After a long Monday morning meeting, a young girl and her mom walked into the 402 office. The woman greeted everyone with a big smile while the girl peered up with a shy grin and a violin in hand. Erin Brandt and her daughter Lena where standing in the doorway ready for the 402 Student Spotlight interview. Moving into the recording studio for the interview, Lena sat herself down on the cushion chair while her mom took the small wooden chair.
Lena is seven-years-old and is currently a student of Danny Sabra. She tells the 402 that she has never taken lessons before coming to Sabra. Erin adds that her daughter has been taking lessons for just about five months now. Although Lena is the second youngest out of the four children in her family, she is the only one that has shown interest in music.

Erin tells the 402 that her daughter has inquired about the violin since she was five-years-old. “My husband and I were just trying to feel it out at first. We asked ourselves, ‘Is this really something?’ We didn’t want to just dive in,” describes Erin. Erin Brandt goes on to say that her daughter has the personality that really thinks and evaluates things before she is fully committed.

Once Lena has made up her mind however, she is completely dedicated.

“For about a year and half Lena would come to either me or my husband asking,’When can I play violin?’ About a month later she would say, ‘I want to play violin.’ Then about five months after that she would ask, ‘When can I start playing violin?’ We were then finally like, ‘Yeah! We better listen,’” laughed Erin. Similar to most parents who are about to make an investment, the Brandt’s wanted to be completely sure this was something Lena was serious about and she was.

Once they decided to sign Lena up for lessons, Erin says that they were advised to check out the 402. Having friends who are currently involved, the Brandt family looked at the 402 Lessons program. “I knew that everyone that worked here were exceptional musicians and are practicing artists yet very passionate about teaching.”

“I really don’t think you could get any better then combining those two worlds,” describes Erin.

“We have been so happy here. Not just happier I guess but impressed. I was talking to Danny the other day about how we love having her in lessons with him. He has built such a great relationship with Lena and really cares about her as a person. I also feel like that really spills over into our family. He just cares. He’s got that friend relationship with Lena and yet also he teaches her in a way that she respects him. He allows her to be who she is. When summer hit he asked all his students, ‘What do you want to learn?’” Erin smiled. Turning to Lena, the 402 asked what she is currently working on. Lena looked at her mom. A big smile spread across her face and she said, “Beat It by Michael Jackson.”

Lena’s advice to anyone thinking about pursuing violin is, “It’s a lot of hard work.” Lena enjoys learning and is excited to see where music will take her.

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