Featured Student: Ms. Kowalski

Featured Student: Ms. Kowalski

Ms. Kowalski listening to a performance with her quartet

Ms. Kowalski at Paisley Park, the home and studio of Prince

Ms. Kowalski and friends before a bike ride to the pie shop in Whalan

-What was the experience of being at Stringwood in Minnesota like?

Stringwood was a lot of fun. At first, there was a bonding activity so the other students and I could be introduced to each other. In fact, there were a lot of group activities to serve as a break from playing instruments. There was even a rope course that the students and I participated in, which was great. Of course, along with the activities, there were group courses, lessons, and practicing. Overall, my favorite part of the experience would be the group bonding activities. There was a lot of communication between everyone, and it allowed for learning about each other and making new friends.

-Tell us about your musical journey.

In 4th grade, I started playing violin, and I stuck with it. Then in the 8th grade, I met Kirk and joined SOUNDS Academy shortly after. After joining, I started practicing and doing more involving violin instead of just playing during school. Then I auditioned for the high school orchestra which led to me getting into the 2nd highest orchestra (Philharmonic), which was really nice. I’m now going on my 4th year of being in the top orchestra for the symphony. Last year, I made it into the Chamber Music Group, which is the highest orchestra there, which is a nice honor. However, I have recently decided to start playing the viola because I wanted to increase my chances of getting into the Youth Symphony South West (YSSW). Plus, practicing with the viola will show that I am adaptable to learning new instruments, and it would give me the experience of playing a viola in an orchestra.

-Why do you like playing music?

When I listen to the pieces, every instrument has a different part; it all combines together and makes wonderful repertoire. It makes the music comforting to listen to so to be able to be a part of that is a nice feeling.

-What do you like about SOUNDS Academy?

Kirk and the other people of SOUNDS Academy are all wonderful to work with and play music with. Participating in a quartet is fun, and to be able to get to know all of the other students makes it a great place to be.

-Why is music education important for children?

Music education is important for children because instead of being in sports or some other extracurricular activity, kids have a chance to do something else, like play an instrument. It gives children the chance to figure out if they’re good at playing an instrument or if they really do enjoy playing music. The opportunity of music also gives kids another option to help them decide what to pursue for their college major and/or careers.

-Why are programs like SOUNDS Academy important?

Programs like SOUNDS Academy are important because it’s affordable to join. Plus, SOUNDS Academy will help out financially if needed. It’s not a typical private lesson where there’s only one meeting a week. SOUNDS actually make their students do things, and let their students perform concerts at different locations. It gives me and other students the opportunity and the experience of playing music. Additionally, SOUNDS has helped me communicate with others easily in the classroom because in an orchestra, it’s expected to communicate with the other musicians.

-When you’re not playing music, what do you do in your spare time?

When I’m not playing music, I’m listening to music. I like to find symphony pieces that I can learn how to play for the future. I also like to watch Korean shows because I would like to learn about the Korean culture. I enjoy Korean culture and I wish to learn the language and more about the country. By watching the shows, I am learning about the different places in Korea, Korean culture, and the language.

-What is your best performance memory?

My best performance memory would be when I found out that I got into the Philharmonic Orchestra. This became one of the best times in my life due to that it was the second highest orchestra at my school, and the symphony at my school is made up by the philharmonic and chamber. Making it into that orchestra also helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I knew that I was going to major in music, but just didn’t pinpoint exactly what area. Then, over the years of watching my music directors, I realized that I really enjoy the idea of teaching a high school orchestra and having them be my very own music students. In fact, I now look forward to getting a PhD in music education to give me even more opportunities to teach.

-How do you want to help the world be a better place?

I want to help the world by helping kids who don’t have the money to be able to play an instrument so it can open their eyes to seeing something other than their normal day-to-day life. These kids can do something other than sit around the house and they can be more passionate about music. The kids could also eventually carry that passion on to someone else.

-Between the characteristics of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork; which speaks the most about your journey so far? Why?

Leadership speaks about my journey so far because I had to take care of a quartet I’m in, and that helps with me being a part of the orchestra council. With that experience, I am now the leader of other orchestras. It seems that I am always being pushed into the leadership role which has definitely helped me out with playing instruments.

“When I listen to the musical pieces, every instrument has a different part; it all combines together and makes wonderful repertoire.” -Ms. Kowalski

Ms. Kowalski playing Hayon with her quartet at the United Methodist Church in Lanesboro, MN

Ms. Kowalski bonding with other members of Stringwood