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Word Count: 419
Playing the viola allows my emotions to weave their way into my music Shaping a discordant sound into expressive music has been a lengthy laborious but ultimately rewarding process I was switched from violin to viola by Melba Sandberg a brusque no-nonsense conductor at the New England Conservatory During my violin seating audition in what I thought was polite conversation she remarked that my hands were large enough to play viola had I ever thought of doing so I replied that I hadnt smiled and played my piece The following Saturday nervous but excited I brought my violin to the first rehearsal When I walked in the door Mrs Sandberg accosted me and demanded Wheres your viola Under her pressure I switched but the challenges of reading a new clef and adjusting my fingers were frustrating It had taken me six years playing the violin to get into this orchestra Now I was expected to play a new instrument at high performance standards This created enormous tension at home over the next few months I would avoid practicing and complain about my insensitive conductor all week This displeasure reached its climax every Saturday morning as my mother drove me into Boston for rehearsal During the ride home however a marked change was often evident After playing the viola for three hours in the company of other musicians and discovering how wonderfully the viola combined with the entire spectrum of orchestral sound I would soften I wouldnt admit it but I was beginning to like the viola The next spring I auditioned for and won a seat in the NEC Youth Symphony Comfortable with my instrument and my place in the orchestra I started to play with confidence I also discovered the advantages of the viola The viola doesnt need the pyrotechnical passages given to the violins instead it has resonance and depth I began to
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