San Jose,CA 95117, United States

About Gretchen

Living A Happy Life

I do what I love every day, but the path to get here wasn't direct.

I started playing the violin when I was in fourth grade. My grandfather that was living with us played violin, really fiddle, which encouraged me to try. I started in a program at public school. Every school had an orchestra and band at that time.

Between then and the time I went to college, I tried most every other orchestral instrument to some extent. My father would go off on business trips and come back with the latest instrument that he had acquired, often from a pawn shop. I looked forward to seeing what I would get to try next. In high school I primarily played cello, string bass, and sousaphone, hey had plenty of violins. Transferring to Cal State Hayward as a music major made it clear that I had to pick a major instrument and concentrate on that. Violin became the clear choice. I graduated from Cal State Hayward with a double major in music and computer science. I knew that making a living in music was financially hard and I wasn't ready for the sacrifices that it meant at that time. Music continued to be part of my life, but mostly at a non-professional level. I worked in technical support, as a trainer and as a course deleloper in the high tech industry. I played so many musical theater shows in the early years that I lost count. I have played in most of the local community orchestras at some time. Working in high tech and traveling as much as 40% made playing anywhere reliably nearly impossible. In 2000 I was laid off from high tech job for the second time. I ended up working a much lower paying job, but it was 9 to 5. That was the turning point that convinced me that I could work toward doing music full time. I had a lot of work to do to get there though. Finally, all the pieces fell in place in 2006 and the many hours of practice paid off. Later on I added viola, cello and bass back into my repertoire. That took many hours of playing chamber music with very tolerant and patient friends.

Around 2015 I started working as a music aide in a Moreland School District. This has honed many of my general instrument skills again. Not many violinists know how to use a brass mouthpiece puller, or how to fix a broken spring on a flute. I also added coaching in a few local high schools.

I am now lucky enough to do what I love every day. I play professionally part time and teach part time. I am also the music librarian for some local groups. It is my perfect pieced together life.