My sister played her first solo in church on Christmas. She started playing viola like I did violin, in fifth grade on a school-loaned instrument. She played in the school orchestras until she graduated, though she had no formal instruction in how to play. It was sort of a play-by-numbers experience, but Mom did eventually buy her a viola. At least it was made out of wood. And though she stopped playing after high school, overcome by life's usual events, she found, like me, that even that experience was enough to plant a love of making music. She missed it.
So last summer I invited her to join me for a week at SummerKeys, thinking that an intensive week of lessons and playing would be a good jump start. It worked. She loved it. She's practicing regularly, though has yet to locate a teacher anywhere near the small southern town where she lives, and has purchased a better quality and slightly smaller viola (via eBay *grin*).
She's attending a very small church, whose musical contingent consists of two elderly pianists, the 10-year-old pastor's daughter who recently began taking piano lessons, and her, a fledgling violist. I can't believe it, but she and the 10yo got together, learned a couple of Christmas carols, and performed them on Monday. She said she achieved a lovely vibrato sound because her right arm was shaking so badly during the performance. I told her that's called bow vibrato.
She's amazing. I'm so proud of her.
(BTW, the Blogger spell check thinks that violist is misspelled, and suggests vilest as the alternative. And foulest. Cellist passes without comment, though Blogger is also not in the dictionary. What a hoot.)