Many people have asked me why I started playing the violin. Although no one in my family is a professional musician, we did (and for that matter still do!) love music. Both of my parents contributed to my love for music in their own way. My mom learned how to play several musical instruments herself when she grew up and while my dad has never played an instrument, he always puts on music whenever he can. Recordings of classical music, jazz, pop, and many other genres often blast through our house, without disturbing our neighbours of course ;) My parents considered learning how to play a musical instrument part of our upbringing, just like learning how to cook and participate in sports. That is why they encouraged my siblings and me to start playing an instrument of our choice once we were old enough, while never expecting anyone of us to become a professional musician, intending to share their love of music with us.
I still remember sitting in the corner of the room, often drawing something, observing how my brother was able to create such a beautiful sound while playing the violin
My sister and eldest brother started playing the cello, followed by my second eldest brother, who started playing the violin. All of us studied with teachers who taught according to the Suzuki method in which parents play a crucial role. They are expected to attend all lessons and practice together with their children at home, supporting and helping them while they get acquainted with their instruments. While my mother was helping my siblings to practice at home, I was often in the same room playing with toys or doing something else toddlers typically do. This way, I already got familiarised with most pieces used in the Suzuki method in a very playful manner before I even started playing the violin myself. At some point, I was allowed to join my mother and my second eldest brother during his lessons with his teacher. I still remember sitting in the corner of the room, often drawing something, while observing how my brother was able to create such a beautiful sound while playing the violin. That was the moment when I really fell in love with this instrument and told my mother that I also wanted to learn how to play the violin. This turned out to be a great decision...
I had no idea what getting lessons at a conservatory and becoming a professional musician really entailed, but I loved making music, so making a living out of it sounded like a dream to me!
From this moment on, music played a very important role in my life. I started out practicing 15 minutes a day, but I always wanted to practice more. I considered making music to be just a lot of fun! When my teacher and parents noticed that it took me less time than expected to play the pieces I was weekly assigned, they wondered wether I might be able to study at a conservatory. All of this felt very foreign to me. I had no idea what getting lessons at a conservatory and becoming a professional musician really entailed, but I loved making music, so making a living out of it sounded like a dream to me! I still remember the conversation I had with my parents when I was about to sign up for an audition at the Sweelinck Academy at the Conservatory of Amsterdam when I was 8. We discussed that taking this audition meant that I had to practice the violin more consistently and more often, since this would become more and more important, but I didn't mind. I loved it. So, I took the audition, I was admitted, and that's where the real journey started.
As you can imagine, I am very grateful to my parents for supporting my siblings and me when we just started out playing an instrument. No just because it turned out that making music was my favourite thing to do on this planet, but more importantly, I am grateful that they planted a seed of love for music in our hearts. And although I am the only one who has a degree in music, all of us share our mutual love for this form of art, which is something we will cherish for the rest of our lives.