Elizabeth Conrad is a junior violin major at Maranatha Baptist University. Her love for music is very evident. She desires to teach children about the joys of music and the violin. She will give her junior violin recital at MBU tonight. I had the privilege to interview her and pass on some fun facts about her career thus far. She writes a blog, Thriving Through Life, in her extra time.
When and why did you start playing?
I started playing the violin at age 3.5 and have taken lessons continuously since then. My older brother played the violin and my mother wanted me to play also. I didn't like it initially, but over the years, I've come to love my instrument.
What other instruments do you play?
I took official lessons on the violin first; then I branched off into piano, and dabbled in the flute, recorder, percussion, and trumpet.
Is your family musical? Describe their musical interest and abilities.
Yes, I would say so. My mother studied piano in high school, then picked it up later in life to accompany us kids. My father is our No.1 listener and financial supporter. And my older brother was generously endowed with virtuosic tendencies, but has come to specialize in the media side of music - which has always been his first love.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Anne Sofia Mutter- she's a violinist whose interpretation of Mozart is incredibly musical. Another is Sarah Chang because of the way that she makes a violin sing. The fact that she comes from an American Asian background is personally inspiring to me because I can relate with my own upbringing.
What are your fondest musical memories?
I loved music competition. We had a Fine Arts competition every single year, and I entered multiple individual and group music categories. I loved the adrenal rush and pressure on the day of competition when the year's efforts culminated to a single moment. I loved the moment the music category was announced during the awards ceremony. There was a thrill as you waited with bated breath to hear the names read for 3rd, 2nd, and first. I absolutely loved performing. Every fond memory has been associated with performing.
Do you perform in public? Would you mind describing those occasions?
I've had the opportunity to travel with both my high school and my university choir to different churches, schools, and public venues across the United States. Each venue is different, but the experience is no less exhilarating.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
You just keep going. Use your ear, and trust your accompanist to be able to find you, but don't ever stop unless it's absolutely unresolvable. If you don't make a face and keep your cool, chances are, most people in the audience will not know!
Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
Oh yes! All the time! Depending on how I prepared beforehand, I vary in jitteriness.
What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Have fun. Think of it as "I GET to play this music," not "I HAVE to play this music." When you're performing, if you think about it as your sharing what you love to do, it becomes an enjoyable experience for you! Trust me, your audience will then pick up on it too.
How often and for how long do you practice?
I try to play my violin every day. I practice in 1-hour increments at minimum, ideally. Depending on the day I can practice from 1 hour to even 3- 4 hours.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I love to cook and paint.