International Chamber Music Festival, Bulgaria

Opening Concert

“Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.”

Author Carlos Castandeda

MY STORY: THE WARRIOR VIOLINIST

Warrior Beginnings

Before I was even born, I was listening to the classical greats, Tchaikovsky, Bach, Vivaldi…my mom would put the headphones on her belly while she was pregnant with me.

That was the beginning of the musical connection within the physical world of my current lifetime.

From the very beginning, I was an intelligent hyper sensitive empath seeing things outside of physical reality. Being the youngest only girl with four older brothers raised in a very  conservative male dominant religion, I became a complete people pleaser and learned that love was earned by good behavior.

At the age of three the violin called to me.  Every day, I would walk by my great grandfather’s violin dying to play.  My parents had no idea where I could start violin at a young age so they started me on piano at the age of 5.

I learned how to read from opera subtitles and was told to shut up literally from my kindergarten teacher because I knew all the answers. I couldn’t get enough reading about the composers and would sneak into the “older” library to grab as many composer books as possible.

In music, I found my home and with the composers, a family.

WARRIOR TRAINING

Path of a Warrior

Studying violin and piano equally, I became concertmaster of school and youth orchestras and received highest awards in violin and piano solo and ensemble competitions at the district and state level. I also received special permission to study University level Music Theory in High School.

When I was preparing to take a piano audition for Lawrence University, my first violin teacher suggested I play for University of Colorado violin professor, Ozzi Lehnert in which I did and received a full string scholarship to attend University of Colorado at Boulder.  I maintained this scholarship throughoutt my studies at the University.

Warrior Lesson: Know Thyself

WARRIOR OBSTACLES

Dark Episodes

With my mother being a stay at home mom taken care of by my father and being raised in a religion where homemakers were held in high esteem and careers took women away from their families, I had a healthy fear of earning an income, especially as a violinist mixed with worthiness issues as a woman wanting to pursue the violin and not a family.

My own piano teacher discouraged me from following my heart and becoming a musician because of the difficulty of getting employed. He was German and I know he was saying that to protect me but talk about setting up a money/musician block.

I did not have any career oriented female role models to learn from. Felt alone…and I was pursuing music. Because of my sheltered life and not thinking that there was another way for me, I made decisions that did not ring true for my path…I put everyone’s feelings before mine at the cost of my happiness.

Despite the struggles in my personal and spiritual life, I continued my University studies at a rapid rate and was on track to graduate in three years instead of four. I had my junior recital my sophomore year.

I had my next six years planned out to get a masters and a doctorate in succession.

Even though I was progressing rapidly, I felt my technical education was lacking from my University professor so I stepped out of the University and went to Denver to study with Mr. Wippler, teacher of Eugene Fodor and retired concertmaster of Colorado Symphony the summer after my sophomore year.

After a summer of study with Mr. Wippler, I was very well prepared for my university orchestra audition and jumped from the back of the first violin section to fourth chair.

Not only was I surprised, so were my “friends.” Someone told my University violin professor that I was still studying with Mr. Wippler. To make a long story short, Professor Lehnert kicked me out of his violin studio.

I went to the other professor at the University at the time…Professor William Starr and asked if I could study with him. I only had one semester left before graduation.
He said no that he wanted to keep good relations with Ozzie.
I then went to the dean and asked for help….he was on his way out the door to retire and also said no…

At this point, I felt I had no other choice, yet again, and on many levels gave in.

I dropped out of the University and continued my violin education with Mr. Wippler in Denver.

Warrior Lesson: Never Fear Speaking Your Truth

IGNITING THE WARRIOR FROM WITHIN

Finding the Strength to Fight

After a trip to France in 1999 – my first time out of the States…something clicked.

I remember walking into Notre Dame reading “Our Father” on the wall and felt some strength stirring inside of me.  A spark was ignited and I knew that life was bigger than what I experienced.

I knew it was time to stand up for myself and fight the oppression that was stopping me from achieving what I was put on this earth to do…

At 24, I gathered the strength to stand up to the darkness in my personal and spiritual life, combatting everything stopping me from returning to Boulder to finish my degree in violin performance.

Warrior Lesson: Stand for Personal Truths

  • 2001, Graduated from University of Colorado, Boulder

  • Bachelor of Music - Violin Performance

  • Bachelor of Arts - English Literature

WARRIOR FULL OF FEAR

Duel with the Devil

After graduation, 26 and I was yet again freaking out how the hell I was going to make an income to support myself as a female violinist.

There was a large mall being built nearby with lots of opportunities for work. I had a friend who suggested I try finding a job there. I looked into it and applied as a makeup artist for Calvin Klein cosmetics. I got the job easily with excellent pay and headed to San Francisco for training.

After 3 months my soul was truly dying. I remember working on Christmas Eve and I played the violin with a pianist there and was literally crying inside and out…I knew I could not continue as a makeup artist. My purpose was with the violin.

So after doing much soul searching, meditating, praying and spending time in nature – I remember sitting on a rock and I received the message to go back to Wisconsin…go “home.”

I cried because the last place I wanted was to return to the city I could not wait to leave….but I listened.

I packed my honda civic and at 26 I returned home to Wisconsin crying all the way from beautiful mountainous Colorado….

But it was the best move for my career.

Warrior Lesson: You Are More Powerful Than Fear

WARRIOR RISING

Soldier of Fortune

After one week back in Wisconsin, my car’s alternator was going.  I made one phone call to a personnel manager of Kenosha Symphony and he said he needed a violinist for that very night’s rehearsal.  Perfect timing – I got the money to fix my car and started my freelancing career.

That single gig started my 10 year American freelancing career spanning three states and at least 25 different chamber and symphony orchestras including Wisconsin Philharmonic, Milwaukee Ballet, Green Bay SymphonyWisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Des Moines Metropolitan Opera, Illinois Symphony and Rockford Symphony just to name a few.

To this day, I am very thankful for this experience because I played so much repertoire and shared the stage with great conductors, and great musicians. My only regret is that I didn’t keep record of everything I played because there is no way I can remember.

I started my private studio in Wisconsin out of my parent’s house until I rented my own house on the shores of Lake Michigan. My studio started with a handful of students and in house recitals to 30 students and recitals in churches.

My students easily placed highest in all district, state honors competitions and concerto competitions.

I continuously took auditions, performing in orchestras, performed in a violin cello duo called the String Divas, created a successful contracting business called “Strings” playing for weddings, receptions, cocktail hours and background music.

At the same time I constantly thirsted for the best training on the violin.

2007 season I accompanied Rachel Barton Pine in five different orchestras. I had a strong feeling she was the one to be my teacher. So my fear of asking her was less than the driving force telling me to do so…

So I asked with sweaty palms and pits and she said yes. I studied with her for 5 years all while performing in orchestras, teaching 15-20 students, giving recitals and even playing in a rock band, “The Sleeper Pins.”

My life was 100% absorbed into music.  This is good, but I learned the hard way there needs to be a balance.

In 2010, I was playing in many orchestras, teaching an amazing studio of young budding violinists, playing chamber music with a great pianist and furthering my violin education with Rachel Barton Pine.

Every violinists’ dream…

Warrior Lesson: Know and Value Your Talent

INJURED WARRIOR

Broken Wrist

November 2010 – The worst nightmare of any violinist happened….I broke my left wrist.

While on vacation in Mexico, I fell down some rocky stairs without a handrail and braced my fall with the palm of my left hand.
Right before the fall I heard the words, “Everything will be alright.”
I had pain…As soon as I was back in the States I went to a Doctor and had x-rays. They didn’t find anything and sent me to physical therapy. The lady was bending my wrist in a way that even it was healthy I wouldn’t let her so I ended those sessions but continued to perform.
November and December are one of the busiest times of year – I have no idea how many concerts I played on that broken wrist but I remember one specific concert was a feature Heather in all aspects…
I soloed Paganini, Piazolla – tangos with guitar, accompanied my students on piano and played in the rock band – about a 3 hour concert – all with a broken wrist. I did have a pain patch on.
You can see a pic of me playing Paganini with a pain patch above.
That day I had 3-4 hours rehearsal and a 3 hour concert.
Two weeks after the concert extravaganza and one month after the break, I was in Utah visiting my family and my oldest brother said, “Sis, you’ve got a broken wrist.”
So in January, after the holiday break, I found a specialist. I don’t even remember how I found him but I did….And they x-rayed again. Low and behold they found the break. I had broken my hamate bone. They say it is about a 1 % chance of healing correctly.
Those 12 weeks I was casted was horrific.
I had panic attacks, anxiety, depression…
I thought what would I do with my life if I couldn’t play the violin.
I could say nicely that it gave me the opportunity to do some soul searching but in all honesty – it forced me to take a look at my life and I found I didn’t like what I saw.
Before the break I was literally running from one job to the next. Finished teaching at the last possible second to run out the door, eat dinner while driving my mini to rehearsals or a concert.
Being casted my life completely changed and I realized I had lost myself completely in the violin journey.
Who was I?
After the cast was removed I started physical therapy which helped tremendously.
When I was given the go light to play the violin again…I will never forget the pain.
The pain to turn my wrist in order to play was more excruciating than the break itself.

I had to keep thinking of those words “Everything will be allright.”

After being casted for almost three months and learning lessons I needed to about my life and my life’s direction I was able to play again.

I can honestly say if I hadn’t broken my wrist I would not be where I am today.

Warrior Lesson: We are the Instrument to the Instrument

WARRIOR’S QUEST

Personal Legend

In the autumn of 2012, I put what I could in three and a half suitcases, put my shih-tzu, Zissou in a travel bag and went to Bulgaria to play with the Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra.  I had so many colleagues, friends and family think and say that I was absolutely crazy to do this, but I knew in my heart it was where my violin journey was taking me.

I answered the call yet again.

In this transition, it became very apparent to me the effectiveness of video training and skype lessons.  If you would have asked me in 2011, my opinion of teaching violin online, I would have said there is no way they can be effective.

When I was in Bulgaria, I would teach my American students via skype and that is how my online adventures began. On a plea from a seven year old who wanted lessons while I was in Bulgaria.

The students and parents loved it so much that sometimes they opted for skype lessons even when I was in the states.  Video lessons are amazing educational tools and this was proven to me when I used them as supplemental material for the skype lessons.

Birth of an online violin lesson e-course academy, violin exercise books and a weekly violin exercise program…

2012, while vacationing in the Black Sea, I woke up everyday with the beautiful Bulgarian sunrise not because I set an alarm but because I was inspired to create an online academy.  I took my experience of 20 years of teaching and outlined an online violin academy. I basically put my violin lessons in video taking a violinist from absolute newbie to advanced techniques and beyond….

Crazy, I know. But now I have hundreds of students around the world.

You can access some of these courses at www.onlineviolineducation.com/courses.

Along with the courses, I started to write exercise books. All of the exercises that have been in my head for 20 years and would use with my private students that allowed them to excel in auditions and even go to Carnegie Hall. You can find all of my violin books here: www.onlineviolineducation.com/books.

Consistency in practicing is key and I know personally to have guided goals and direction is a must for all violinists. Because I saw a need in a weekly online program for violinists, I created a weekly violin exercise program.

You can check it out here www.violinexercises.com.

Once I removed all the crazy teaching and gigging when I came to Bulgaria in a very peaceful environment – I re-evaluated my violin journey.

I had a time where I didn’t want to pick up the violin to practice at all. I went from crazy 3-6 hour practice sessions, performing with multiple orchestras regularly and teaching 15 students to a peaceful life in a Bulgarian mountain town with two concerts a month where I can walk to rehearsals and to the concert hall.

In this time, I am able to nourish myself with rest, good food, research how to heal from hashimotos hypothyroidism naturally. Which in turn allows me to better service to thousands of violinists around the world and a better violinist on my violin journey inside and out.

Warrior Lesson: Balance

WARRIOR’S HONOUR

Heroic Leadership

Throughout my violin journey, I not only discovered, but connected to my true self.  I learned the importance of engaging excellence daily mentally, physically and spiritually in order to become a warrior violinist.

In a violin journey, it is possible to learn so much more than the violin if you allow yourself.

It is my honour and calling to lead others on their violin journey…

1. How to be the best violinists possible by breaking down difficult techniques into bite size actionable pieces.

2. Create an organized holistic regime to get the most out of every practice session physically, mentally, and spiritually.

3. How to implement the newly learned technical skills to soul stirring pieces and ignite passionate performances.

4. To give violinists tools to release themselves from blockages that are not only hindering progress in the violin journey but in all aspects of life.

Professional Bio

Heather Broadbent received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her professors included; Ozzie Lehnert, William Starr, Jennifer John, and members of the Takacs String Quartet. Ms. Broadbent continued her education after the University with world renowned violin soloist, Rachel Barton Pine for five years.

During 2001- 2012, Ms. Broadbent returned to the Chicago metropolitan area performing on a regular basis in three states – Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.  Ms. Broadbent was a member of Wisconsin Philharmonic, Milwaukee Festival City Symphony, and Illinois Symphony.  Ms. Broadbent performed regularly with Rockford Symphony, Fox Valley Symphony, Erato Chamber Orchestra, Waukegan Symphony, Green Bay Symphony, and Kenosha Symphony. Ms. Broadbent has also had the opportunity to perform with the Milwaukee Ballet, Bach Chamber Orchestra, Bel Canto Orchestra, Pamiro Opera, Chicago Chamber, Chicago Pops, Chicago Virtuosi Orchestra, Erato Chamber Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber, and Des Moines Metropolitan Opera.

Ms. Broadbent held the position as guest associate concertmaster of Dubuque Symphony for three years, Guest Concertmaster of Chicago Virtuosi Orchestra – performing world premiers, Guest Concertmaster and Assistant Concertmaster of Racine Symphony, Guest Concertmaster of Full Score Chamber Orchestra, Concertmaster of Racine Choral Arts and Concertmaster of Festival Arts Chamber Orchestra.  Ms. Broadbent has soloed throughout the United States, Canada, and Bulgaria of which she was faculty of the International Chamber Music Festival in 2008.  In 2011, Heather Broadbent performed as Chamber Orchestra Concertmaster in Italy – Musica Negli Horti Festival.  In 2015, Ms. Broadbent was soloist for the International Chamber Festival – Bulgaria.

Along with her prolific performing schedule, Ms. Broadbent maintained a violin and piano studio consisting of 15 to 30 students Heather’s students have held countless leadership positions in youth, school and honors orchestras as well as receiving the highest awards given in many solo and concerto competitions.  In 2010, a student of Ms. Broadbent performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Currently Ms. Broadbent performs regularly as soloist and orchestral violinist with the Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra. Heather instructs violinists online via her online Academy, Workshops and Intensives.  She has students hailing from all parts of the world and has taught on 3 continents in 3 hours. Heather is the founder of Online Violin and  Director of a violin video training E-Course Academy, Classical Violin Academy. She has written multiple scale and method books.  Ms. Broadbent also has a successful youtube channel with over half a million views.