My Hero’s Journey Katelyn Y.

I was called to adventure when I first saw my brother play with the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

I was inspired. I was galvanized. I was... avid. I didn’t know—or realize—it at that time, but I have always had a deep love of chamber music. When Kevin performed with the ASO, I was eager to do something similar.

I had absolutely no idea what—or how—playing with other instruments would be like.

At the end of the school year in 6th grade, I was offered a spot by Mrs. Compton in the orchestra going to Italy. My brother would be playing the viola, so it was up to me to be the orchestra’s accompaniment. There was only about seven orchestra members actually going: Two violins, one viola, one cello, and three basses. I was really excited—I was doing something new!

Luckily, Mrs. Compton was my mentor during my journey.

Mrs. Compton taught me how to stay in time with the orchestra, when to ritardando (slow down), and how to “recover” when I screw up. She provided me with support, and gave me lots of encouragement when I needed it.

I faced many challenges, allies, and enemies.

One of the challenges was learning the music as fast as possible. I was only given less than three weeks to learn around 5 new pieces! Some of the pieces, like Candle on the Water, Beauty and the Beast, and Brandenburg Concerto #4 needed more attention than the others. This was because they were technically harder—they were packed with fast notes and dynamics.

One of my allies was Mrs. Compton, who provided me with support and knowlage about the orchestra. The acoustics in the churches were another ally. A piece played in an Italian church would sound ten times better than the same piece played in an American church.

The enemies I had to face were time and time management. I there were only a certain amount of hours in a day, so I had to learn how to manage my time better. I also had to decide which pieces needed more time and effort.

At one point, I felt like I was never going to sucessfully play with the orchestra.

After the first rehearsal (which had gone terribly on my part), I was disappointed, because I wasn’t good at recovering when I made a mistake. It was my first time playing with the Italy orchestra, so I didn’t know what to expect. My family didn’t give me much encouragement either: They had just told me to do better and work harder. It seemed like I was never going to get my pieces together.

I practiced more than four hours a day to prepare for the next day of rehersal.

After being in rehearsal for two hours, I was a little exhausted each day. However, I did know what to practice. I was both physically and mentally tired—but it was so worth it when we performed in several churches in Italy!

I had to give up a lot of valuable summer vacation time to practice piano.

I was disappointed that I had to decline invitations to parties and business events—although going to those events would not be advantageous on my part. After all, it was only three weeks of my life.

After playing in Italy, Mrs. Compton offered me an official position in the WRMS orchestra!

I would be practicing, performing, and fulfilling my dream of chamber music in the Concert Orchestra. I was really excited and grateful for the opportunity: Hard work does pay off! I learned time management and valuable tips along the way. I hope this will help me in my future career.

Venice, Italy

Photo Credits: Katelyn Yu

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