She hits all the right notes. And soon, 17-year-old violinist Amy Methven will be rewarded for it.
Come October, Amy will be performing on a much larger stage — at the famous Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville — as one of 100 high school students selected nationwide for the National Association for Music Education’s 2014 All-National Honor Symphony Orchestra.
“On one level [playing the violin] is very personal and requires a lot of focus. You have to train yourself to spend a lot of time practicing by yourself,” Amy said. “On a broader level, it is something really great to do with others. You create something beautiful with all these different people.”
A senior at Riverhead High School, she is the first Riverhead student chosen to perform by the organization, which works to promote music education.
The select group of students will have the opportunity to work with internationally recognized conductor Gerard Schwarz of the Seattle Symphony during a three-day conference leading up to the performance on Oct. 29. Students will also attend training sessions with other classical greats.
“He is a celebrity in the classical world, and I am really, really excited to meet all these other kids who share the same interest,” Amy said.
While Amy said she enjoys learning and playing with classmates in the orchestra and chamber orchestra at Riverhead, she said there aren’t many students in the district who are passionate enough to pursue lessons beyond school.
Amy’s orchestra teacher, Marisa Macchio, who encouraged her to apply for All-National honors, said Amy’s enthusiasm is what makes her stand out.
“Amy strives not just for perfection but for improvement, and that is what makes her stand out among her peers,” she said. “She is always looking for constructive criticism to help her through a difficult skill or musical passage.”
Amy said she has been working on improving since the day she started playing the violin — when she was 8 years old.
<z9.500>“To me, it’s more than a hobby. I spend so much of my week going to lessons and youth orchestra and pre-college [classes], and if I’m not doing that I’m practicing,” she said. “It is a big commitment. But I love it.”
The All-National Honor Symphony Orchestra will be playing a symphonic poem called “October,” by 20th century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, which Amy said she has already started practicing.
She said she wished more emphasis was placed on music and the arts in school, as there’s so much more to learn than simply performing.
“It definitely gives you a sort of focus you don’t get from anything else — it’s more than just win the game. You have to do it with a sort of poise and understanding,” she said.