/neck hurts will be shed.
That being said, practice! Keep showing up and don’t leave even when you play it right, leave until you play it and you can’t get it wrong. Like that one quote says, “There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there’s no glory.” You won’t regret the hard work.

There is “a mysterious and deep kinship between music and hope, between song and eternal life.”
Pope Benedict after a concert in 2008