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Should I quit violin?

daisym105daisym105 1 replies1 threads New Member
Hi everyone,

I'm currently a freshman in a U.S. high school who plans to apply to elite universities in the future (i.e. Ivies). I've played violin for about 9 years now, and I'm feeling really conflicted about whether or not I should drop it and begin photography next year. On one hand, it's been a really long-term commitment and my family has spent a lot of money over the years on violin lessons. I'm also relatively proficient -- I recently auditioned for our district orchestra and got fourth chair first violin, and I'm sure I can improve if I continue working hard. Finally, I do enjoy the atmosphere of the orchestra and the feeling of community. I don't play sports and I don't participate in any other teamwork activities (except maybe MUN), so I think that orchestra may be a good way to show that I'm a team player.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that I'm passionate enough or enjoy violin enough to pursue this EC to a high level (state/national awards, orchestras outside of school, etc.). However, I do love amateur photography and I'm in the process of creating a blog specializing in traditional Chinese recipes. Taking photography class instead of orchestra next year could give me valuable skills for my website. And if I'm able to win contests in photography, it could potentially be more valuable for future college apps than violin. I would also enjoy doing it more, although it would be significantly riskier than continuing what I've already done.

To give some background, I'm first-generation Asian-American and I hope to double major in East Asian Studies and International Relations or Journalism. My other EC's include student council, Model UN, speech, Key Club, and tutoring. I participate in writing competitions and I want to start an international cuisine club next year. So I'm wondering: Should I drop violin? Would it show a lack of commitment if I did? Would starting photography next year be too late/too risky?

Sorry for the long post! If you've gotten through all this then any advice would be greatly appreciated.
8 replies
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Replies to: Should I quit violin?

  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3450 replies11 threads Senior Member
    You should think of whether you would be happier playing the violin or not playing.
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  • yakschoolyakschool 1 replies1 threads New Member
    All in all, colleges love to see people playing musical instruments (especially for that long) if that plays into your choice. Just think about whether you like to play the violin or not. Talk to somebody on if you can take both photo and violin at the same time. Remember that your hobbies don't necessarily have to come into play during college.
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  • TemperantiaTemperantia 273 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 11
    I'm mostly in agreement with @MWolf especially where it concerns Ivy aspirations. That said, if you still enjoy violin, it does demonstrate a deep dive into an extracurricular and proficiency in an instrument is valued at many colleges, most of which will not require participation once you matriculate. Your music will help you stand out wherever you end up applying so I'd think twice before opting out if it is something that you still enjoy. If it is the competition you don't like, back off on the competition. And sure, if you hate it quit. Also, I don't see any reason why you can't pursue amateur photography (or any other interest) as well as music. Pursuing interests that you genuinely enjoy is the way to go.
    edited November 11
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7858 replies66 threads Senior Member
    100% agree with post #3.

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  • bopperbopper 14144 replies100 threadsForum Champion CWRU Forum Champion
    Violin will allow you to be in the orchestra...do you value the socialization and teamwork of that?
    I really don't see why you can't do both the blog and the violin.
    I would try to do both and see how it goes.
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  • aquaptaquapt 2115 replies39 threads Senior Member
    I agree that the focus on Credential Building is drowning out the real conversation you should be having with yourself.

    Thought exercise: What's your perceived "safety" option for college as of now? Your state flagship? A well-regarded but not single-digit-acceptance-rate school of which you are fond? Imagine that you have a crystal ball and can find out, today, that this is where you're going to end up for college. Make the decision that you'd want to make in that case.

    It sounds as if you might miss orchestra if you didn't do it, but you would also really like to take photography. And it sounds like you can't schedule both. Okay, think out of the box. You could take a summer class in photography rather than taking it next year. Or, you could take the year off from orchestra, but look for some lower-commitment things to do with your violin, to keep your skills up and maybe even renew your enthusiasm by simply having some fun with it. Community orchestra? Start a small chamber group and do volunteer performances at nursing homes? Try a different style - find your local bluegrass meet-up and learn fiddle tunes? Help with a program that offers violin instruction in a low-income community? There are lots of ways you could keep violin in the background and keep the option open to go back to the school orchestra in a year.

    This isn't a life and death thing. Bottom line, figure out who you want to be, and do what that person would do, irrespective of where she's going to go to college, and irrespective of whether any awards/accolades will come of it.
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  • daisym105daisym105 1 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks to everyone for the responses! I didn't consider doing both because my school only allows me to choose one elective, but now I have some ideas for other options. The general consensus seems to be that I'm too focused on college applications and haven't put enough thought into what I really want to do, and I'll definitely try to improve on this point. And to clarify -- I do plan on applying to a variety of colleges. I've researched a handful of Ivies that rank highest in the specific areas I'm currently interested in, so those will be my "dream" schools, but I understand that chances of acceptance are very slim. Again, thanks so much for the ideas, and I'll work on developing genuine passions in the future!
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