When she was a young child, Alena Hove’s first music teacher always told her and the rest of her classmates one thing when it came to music: On all the days you eat meals, you need to practice.
Hove, who is heading into her sophomore year at Eastside Catholic High School this fall, took that piece of advice to heart, and it has paid off. Hove’s talent as a violinist won her the 2014 KING FM Young Artist Award for the junior division of ages 6-15.
“I do a lot of competitions,” the 15-year-old said. “So, preparing for them helps me keep improving, as well as going to different teachers to see what they think about my music.”
As with most talented musicians, Hove’s love for the violin began when she was very young. At age 3, her mother Yuki signed her up for a “Sing and Play” class, where students were introduced to the cello, piano and violin.
“I thought it would be a good idea for her to play an instrument, but I thought it would be piano because we have one at home,” Yuki said. “After putting her in the class, she heard another student playing the violin and said, ‘I want to play that,’ so we ordered her first violin as soon as we got home.”
Having already made an appearance with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra at Benaroya Hall, Hove is a third-year member of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Pike Street Quartet, and she was invited to participate in the 2014 International Menuhin Competition.
The KING FM contest, though, was something new for Hove. Comprised of three rounds, one a recording of her playing and the other two live on radio, a board of nine judges voted on 100 participants, eventually narrowing it down to six finalists. The final step was to send in a YouTube video to the KING FM website to be judged by the community.
“I was very honored and really excited that I won the competition,” Hove said. “It has brought me a lot of opportunities, and I even got to appear on the morning edition of KING 5 News, which was my first time on TV.”
What separates Hove from the rest of the pack is her ability to balance violin practice with schoolwork, something she hopes will aid her in the future when applying to college.
“My goal is to practice two to three hours during the weekdays and double that during the weekends,” Hove said. “I can’t think of a life without violin, but I want to keep my options open. Violin school is definitely one option.”