Winter 2016, Lucy Anderson ‘25 watches a violin soloist perform for her church’s Christmas Music Festival. “I remember looking at her and being like “Wow, that’s amazing. I want to be able to play that.” In her 6th grade year, Anderson joined the middle school orchestra — playing the violin.
Now in her 5th year of playing, Anderson’s love of music is more prominent than ever. “I love how it enables us to express ourselves. I love how there’s always something you can get better at, especially the violin. There’s so much technique to it, and so much to do. Looking at harder music, and listening to professionals play motivates me to keep going and see how far I can get.”
In the fall of her freshman year, Anderson was selected along with cellist Mitchell Friesz ‘25 to participate in the Middle Level Honors Orchestra (MLHO). MLHO is a program involving stand-out 7th through 9th grade orchestra students across Minnesota. “I had just started at the high school, it was all brand new, but I didn’t want to say no to the opportunity. So, I prepared for an audition.” The audition included a choice piece, two scales, and a section from a piece they [MLHO] chose, all submitted through an online recording.
“I didn’t find out if I had made it in until January. They sent out like “Oh, you made it in, congratulations,” and there were ten pieces. We had about six weeks to prepare it on our own, and then in February we met as a group with all the other orchestra students who had been nominated,” Anderson remembered. The students met at North Western University in February 2022, having a 10 hour rehearsal to combine their music and perform the next day. “It was a really fun event. It went really fast but it was super fun to play with people that were so experienced and to get a totally new perspective. Playing with other people is always super helpful to build relationships, learn how other parts sound, how it all comes together. You can be a soloist and be part of an ensemble, both totally different experiences but they’re both amazing.”
“I love the variety that music brings, I love how the bow and strings work together to make the music flow and make a really good sound. I love how, as string instrumentalists, we can play loud, short, fast, but also long and lyrical.” These technical qualities of playing the violin aren’t without their downsides. “The violin is a perfectionist’s instrument. You have to be right whether it’s your fingering, your bowing, any of that. I’m definitely a perfectionist so I’m working on learning how to be okay without being all the way perfect. I feel like the violin almost kind of helps with that, even though it’s still a perfectionist instrument. If I can’t quite get the note right or the bowing right it’s helping me to learn it’s okay, I can practice and I can get there.”
Anderson highlights that while academic orchestral accomplishments may be nice, music is about more than that. “I can say from my own experience over COVID, stuff was really hard for everybody. It was tough with school, and not really knowing what each day would hold, but I knew I would always have my music to go back to. I played more than ever before in that time, in lockdown. I just kept going back to my violin, and my piano, and just being like, “this is the thing that’s constant, this is kinda what’s holding me together right now.”
“Playing music is so good for the mind and the soul, and it’s so restoring.”
The Hoofprint reached out to orchestra teacher Kristine Wiese for a word about Anderson.
Q: How would you describe Lucy?
A: “I would describe her as a go-getter, I would describe her as passionate, I would describe her as friendly, and just an overall hardworking young lady.”
Q: What qualities does Lucy have that make her a better student/player?
A: “She has a natural ability to lead with confidence, and to help anyone who needs it or asks for it.”
Q: What’s your favorite part about being her teacher?
A: “As with any of my students, watching her grow in her abilities as we work through music, watching her take the initiative to help others, and again as with any of my other kids, being proud of their abilities when they get to that “Aha” moment of knowing a piece.”
Q: What do you think people could learn from Lucy?
A: “That when you set your mind to it and take time outside of class, you can really do anything that you want to do. You have the ability to play as you hoped or to improve as you wished to.”
Q: Was there anything that surprised you about Lucy?
A: “I’d say probably the only thing is she’s generally a very quiet, reserved person, but her playing is not indicative of that. Her playing is very confident and very strong; typically I see peoples playing representative of their personality qualities, and in her she’s got more confidence in her playing than one would be led to believe when you’re first talking to her.”
“You can tell it’s a passion, you can tell it’s a safe place for her, and you can tell that it’s simply something that she loves to do.”