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How Music Shaped My Life

Dear UVMC Friends,

I grew up with Upper Valley Music Center. I followed UVMC from its storefront location across from Three Tomatoes to its Hanover Road building to its new home on Colburn Park in the center of downtown Lebanon.

Upper Valley Music Center was the place where I could drop a shoulder rest in the middle of a recital and feel the audience supporting me anyway; where I could return after years living 3,000 miles away and catch up with the families I grew up with; where I could learn the rules of the music world without ever feeling chastised — get to the gig early, bring a pencil, bring a score to the masterclass, attend the visiting artist’s concert…

My lessons didn’t just give me violin technique or good habits for the industry. They left me with a firm belief that music is about people, together. That value is my north star when I decide whether to be involved in a musical project. Whom does it serve? Who gets to be involved? How will the experience strengthen people’s feeling of connection? In many ways, UVMC was an ideal community, and I find myself trying to re-create it wherever I work.

I had hundreds of lessons with my teacher. Every time I played for her, she asked, “what went well?” And then, “what needs to be worked on?” I still ask myself these questions constantly, in music and in life, and they’ve always pushed me in the right direction.

I use the technique, theory, and practices I learned at UVMC every day of my life, but I use the habits of mind as well. Commitment, care, and joy were modelled for me over the course of my ten years studying there, and I will always be grateful for my experiences.

I know that my journey was made possible by generous people who have given to UVMC over the years. Please consider supporting UVMC’s vital, life-affirming work. Your contribution shapes lives like mine, and I’m grateful.


Charlotte Perkins