Inspiring Music through Strings: Joanne Wong's Violin Journey

With an unwavering passion for music, Joanne has dedicated her life to her craft, finding joy in both performing and teaching. In this candid Q&A session, Joanne shares her insights, experiences, and aspirations, providing a glimpse into the world of a musician driven by her love for the violin.

Choosing Music as a Career: 

For Joanne, music was an obvious career choice. It offered an opportunity to both pursue her passion while making a living out of it. Pursuing music has allowed her to not only make good art, but also forge friendships and connections across the world with people who share her love for music. As a music educator, Joanne finds fulfillment in inspiring young children to develop a deep appreciation for music and encouraging adults to embark on their own musical journeys.

The Journey with the Violin: 

Joanne's affinity for the violin began unexpectedly in her youth. While attending a piano school, she noticed a fellow student carrying a violin case and expressed her curiosity as to what that instrument was. Little did she know that this encounter would lead her to discover her true musical calling for the violin. The violin's versatility, repertoire and portability captured her heart from that point and she has never looked back since. The violin allows her to create a diverse range of sound and offers countless opportunities for solo performances and collaborations with other instruments.

Embracing Collaborations: 

When it comes to collaborations, Joanne keeps an open mind and welcomes the chance to work with musicians from all backgrounds and settings. Whether it's an impromptu jamming session in a studio, an intimate house concert, or a grand performance with an orchestra, Joanne finds joy in the collaborative process of making music with others.

Influential Figures: 

Joanne attributes her growth as a musician and music educator to two remarkable individuals, both of whom have left indelible marks on her musical journey: her violin teacher at New York University (NYU), Professor Laurie Hamilton, and the Director of String Studies at NYU, Professor Stephanie Baer. Professor Hamilton’s lessons were inspirational, from the way she thought about music, approached violin playing and most importantly, her care for her students which improved them mentally, technically and musically. Professor Baer’s wisdom, care and advice were integral in helping Joanne navigate the challenges of her music education and encouraged her to confront her weaknesses head-on.

Fulfillment as a Violin Teacher: 

As a violin teacher, Joanne finds fulfillment in troubleshooting and guiding her students through their musical challenges. Witnessing her students' genuine enjoyment of music and their desire to improve brings her immense joy. Developing personal relationships with her students and getting to know their unique personalities is an aspect of teaching that she treasures deeply.

Challenges of Being a Full-Time Musician: 

Balancing the rigors of teaching, performing, and practicing are some of the challenges of being a professional musician like Joanne. It is easy to neglect personal practice and improvement when focusing on teaching and other responsibilities. Realizing this early on in her career, Joanne sought out performance opportunities in Singapore and now performs regularly with the Musicians Initiative, the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, Orchestra of the Music Makers, the Philharmonic Orchestra, Base Philharmonic Orchestra and Disney.

Role Models in the Industry: 

Joanne draws inspiration from numerous role models she has encountered throughout her musical journey. However, two individuals stand out—Professor Laurie Hamilton and Professor Stephanie Baer. Their profound musical knowledge, care for their students' well-being, and dedication to their craft have left an enduring impact on Joanne's development as a musician and music educator. 

Proudest Moments: 

Joanne finds pride and excitement in her students' achievements, no matter how small. Witnessing their progress, whether in competitions, exams, or simply observing their enthusiasm for playing, brings her the greatest sense of accomplishment.

Nurturing Young Talents in the Music Community: 

Joanne believes that while the music scene in Singapore has made immense progress in nurturing and showcasing young talents, there is always room for improvement. Ground up initiatives such as community concerts organized by neighborhood communities, learning opportunities provided by amateur orchestras through partnerships with professional musicians, and collaborative efforts among teachers of different instruments are all ways to enhance the musical experience for young talents.

Hobbies Beyond Music:

Outside of her musical pursuits, Joanne can be found binging the latest seasons of good television on Netflix and Amazon Prime. She is also an avid NBA fan and supports the Portland Trail Blazers.

Dealing with Performance Nerves:

Despite her experience, Joanne still battles with performance nerves and anxiety. While she hasn't discovered a foolproof ritual, she has found that abstaining from caffeinated drinks in the week leading up to significant performances can help manage her nerves.

Aspirations for the Future:

Looking ahead, Joanne envisions building a studio of dedicated students who take pride in their progress, enjoy music, and achieve their musical goals. She hopes to see her students excel in examinations, competitions, and performances, reaffirming her commitment to their growth and success.

Joanne’s musical journey is fueled by passion, dedication, and a deep love for the violin. As she continues to nurture young talents, collaborate with fellow musicians, and inspire her students, Joanne exemplifies the true spirit of a musician devoted to her craft. Her unwavering commitment to music and her belief in the power of fostering a vibrant music community serve as an inspiration to all who aspire to make music a part of their lives. 

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