Classical Musician Interview #3: Anji Lopez-Rosende
1) How long have you played?
Fourteen years this August.
2) How did you start playing your instrument?
I don’t know why, but when I was about 3 ½ I started begging my mom for a violin. I don’t remember how or when I learned what a violin even was. I just knew I really, really wanted one. Fast forward a year and a half later, and my mom finally caved and got me one when I was 5, and I started taking lessons.
3) What motivates you to wake up in the morning and start playing your instrument?
I think each day has its own reason, really, but in a very broad sense, it’s the knowledge that I’ve certainly come too far to give up now. No matter how difficult each practice session is, I can at least walk away and know that I’m better than I was yesterday.
4) Describe your fondest musical memory.
The freshman Vivaldi concert at UCLA, probably, because it was the first time I was able to play in front of an audience without crippling performance anxiety.
5) What was your worst mistake and how did you overcome it?
My worst mistake is likely that I never really learned how to practice early on, and developed a lot of body tension issues. That made my development really slow and difficult until I got a teacher that was able to help me get past that. It took a long time, several years before I was able to correct all those bad habits.
6) How do you balance music with other obligations?
This was more a problem when I was in high school, but I just try to discipline myself to be consistent: if I can practice every day, even if only for one or two hours, then I’ll be better off for it. If I miss a day, I don’t let that get me down. I just pick back up where I can. Mental/physical health is/was priority number one, but music and grades are tied for a close second.
7) Were you always going to be a musician? If not, what were you going to be?
When I was little I had this crazy idea that I wanted to be a geologist, but that didn’t last long. Once I got to high school, I knew I wanted to keep music in some way, but I also knew I didn’t want to be a performer - it’s too high stress for me. As I got closer to college, I realized I really loved teaching, and I realized that I could easily combine those into the perfect career: a music educator.
8) What or who triggered your passion to become a classical musician?
When I was in 8th grade, I started taking more serious lessons with a better teacher, and also joined a quartet with older friends that were better than I was. I did a lot of growth, both musically and mentally, during that time. It helped me to see how much better I could be by being around people that pushed me, and being in the quartet helped me to see how much fun classical music could be with friends.
9) In what way do you think classical music has influenced you?
Being involved in classical music has influenced my life in so many ways, I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, I wouldn’t even be on the career path I’m on or in the school I’m in. I wouldn’t have ever met some of the best friends I’ve made, gone to Europe, and so many other things. Most importantly, though, I think classical music has really colored the way I see the world. It’s given me a stronger appreciation for my surroundings, and has helped me to develop a deeper sense of the emotional complexity of the world we live in.
10) Have you ever considered stop playing and start something different?
I think that every musician has days where they question why they do what they do, and I’m definitely one of them. I’ve lamented what I could have been if I had never done music, but ultimately, I know that nothing in the world would have made me happier than being a musician and studying music so that I can teach it to others so that they, too, can know the kind of happiness I’ve felt.
11)What is your musical guilty pleasure?
Marching band. I was in band for 5 years, from 8th grade to 12th. I love it to death; I sometimes like to think that if I could do it all over again, I might have chosen euphonium or trombone as my primary instrument.