MUSIC students wrestling with the wilful indifference of their instruments should take heart in the story of Evie Matthews.
The 16-year-old from Bendigo has risen through the ranks of Orchestra Victoria's regional stars program with impressive speed despite struggling to pick up the violin as a young student.
For the past four years, Evie has been selected to take part in the annual On the mOVe regional program, which offers tutoring and mentorship to talented musicians in 12 of Victoria's regional centres in an intensive two-day course. As a mark of how far she has come, Evie was selected as the principal second violinist in Orchestra Victoria's inaugural Regional Talent of the Future Showcase Concert at Hamer Hall today.
The concert will feature 82 of the top students from the On the mOVe workshops, playing James Horner's Titanic Suite and Henry Mancini's Moon River among other pieces, alongside Orchestra Victoria musicians.
Education development manager Christina Migliorini says On the mOVe was set up in 2002 to ensure talented players in the regions did not slip through the net. "The program gives young musicians the chance to play in an orchestra, which they may not be able to do in a small town," Christina notes. She says Evie has the perfect mix of technical aptitude, work ethic and adult-level maturity to make her a natural choice for the Hamer Hall concert.
But Evie's path was not always so smooth. Despite showing an early aptitude for music - her father is a music teacher - the violin did not come naturally.
"I took my first lesson when I was in Grade 3 in a group, and I was definitely slow to pick it up," she says. "But I wanted to be like my Dad, so I went home and just practised and practised."
It is an approach that has paid off - at this year's regional workshops, Evie was promoted to concert master.
One of the mentors also helped Evie with her fingering technique, which she found had a positive impact on the way she played.
"Most of us have just the one music teacher, so it was really helpful to get a second way of learning," she says.
But, surprisingly, Evie says she isn't entirely sold on music as a final career, with dancing and acting sharing equal space in her heart.
Whatever path she chooses, her love of music is likely to remain undimmed. "I have always had this thing with music," she says.
"Music explains everything for me."