Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Community: Why It Matters by James Dunham

As Ivo, our two studios, and I near the end of our participation in Year Two of the AVS Blog, I have been thinking about the role of “community” among all violists:

• Between ourselves in Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music;

• With our sister conservatories and universities in the U.S. and abroad; and

• With our respected and admired colleagues throughout the world!

In the larger sense, we violists are a resilient few, and to a degree we are often underappreciated for all we can and do accomplish. It is quite true that no one can fully understand another without “walking a mile in their shoes.” As such, the role of the viola and the violist—frequently a subtle, understated one—is easily misunderstood and even overlooked. As violists, it is our responsibility—to our instrument, to our role, to each other—to support one another and carry our message to the world with a unanimous energy and sense of purpose. Within a university or conservatory setting, it is easy to feel that a few years’ difference in age is a considerable chasm, but in “real life” that difference wanes to nothing: we are all truly in this together! The friends and colleagues you meet as students and young professionals will be with you throughout your career. Now is the time to nurture that relationship for the future! To those of you who are still “studying” in school, please continue, as I have, to “study” for your entire life. And believe me, I am already welcoming you as my new colleagues in this great world of music. Please join me: let us unite to carry forward the beauty of the viola, its repertoire, and all music!

I invite you to explore the following short list of organizations—and please consider joining them! There are many more groups, often at the State level (TMEA: Texas Music Educators Association, among many!) but these are a good start. They each make incredibly important and diverse contributions to all that we hold dear as performers, students, educators: lovers of the viola and music!





I wish you all success!