Fiddlershop's Music is for Everyone Blog Series:
Author, Retired Violinist Erica Miner
Keeping the Inner Performer Happy
Fiddlershop’s "Music is for Everyone" blog series features interviews with professional, amateur, and student musicians who inspire through their unique musical stories. Their example proves that music truly is for everyone, and we hope after reading, you’re motivated to begin and/or continue your musical journey.
By Jasmine Reese - After serving 21 years as a violinist for the Metropolitan Opera, Erica Miner sustained injuries in a car accident which forced her into early retirement from music performance. She soon after sold her 18th century Italian violin, and satisfied her "inner" concert musician through another career -- writing.
Miner is an award-winning author, screenwriter, journalist, and lecturer. Through written word, she lives music.
For journalism, she conducts interviews, and writes reviews on arts organizations and performances. She also gives lectures on opera which she states keeps the "inner performer happy." In addition, her books feature musicians, and music often sets the stage.
Born to Russian parents who "listened to classical music non-stop," it was natural for Miner to start violin at nine years old.
"I started singing -- I’m told -- literally in the cradle," Miner reminisced. "As I grew up, I found myself gravitating to the piano whenever we went to someone’s house that had one. In the summers, my parents took me to Detroit Symphony concerts every night, and by the time, I was 9 and ready to start violin, classical music was ingrained in my soul. My dad was my first violin teacher."
From then on, she developed a lifelong love and busy involvement in chamber music, solo recitals, and eventually, a fulfilling career with the Met Opera.
"I survived 21 years as a violinist at the Met Opera while raising two kids on my own. Music is everything to me! Music informs my life; everything I think and do and feel, from the moment I wake up in the morning [until] the moment I fall asleep at night. It has infused my soul since my very first conscious -- and perhaps even unconscious -- memory.
When I was performing music in high school, I belonged to an all-female singing group in which we started every performance with our theme song, To Music. I’ve never forgotten the rush of feeling I experienced when we sang the words, 'To Music, noble art, we bow in adoration. Our vibrant hearts resound, with psalms of adulation.' That kind of says it all."
Miner describes giving up chamber music and all her other activities as "just wrenching." But she's proud of what she's accomplished since then.
"I have overcome physical trauma, emotional turmoil, and the process of reinventing myself. It’s amazing what a human being can do to just keep going.
I actually had started writing before playing violin. I was placed in a special afterschool program for creative writing when I was in grade school, and I loved the whole process of creating characters and plots. So, becoming a writer seemed the natural transition.
Having gone through the grieving process of losing my ability to play violin, I am quite gratified with my accomplishments as a writer and lecturer."
Miner has interviewed famous musicians such as Hilary Hahn, Frederica von Stade, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, etc.... Her articles have been inspiration for her novels such as Murder in the Pit. She's currently working on a sequel to the book along with some other projects.
"I have a number of opera lectures coming up, topics ranging from Mozart and Rossini to Wagner and beyond," she said. "My novel sequel takes place at the Santa Fe Opera, and I’m having a blast creating problems for the violinist protagonist, and everyone she comes into contact with."
Miner leaves musicians with some encouraging words for coping with injury and the loss of physical capability to perform.
"Find a creative outlet that kindles your passion and can help you stay connected to your love for music; writing is one, and that worked for me. I know a number of former musicians who have been writing, in any number of genres.
But it doesn’t have to be the written word. One of my former colleagues is sculpting. Another has become quite well-known as a conductor. Read Leon Fleisher’s book – he certainly had to deal with a life-changing situation in a huge way.
Remember that music will always be in your heart, no matter what you choose to do to make your inner performer happy."
PHOTO CREDIT: 2nd Portrait with Violin by Stephen Doran Miner
Do you know a professional, amateur, or student musician with an inspirational, funny, heartwarming, or unique story? Recommend them for our Music is for Everyone Blog series. We'll interview them for the Fiddlershop Blog. Contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you! :)