We recently sat down with Hochstein Alumna Angelica Gonzalez, who is now a successful music teacher, to ask her about her Hochstein experience.
Hochstein School of Music & Dance: You participated in many programs at Hochstein through your time here. Can you give us an outline of when you started them and how long you were in each one for?
Angelica Gonzalez: Suzuki Group Class- age 5 (6yrs), Private violin lessons- age 5 (12 yrs), Orff class- age 5 (3yrs), Elementary Orchestra- 3rd grade (3yrs), Philharmonia- 6th grade (3 yrs), Music Theory- 8th grade (1yr), HYSO- 9th grade (4 yrs), Private Voice lessons- 11th grade (2yrs).
Hochstein: We know that your father was also involved in lessons here as well—can you speak a little to the community that Hochstein fostered with your family?
AG: Hochstein definitely fostered a love of music and being able to share that with others who shared and understood that love was something that made Hochstein special. I was homeschooled all the way through high school and Hochstein, as well as my church, was huge part of my social life. It was my second home for the better part of the week.
On a side note, I know that my father thoroughly enjoyed meeting and talking to the many people that would come through while he waited for my lessons to finish or getting to know the office workers and teachers at Hochstein.
Hochstein: Your instruction here involved many different teachers. Will you speak a little to the musical models and role models those people provided you?
AG: During my time at Hochstein I was blessed to be exposed to a variety of teaching and playing styles, all of which helped to shape me into the musician and teacher I am today. They all encouraged me and the other students to have fun and practice hard. Although I may not have applied myself to practicing as hard as I should until late high school, I carried the principles I learned with me through my undergraduate and graduate studies.
Hochstein: Can you share one or two of your favorite memories from Hochstein?
AG: One of my favorite memories is of playing in the HYSO and the “hang-out” time prior to concerts that was filled with anticipation and excitement.
Another memory is from a much earlier time. Mrs. Betty Ellsworth (then Ms. Betty Brown) always stressed with her students the fact that a violinist must never have long fingernails because it would hinder playing as well as possible. So she always had a pair of fingernail clippers with her and if I came in with long fingernails she would take out her clippers and like a sweet grandma taking care of her grandchild, she would gently clip my fingernails so I could play during the lessons effectively. She was one of my first teachers and I always thought of her as a grandmother.
Hochstein: When did you realize that music was not only something you enjoyed studying, but something which would form your career?
AG: Even though I chose to study music in college, I still did not know exactly what I wanted to do in the field of music. I mulled around the ideas of teaching or performing in an orchestra or a quartet, but it wasn’t until a very pivotal time during my sophomore year that I realized I wanted to teach. In graduate school I had the opportunity to teach while
getting my masters degree. It was during this time that I truly discovered my love for teaching both group and private classes.
Hochstein: How did your involvement at Hochstein influence the development of ElevenOne—the school of music and art which you own and teach at in North Carolina?
AG: Without Hochstein I would have never been able to learn to play the violin in the first place and the love of the arts wouldn’t have grown nearly as much without being a part of Hochstein. My business partner, Brandi Neighbors and I would love to someday make the studio into a community arts school modeled after Hochstein Music School and see people from our area grow and learn about music and art in a family-like community such as what I experienced and grew up with at Hochstein.