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It's been a long time coming.

Over the last seven years, I've hardly let a day go by without thinking of one very special image. An eleven-year-old me created a dream that I would achieve greatness on the violin, as an artist with the power of music at his fingertips. I liked to picture myself performing for huge audiences and being received with the same enthusiasm given to my favorite violinist, Itzhak Perlman. I loved to imagine that I would command my instrument with total mastery, that I'd perform every passage with a virtuosic flourish. At the time, I even thought that Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Flight of the Bumblebee was the most impressive musical piece! In the time that followed, I gained maturity (and started listening to more ‘substantive’ repertoire), and created a goal that would help me realize my dream: I needed the highest level of musical training the world had to offer, if I was to become the great violinist I envisioned. I set my sights on obtaining this education from a premier conservatory, and I will finally begin study at the New England Conservatory this fall.

As I’ve watched this year’s Summer Olympics, televised from Rio de Janeiro, I’ve felt so many emotions brought up by the inspiring efforts of athletes from around the world. Every time I watch gymnasts dive into the high-flying tumbling passes of their floor routines, I feel the familiar anticipation of setting up for a climactic run in a concerto, hoping practiced repetitions enable me to accurately land on the brilliant high note. Every runner’s grit and endurance as they dig for the finish line reminds me of the energy I pull from within, to put my all into a dynamic and invigorating passage of music. And when a medal-winner stands triumphant on the podium, proving the case for their years of hard work and determination, I’m humbled to realize that I’ve been on a similar journey, seeing through a long-term goal to reach a place I’d long aspired to reach.

When I look at the calendar and see that I have just one week left until I travel to Boston and move in at the New England Conservatory, I keep reminding myself that this new chapter is one I’ve worked for a decade to open. It is difficult to feel the weight of this fact all at once. A sense of my own progress comes a little at a time. I smile at my improvement after nailing a challenging technical passage; I chuckle as I amuse myself with techniques that would have given me a headache years ago. And I proudly reflect on days when I would (and still do) obsess over a single scale, dissecting and repeating a single pattern of notes for upwards of an hour.

But the very best thing about my current juncture is that I once again feel that the possibilities are endless. While the journey toward my college auditions became less about dreaming and more about practicing, I feel that what lies ahead is going to be the work that broadens my horizons. For all the improvement I’ve made throughout this year of primarily independent study, I feel that I will expand my abilities all the more rapidly under new coaching and guidance. I don’t even have a vision of where I’ll be after four years of college. It is literally beyond my comprehension what the next four years will bring.

It’s safe to say, I’m exhilarated.

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