Hillary Alleman teaches violin and viola lessons, violin group class, chamber music, and introductory classes at Silver Music. Here is a bit of insight into her early study:
Age you began studying:
I started playing the violin when I was 4 1/2 and added the viola at age 14.
Why did you choose the viola?
My violin teacher had all of her students graduate from her studio once they turned 14 yrs old. I figured this meant I could quit the violin and I was excited to never have to practice again. She had a different plan. Viola. I very hesitantly agreed to give it a try. It took about a year to find my instrument (the one I still play today) and teacher. I ultimately fell in love with its rich tone and the collaborative nature of so many pieces written with the viola in mind.
One memory from your lessons or early study:
I remember the bead counter! I was always hoping the drill spot was only one row of reps (10), but sometimes Mrs. Moench would just keep going to the 2nd or 3rd row 😂😅
Did you always like to practice? If not, how did you, or your parent motivate you to practice?
I did not like to practice, but I did like being able to play the violin. Starting was the hardest part and I remember throwing *looooong and loud* tantrums. (Sorry Mom). Using timers was helpful as well as getting the practicing done before school.
Did you ever want to quit?
Often. My mom would say “ You can quit. You just have to call Mrs. Moench to tell her.” That always made me realize how much I would miss her and the violin friends I had made.
How did music education affect your life?
It taught me how to have a growth mindset when trying new things or doing something difficult. It also brought THE BEST people and friends into my life and gave me opportunities to experience the world I otherwise wouldn’t have had.
Do you have a musical role model?
Many. But my teachers have been the most influential and positive forces in my life. Debbie Moench, Natalie Reed and Jeffrey Irvine
Current Favorite Suzuki Piece:
French Folk Song. I always loved hearing the cellists play this tune and it might be the main reason I became a violist 😉
Any advice for budding violin/violists?:
- Make friends in group (Some of my closest friends to this day are from my childhood violin group).
- Make it simple. When it feels really challenging ask yourself “how can I make this easier?” For me, that answer usually includes playing a smaller chunk, playing it slowly, playing it 25-100x, using pizzicato, or playing a review piece I really enjoy.
- Know that it is a process; not a destination
- The voice in your head that tells you “you can’t do it” is a lie. Gently tell it “no thank you” and keep going.
Things you enjoy other than violin and viola
I love to golf, throw pottery, read, and cook/bake for friends!