Erica, 16, of Glendale, took to the violin quick as a wink. At 5, she urged her parents to allow violin lessons. At 7, she began playing. And at 15 — too young to pass a driver’s test — Erica plucked violin strings beside graduate students in the American Youth Symphony.
But Erica has always been a serious student, said violin instructor Gayaneh Kumar of Sunland.
“From the very beginning, Erica showed talent,” Kumar said. “She always wanted to be a professional violinist.”
It is a wonderful thing to see Erica so committed, said Erica’s mother, Lori Richardson.
“She always wanted to play as far back as I can remember,” Richardson said. “Her dad and I have tried our best to provide a space for her to achieve her goals.”
Erica decided at age 13 that public school demanded too many hours. A fine arts middle school, and later home schooling, seemed the ideal choices, she said. Many hours are lost between classes, Erica said.
“I knew then what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she said.
Having a daughter who already knew her life’s pursuit and who had the drive to accomplish her dreams came as no surprise to Richardson.
“Our kids weren’t like other 15- or 16-year-olds, and it didn’t seem necessary to make them be like that,” Richardson said.
“Everything about raising kids can be hard at times, but we’ve done our best.”
Erica divides her time between professional violin training and school work, but she said it is never a burden to do what she loves.
She has worked diligently to be accepted into the American Youth Symphony and Glendale Youth Orchestra, Kumar said.
“I am extremely proud of her work, achievements and accomplishments,” Kumar said. “She is a very gifted violinist.”
Teens should be given the chance to do the things they love, Richardson said.
“We all enjoy music,” she said.
“Her sister is a pianist and started college at 15. Between the two of them, we wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to play. The love of learning should be nurtured and supported. We have allowed them to blossom into the people they want to become.”