Just recently, I went sifting through a stack of old journals that I found in my bedroom at my parent’s house. When I say stack, I mean stack! — Those things were my means of survival in navigating through the forest of insecurity, doubt, and self consciousness that always seem to surround most vulnerable high schoolers. Most of what I wrote about is now insignificant; what I did that day, how annoying it was when my mom told me to practice, or a detailed account of my accidental interaction with the object of my affection, so I was delighted when I found these words: “When I grow up, I want to live in Chicago close to my family, and play in a string quartet”.

When I was in high school dreaming of one day playing string quartets for my job, I had no idea about anything except how the music made me feel. I didn’t know what 501©3 status was, I didn’t know a thing about marketing, and I hadn’t even begun to understand real teamwork, never-the-less COMPROMISE. (Which I think sits at the centerpiece of quartet playing!) And what’s funny is, I don’t feel I learned much about any of that while pursuing my music degrees either.

Over the past (almost) three years, I’ve spent my time holding down the viola fort in Chicago Q Ensemble. Risking sounding pretty annoying, I have to say, I love our organization and what it stands for. Aside from everything musical Q has taught me, I feel it has made a profound impact on the way I approach the relationships in my life. Some people have a thing for politics, others go crazy for sports, but me, I like people.

I am currently struggling with a shoulder injury that is keeping me from playing, (which totally, TOTALLY sucks) but it hasn’t been all bad. I’m surprised to find myself more aware of the skills I’ve learned through the quartet that don’t involve my viola. 16-year-old Aimee didn’t know that a string quartet could do so much more than fill my ears with some of the greatest music in the universe. Through working with my three incredible counterparts, I’ve been lucky enough to learn patience, to be vulnerable, to trust, to problem solve, and to listen. All the things you’d ever want in a relationship.

More than just music…