By Taylor ’25
One of my favorite things about Harvard-Westlake is that there are endless opportunities to try new things, develop hobbies, and explore newfound interests in such an inclusive and accepting community. Starting to play a new instrument at HW definitely has had a huge influence on my life, and has taught me so much.
I remember during the summer before 7th grade, I participated in HW’s summer program. I had never played any instrument before, and I remember always wanting to learn. When I saw the Violin for Beginners class on the roster, I was so excited to try something new. Ms. Reola was the teacher who first taught and introduced to me in that summer course to start playing the violin. I learned a lot in that class, and I remember feeling so motivated, especially because she was extremely kind and patient, and such an amazing teacher. She would later become my 7th grade dean and my teacher in 9th grade, and I am so grateful for everything she has taught me.
In my 7th grade year, I took beginning strings, and I felt prepared and excited to continue learning the ropes to this new instrument. Dr. Nikolaeva was one of the most caring, passionate, and kindhearted teachers I’ve ever had. During that year, we accomplished a lot, and I learned so much in just a year. We got to participate in concerts and I loved learning new pieces and new concepts.
From Beginning Strings, I took Concert Strings at the Middle School in my 8th grade year. I was excited and ready for the class, even if I was just a little bit nervous. This year in 9th grade, I am a part of the Middle School Symphony and I’m so excited for the challenge, and to continue my love for music. Just a couple weeks ago, we performed in the HW Winter Instrumental Concert, for the first time in two years. I was pretty nervous, but mostly so excited to play with my friends on stage for the first time since Beginning Strings after COVID.
A reason why I love playing so much and decided to continue playing violin was not only because I truly enjoyed learning and getting better at it, but the fact that my teachers had been so amazing, guiding me along the way. Motivating, experienced, kind, and supportive, my teachers have always been very approachable and truly caring. Their passion and love for music has definitely affected me in such a positive way. I am so grateful that I get the opportunity to try and learn a new instrument, for the amazing teachers and guidance, and for all the things I learned along the way.