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olivia molinaAlumna Olivia Molina approaches each day with the goal of trying to be better than the day before, saying, “consistency is key.” Through her first semester studying violin at Oberlin College and Conservatory, she has worked to learn more about herself and transition into the new space that is a college campus and a small conservatory. Olivia studies with David Bowlin privately on her main instrument, a teacher who was recommended to her by her last violin mentor, Davis King. She finds that she has a compatible work style with Mr. Bowlin, and that they aim to work smarter – not harder – by finding efficient approaches to the instrument and her practice.

Olivia is constantly exploring interests outside of the violin as well, both in and out of music. During our interview she picked up a baroque recorder on which she has been taking lessons and performing in ensembles as a way to diversify her musicianship. She is also a double degree student on a five-year track to complete an academic degree on top of violin performance, taking classes in her other interests as part of the college there.

A highlight of Olivia’s time at school so far has been a performance with the school’s Latin Music Union, where she played in a showcase for a performance of “El Cantante” by Hector Lavoe. “It was fun to see everyone dance to the music that I was making!” Olivia shared, noting that the opportunity to play in an ensemble full of other Latin people was a highlight as well. She notes that she had the time to shine as one of only two violinists in this ensemble, and that this experience was fulfilling in a different way compared to the time she spends in orchestra everyday.

The advice that Olivia has to offer to CMPI students making the transition into college is to “get into the mindset of being around music all of the time.” She shared that in her preparation for the transition to college, she aimed to wake up every day and be active in her focus on music, so that arriving at conservatory would be less of a culture shock. With this preparation, the transition into school was still difficult in some ways. Some of the challenges Olivia worked through include having a new teacher, meeting all new friends, and especially living where you also go to school. Handling everything alone at first when all of your people are far from where you are is new, but as she has spent more time around the dorms and on campus, she says school is feeling more and more like home.

Olivia shared with us the conversations she has been having with her fellow students and the lessons they have learned through their first semester at school. She says, “It’s important to put things into perspective.” She shares that it is easy to want to be a workaholic, and sometimes as musicians we never feel satisfied. It’s a great accomplishment to give yourself praise and to know that wherever you end up, you’re going to do well. “Lots of people are going to be hard on you; don’t add additional pressure to yourself through your mind.”

Olivia’s approach centers on consistent work, and goals to learn more about oneself. She approaches her work seeking variety and maintaining her passion for music despite the hard work that conservatory demands.


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