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Greetings from Ethan Rouse

Ethan-29Warmest greetings to my fellow violists! My name is Ethan Rouse, and I am currently in my first year as a masters student in viola performance at the University of North Texas, where I study with Susan Dubois. While this is my first year as a graduate student at UNT, I am no stranger to the UNT viola studio. Last May I graduated with my Bachelor of Music degree in viola performance from UNT as a student of Susan Dubois and Daphne Gerling, and I am very excited to be continuing my studies here under the guidance of the wonderful viola faculty. As I pursue my studies this year, I will be regularly posting to this blog in order to share my experiences with all of you. While I am certainly looking forward to this opportunity, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit nervous! After all, I can only guess what this year has in store for me, and I hope that what I share here can be of some value to the readers of this blog. Not to mention I’ll be writing about perhaps my least favorite topic – me!

With that said, I want to introduce myself to you and give you a sense of what I am doing in and out of school. I am originally from Wichita Falls, Texas, and I am the second youngest of four children. My earliest musical encounters occurred around the ages of three or four as a member of church choirs, and I began to study the viola as a part of my elementary school’s string program when I was nine years old. Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but I never felt pressured into pursuing music as a career. All of my siblings were involved in a number of musical activities while growing up, but I am the only one who chose a career in music. My brother is a government professor, my older sister is a pediatric physical therapist, and my younger sister is studying to become a minister – quite the range of career choices!

At UNT, I am currently co-principal viola of the Symphony Orchestra, and I am in my second year as a member of the Baroque Orchestra. I am also involved in chamber music, in which I have the unique opportunity to play viola duets this semester. Outside of school, I have the incredible joy of teaching some 25 viola and violin students at an area high school and middle school. My students certainly keep me very busy, but the joy I get from teaching is second to none! I also coach the viola section of my old youth orchestra in Wichita Falls, where I lead sectionals and give input during full rehearsals. Since the fall of 2011, I have worked as the bass-section leader at a church in the Dallas area, where I sing in two adult choirs for weekly worship services. When I am able, I play with a few regional orchestras and do the occasional wedding gig too. Now that I’ve written all of this out I’m starting to wonder what I’ve gotten myself into this year!

I would love for my postings to be as interactive as possible, so I will be checking the comments of this blog regularly. If there is something that you want (or don’t want) to hear about, please let me know, and I will do my best to tailor my posts accordingly. I greatly look forward to this year with all of you, and until next time, I bid you farewell. 

Jorge Zapata writes about his experiences as an international student at UNT

November 8, 2015o-COLOMBIASATELLITE-570

Experience as an international student

Since I started my undergrad at the University of EAFIT, Medellin-Colombia (my hometown), my dream was to do some of my studies in a foreign country. I have always thought it would be a good idea to experience other environments to see multiple points of view about the same idea and how the culture in another country can affect the development of some activities, in this case, music.

My name is Jorge Luis Zapata Marín, I was born in Medellin-Colombia. Since I was a child, my mom used to take me to children’s musicianship classes and concerts. I remember that sometimes it was fun but other times it wasn’t.  We used to go to classical concerts and I remember how fast I would fall asleep… I guess it wasn’t the right age to go to those concerts but I can say they were some of the reasons I am where I am. Years passed and I found something which would change my life forever. In 2003, I participated in a program called “La Red escuelas de música de Medellín”.  This was a social program in my hometown which helped children to find their love for music. This was where I started playing the Viola.  In 2009, I started my undergrad at EAFIT with my Viola professor, Dr. Sheldrick.  She is a person who loves what she does, and is one of the most influential people in my life as musician and as a person.

The years have passed once again and now I am studying at the University of North Texas under the tutelage of Dr. Susan Dubois.

Panoramica_de_Medellin-ColombiaAs I said before, it is really important to have different ideas and that’s why I did so many music festivals while doing my undergrad. In one of the festivals, I met Dr. Dubois and I knew immediately that I wanted to study with her because of her teaching and enthusiasm during  lessons.

It is hard to be far away from home, but I would do whatever I have to do to make my dreams a reality. I miss my town, my friends, and my MOM, but it is better to think of the positive things than the negative ones. I have met incredible people, made wonderful friends and  professors, and I have experienced all of the purposes that I had in my mind of going to another country; a different environment, life in a different culture, and  I must say that now that I am in a different place and I don’t have a lot of distractions, I can focus even more on what I am supposed to do.  Practice and study… 

During this year I will keep posting and telling you my experiences as an international student. My hope by writing these posts is to help any potential international student to not be afraid to live their dreams, even if it means to move to another country. 


Jorge Luis Zapata Marín

(Image credit: Google Images)

El primer “Post” de Ruben, en Español

unnamedHemos pensado que para nuestros lectores hispanohablantes seria interesante ofrecer traducciones de algunos de nuestros “posts.” Gracias a Jorge Zapata Marin tenemos hoy el primer aquí. Buen provecho, y dejen sus comentarios!

Dra. Gerling


“Ser parte de un cuarteto de cuerdas es una de las experiencias mas gratificantes que cualquier músico de cuerdas puede tener.

Hay algo muy especial en ser un músico de cámara y es que se debe compartir y transmitir. No es solo transmitir tus ideas personales, sino también combinarlas con las ideas de los otros tres miembros de el cuarteto y así crear un solo discurso o expresión musical.

Tengo la maravillosa oportunidad de hacer música de cámara en La Universidad de North Texas con el cuarteto de cuerdas Bancroft (Bancroft String Quartet). Ser parte de este cuarteto es una de las becas remuneradas que ofrece UNT para los estudiantes en el nivel de maestría. Ver la carta de aceptación junto con la beca fue como un sueño hecho realidad. Finalmente conseguí lo que siempre había querido: tocar en un Cuarteto de Cuerdas, aprender nuevo repertorio y tener un salario por hacerlo. VIVIENDO UN SUEÑO. Sin embargo, esto no es y a sido sencillo. Aprendí rápidamente que hay muchos factores que pueden hacer de este trabajo algo complicado, como: limitaciones de tiempo, aprender diferentes estilos, diferencias personales, comunicación, y algo tan simples como la vida en general!.

El año pasado fue mi primer año en el cuarteto y definitivamente fue un aprendizaje. En los cuartetos que hice parte anteriormente fueron formados con amigos como una forma de esparcimiento y diversión, pero ser parte de un cuarteto como este es una sensación diferente, es como ser parte de un matrimonio arreglado; no conocía ha nadie en el cuarteto, yo era el mas joven, era el único estudiante de maestría (los otros eran estudiantes de doctorado) y claro…, era el chico nuevo. Ésta también fue mi primera vez experimentando las barreras de el idioma ya que cada integrante hablaba una lengua diferente. En fin hubo algunos obstáculos para nosotros y no solo por el idioma, también por la dinámica de el cuarteto, en el cual un integrante puede cambiar en cualquier momento. Como dije antes, esto afecta un ensamble. Para nosotros, no es solo nuestra evolución como grupo, sino también nuestro desarrollo individual. El año pasado en mi opinión, fue un exitoso año de aprendizaje, crecimiento y de hacer música con nuevos amigos y colegas.

Este es mi segundo año en el cuarteto y ya no soy el mas joven, el único haciendo maestría y no soy el nuevo chico. Este año, hay dos integrantes nuevos en el Bancroft y la dinámica de el grupo ha cambiado. Podremos tener algunos de los mismos problemas que el año pasado, pero también habrán nuevas y diferentes situaciones para experimentar ya que la mitad de el grupo es nuevo. Los ensayos ya empezaron y cada uno esta encontrando su única voz en la música, a la vez como la de el cuarteto. Estoy ansioso por aprender de cada uno de ellos, hacer increíble música, y compartir con ustedes nuestro diario vivir como el Cuarteto de cuerdas Bancroft durante este año.

Hasta la próxima.