Dearborn Symphony Concertmaster, Debra Terry, has been playing with the orchestra for 4 years. The daughter of a Suzuki violin teacher and youngest of 3 children, all of whom play violin, viola, and cello, says it was “only natural” that she play an instrument. The story goes that her mother was teaching a young child a lesson out of Debra’s home, and when that student left to use the restroom, young Debra waddled in, picked up the violin and wouldn’t give it back until she was promised her own. “The rest is history,” she jokes.
During these months at home, Debra has been enjoying a lot of family time. Her daughter, Charlotte, has taken a strong interest in Star Wars and as a reward for her practicing both violin and piano for 500 days consecutively, the family went to Kensington Metro Park to watch Star Wars IX as a drive-in movie. “I think that might have been the highlight of our summer,” she adds while also mentioning her growing tomatoes, begonias, and Leland cypress and some camping excursions.
Debra home schools her two young daughters, Charlotte and Claire and continues to teaching all of her private violin and viola students via Zoom. “It isn’t ideal, but there have been some noticeable advantages, such as the students being more independent in their note-taking and position adjusting, since I am not physically present with them.” She notes that the parents of her younger students are also more involved in lessons, which gives them more confidence in practicing during the week.
She also started a practice club for students and colleagues both in Michigan and around the country. They meet every weekday morning on Zoom and just practicing together with their microphones muted. “It has really helped us all stay motivated as well as reminding us all that we are all still here. It isn’t anywhere near as good and wonderful as playing together, but we do get to feel some sense of togetherness. I have been really just working on my basic technique skills as well as some solo Bach and Paganini. I am actually feeling like I am in pretty good shape!”
When Debra has time to herself (and “can manage to stay awake!”) she enjoys binging shows on Netflix or watching movies with her husband.