Cultural Experience | Munich

Turning My Passion Into A Dream Come True

How playing violin allowed me to travel to Europe and accomplish one of my biggest aspirations

I first picked up a violin when I was about eight years old. I obviously wasn’t very good at first, but I kept at it. I practiced every day, played my heart out, and I loved every second of it. Now, here I am, eleven years later and I still can’t believe the doors that were opened to me because of music. I still can’t believe that my one of my dreams actually came true a few years ago when I got the opportunity to travel to Prague, Munich, and Austria, to play amazing pieces of music with an extraordinary group of people.

Music has been the biggest part of my life since I started but I had always thought that I would never accomplish much with it. It’s a tough industry, there’s always someone better or with more connections. However, I never gave up on my dreams of being able to travel while doing something I love. When I was only sixteen, I was a part of a symphony outside of school that offered a trip to Europe to perform. Not only was I accomplishing my dream of going to Europe, but I got to do it by following my passions. The places we visited were incredible, I can honestly say each place took my breath away from the moment we got there.

Prague was gorgeous. The city had a historic feel and I somehow felt connected to the city. The streets are cobblestone and no busses are allowed to drive on them, which was definitely different than walking around New York. The local culture was something to be admired, I loved the style of the people around me. When it came to our first performance of the trip, it was in a beautiful church and more people came than I would have ever expected. It still amazes me how most of the people I encountered in Prague didn’t understand or speak much English, but they did understand music. We spent about five out of our nine days in Prague and I loved every second of it. If any of you ever find yourself in Prague,  I remember that just by going about a block past the main square, we stumbled upon the most wonderful local hangout.

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Next on the trip was a drive through the Austrian Alps. I remember this day so clearly because it was the day I was successfully in three countries in under 24 hours. We left Prague in the early morning and drove through the Alps on the way to Munich. We ended up in a town next to a beautiful lake, nestled in the Alps. It was quiet and resembled something one might see in Disney classic, like Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella. We also drove past the church that the Sound of Music was filmed in, which was definitely a highlight. Though my time in Austria was short, it was memorable. I definitely suggest that if you ever have the chance to drive through the Alps, do it, it’s absolutely breathtaking.

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Lastly, we ended our trip in Munich. I loved the street culture of Munich because in a way it reminded me of New York. People always moving, nothing was ever really still. The architecture was new to me so I found myself looking at buildings more than looking in front of me, which might explain why I bumped into so many people. There was so much to see and do in Germany that our days were completely filled but it was so worth it. We went to the castle that Cinderella’s castle was modeled after, went to an amazing courtyard, found an art museum with some of the most beautiful art I’ve ever seen, and lastly performed a concert I’ll never forget. Our last performance was at a German high school and we played with the high school band. They were all so talented and I was lucky enough to talk to and meet a lot of them. It still amazes me that even though our languages and cultures were different, we were able to communicate, and put on a great concert.

This trip was something I can never forget. The people I met, the places I saw, the music I played, everything still feels like a dream. Music changed my life in every positive way possible. My orchestra and symphony opened doors for me to experience things that most kids my age only ever dreamed about. I never imagined that one of my biggest goals and dreams in life would actually be accomplished by doing something I was so passionate about. I hope by people reading this article, you are all reminded that you should never give up on your dreams, because you will get there. I encourage all of you to find your passion in your travels, and never, ever, let it go.

Gabrielle Murphy

Hofstra University | 7 stories

Gabrielle is a sophomore currently studying marketing at Hofstra University. She is a born and raised New Yorker who can’t leave her house without a good book and her journal. Her first experience abroad included performing in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria. She is currently planning to study abroad in Europe and she looks forward to learning and experiencing all that the world has to offer.

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