Training the next generation in the language of music
March 4, 2012
The Steamboat Springs community boasts a number of exceptional musicians, not the least of which is 11-year-old Jacob VanDerWerf. He is not only an excellent violinist in his own right, but he is now teaching violin to first-grader Natalia Craig.
"He's an outstanding student who takes every mistake in stride. Mistakes are part of the process and Jacob has the ability to find joy in the process," said Steamboat Symphony Orchestra's Mary Anne Fairlie, Jacob's violin instructor.
Jacob said he likes being with kids who want to play an instrument, and added that it looks easy to do, but it "actually is really, really hard."
He realizes now what his own teachers had to deal with and said that makes him a better person as he learns patience and how to express his musical skills in a manner students will grasp. Jacob said his "second favorite thing is teaching violin."
Not surprisingly, Jacob's first favorite thing is performing music. While he might not like practicing, it is the way to improve his talents and get to do what he really loves: playing for others.
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It also is how he gets scholarships to learn even more, as he will this summer at the Luzerne Music Center, a camp for gifted youth musicians.
And for all his hard work, last year, Jacob received an honorable mention at the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, hosted by Carnegie Hall in New York, which attracts thousands of applicants from 26 countries.
Closer to home, you may have seen Jacob playing with the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra at the December holiday concert.
He also will be performing in the upcoming "Together in Concert" at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library. The performance highlights the orchestra's educational outreach, which gives youth and adult musicians the chance to study, train and perform together.
Watching Jacob perform with the string ensemble, and enjoying all the others who also benefit from our community's generous spirit of sharing their musical talents, you might find yourself asking how you, too, might help to pay it forward.
Pattie Moon is a Steamboat Springs resident who is actively involved with the orchestra and an avid appreciator of the arts.