Music inspires young violinist to make others smile
MUNCY – Music became part of Gabrielle Myers’ life at a young age of 4 when her parents, who also love music, noticed she had a real talent for it. “She was always singing and dancing,” said Jen Myers who began to research music instruction for children. She learned about the Suzuki method, a program developed by a Japanese violinist for children to learn music by applying the basic principles of language acquisition. It is an approach where the child learns from the parent and is termed “mother-tongue approach.”
Jen Myers said she started the method first, then got involved with learning the music with Gabrielle who likes to go by the name “Brie.”
The whole idea is to give loving encouragement and constant repetition. “It didn’t take long before she passed me,” said Jen who was Brie’s first “home teacher.”
The family listens to music a lot and everyone is learning to play an instrument, mostly a string instrument. Brie said she enjoys the violin which she found easy to learn.
She is pursuing lessons at Robert M. Sides Music in downtown Williamsport weekly and practices every day. She decided to play the violin when she went to observe some music classes at the Sides studio. Her father started playing the mandolin and mom says she still plays the violin but “only briefly.”
Brie said she rents the violins because as she grows, so does the size of the violin. She began by learning how to hold the violin and the bow, then went into rhythm basics. One of them was “twinkle twinkle little star” and now the rhythms are getting more challenging. In the beginning when she was six, Jen said it was more fun for Brie. “We kept it fun by playing games and playing together.”
However, five years later, Brie performs like a master. She is now on her sixth level as the series of learning books and songs get progressively more difficult.
Last September Brie started learning to play the piano, and last winter she auditioned for the Junior Strings Williamsport Symphony Orchestra. “This has been my first year there,” Brie said. “It is hard. We practice every Monday and Sunday for ten weeks.”
But her big performance will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. when she and three other students will be playing their string instruments in the lobby of the Community Arts Center before the Williamsport Symphony Concert. With her will be another student from the area, Liam Turnbow, a 7th grader from Hughesville. Brie is in 6th grade at Myers Elementary School in Muncy. “I am also the youngest member,” said Brie. Two others, one student from Montoursville and another from Jersey Shore, will be accompanying them during their introductory performance. The student group will then be performing with the Williamsport Symphony at 7:30 p.m.
On March 3rd a solo recital is scheduled at Robert M. Sides. Brie’s favorite genres are pop and classic, and for the past two summers she said she was fortunate to conduct during the Pops on Pepper Street summer outdoor concert in Muncy.
She continues to compete in talent shows and competitions. She has taken first place ribbons at the Wellsboro Hickory Fest, the Lycoming County Fair and the Bloomsburg Fair. “I got a special award when I competed with adults on the fiddle,” she said during a free stage contest at the Bloomsburg Fair. She has won the Hughesville Fair talent show first place award three years in a row.
Brie doesn’t see herself as a professional musician for a career, but she will continue to play as a hobby. “I like making people smile,” she said. She performs at nursing homes, especially at Christmas time. She plays for weddings and organizations and wants to play more at these types of functions because she says she needs to earn some money to audition for the Philadelphia International Orchestra in April. “I get to stay overnight at a camp for a week during the audition. It is going to cost me some money, and mom said I have to earn some and take some ownership.” She will be traveling with another violinist from Lewisburg.
“I want to keep playing,” Brie added. She did two shows at the Community Theatre League, “Hansel & Gretel” and “The Miracle Worker.” She also has performed with the West Branch Chorale.
For a scheduled performance Brie can be reached at email@example.com.