Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight: Heather Sommerlad

Happy Faculty Spotlight Friday! This week, meet violin teacher and Strings For Kids Director, Heather Sommerlad.

How did you get into music:
I started playing the violin in fifth grade because I had to choose between orchestra and general music, and the general music teacher at my school had a reputation for being strict. I didn’t think I’d actually learn to play the violin well, or that I’d ever understand how to read music. But when we learned our very first piece, an open string tune called “March One,” I fell in love with musical expression, and knew I wanted to keep playing.

Why do you make music? What do you love about it?:
It creates empathy. You can express yourself to people without having to be specific. You can make people feel the joys and sorrows of humanity in one sitting, without ever having to say a word. And no matter what your differences are, you can find common ground through these shared feelings.

Do you have any favorite musical experiences or memories?
When my high school orchestra played Barber’s Adagio for Strings at sunset in the Czech Republic. The sun went down just as we reached the climax, and every single person in the room felt how beautiful that was.

Any musical projects you’re working on currently, or that you’ve completed recently?
I write my own songs! My last album, Hummingbirds and Hearthstones, came out in 2016, and I’ve got a few songs recorded for my next one. I also play in a band called Old Robes. We just finished recording an album that will be out in 2018!

What’s one thing you love doing besides making music or art?
I like playing video games!

Photo Credit: TW Collins