When I was in elementary school, my mother pushed my sister and I to take up piano lessons, a prominent Asian stereotype. Grudgingly, we complied for a few years, but I personally never felt satisfaction or even enjoyment from the activity. Perhaps it was because our teachers weren’t the most pleasant, or because the recordings of the music sounded far superior to what I managed to produce with my chubby, tiny fingers. I dropped the activity around sixth grade.
But violin was a different story. I joined orchestra in 4th grade, and have never since stopped. Private lessons began in 5th grade, with Laura, a teacher that I stuck with until the beginning of junior year. She’s witnessed my growth over the years through our weekly meetings. She’s seen me at my positively worst – struggling with ambition and motivation – but she’s also seen me at my Sunday best – galvanized into repetitive practice. Our interactions have been professional for the most part – practicing scales and etudes – but there were often moments of genuine friendship between us.