Daniel Vigna - Viola and Violin
Where and how did you get your start in music?
At such a young age, it is hard to remember key details in your life, especially when so many other things are filling your mind as a kid. However, this wasn’t just any little thing. Music has always been a part of my family. For as long as I can remember, my father played all sorts of music in the car from his generation. Major bands such as Led Zeppelin, Heart, Wham!, Yes, and so so so much more. Alongside, my grandmother always had classical music blasting through the speakers in her house. Therefore, being so enriched with music, I knew that I had to do something with it, so after my brother began taking lessons here at Arbor Music for Cello, I decided it was my turn to start. Believe it or not, I chose the Viola. At just eight years old, I started a journey that would last for the rest of my life… one that was impossible to let go of, yet I didn’t notice that until these past few years now. I am beyond thankful for the impact that music, and Arbor Music, has had in my life, and I’m sure my family would say the same.
What is your favorite style of music to play/ What is your primary instrument?
I love myself some good old romantic pieces that have explosive, powerful, and rich moments. Pieces such as Edward Elgar’s (1889-1920) Enigma Variations can quite thoroughly describe what I mean! In fact, I got the opportunity to perform this piece in front of a large audience as a part of the Houston Youth Symphony, playing the Viola. The reason I love this instrument so much is because it encapsulates all ranges in the orchestra. Melodies can pop out of nothing, hidden within the harmonies that we play.
Who is your favorite composer/musician?
I think it is very difficult to narrow it down to one, but there has always been one composer that has stuck to me, and that is Edward Elgar. The way that he can put drastically different instruments in the orchestra to create the most beautiful sounds and colors is just magnificent. Another composer to name would be Tchaikovsky. I have gotten the opportunity to perform a few of his pieces as well in a few different groups and there is nothing quite like it. As for a more modern, well known musician, I’ll have to give it to John Mayer. As a guitarist, he can really play. The songs he writes have a lot of meaning to them, whether they are to put you in a good mood, or when you’re feeling down.
What inspired you to teach/what do you enjoy about teaching?
All of my life, I’ve liked to learn. I enjoy acquiring knowledge in all different topics, let it be math, physics, or music. As a teacher, I love being the person on the other side because you never know what impact you can have on someone’s life with the things you say. As of right now, I’ve had the experience of teaching children of all ages in vastly different areas of mathematics for over a year and it’s something that I truly enjoy doing, so I'm eager to enter a new area of study!
How do you motivate students to practice
I am a strong believer that teaching goes both ways. A teacher can learn as much from a student and the other way around. At the end of the day, it’s all about what you put into it, and it can be really fun, too! Music is by far one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, and if you put the time into practice, the results will show. We all will have that day that we truly don’t want to practice, maybe it’s just been a tiring day, and that’s okay! Rest is extremely important for the brain - there’s a reason we need to sleep!!! When practicing, one can get as creative as they want - there is always something else to work on. Even if you only have 5 minutes available, pick up your instrument and move your fingers around on it, or grab a pencil and work on your bow hand. There are unlimited methods.
What are some unique things you do to make a positive impact on students’ musical growth?
The biggest thing in my book is to try and relate to the student. Every single one of us is different, but there is always some common ground! Once that foundation is established, trust is more easily attainable and a relationship between student and teacher begins to form. I think this is the key to most students’ success because it allows us to be comfortable and eager to learn new things.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
I’d like to think of myself as a bonsai tree. It’s a plant that is very artistic and expresses a lot of personality in a simple manner. And, hidden beneath the soil are the roots that support it; in my case being my family and friends. I’m extremely close and share a strong bond with them. The majority of friends I like to spend my time with nowadays are those that have been around for the majority of my life. The two closest friends, in fact, I met before I started playing the viola!! With that said, the bonsai tree can mean a whole lot of things, and maybe I just don’t know plants too well to be able to identify other options, but for now I like the idea of that tree.