The air is hot and nearly miserable outside but inside a tack shop on Fourth Street with the fan blowing the edges of the music sheets and the sound of a stringed instrument softly playing, it’s a different world. The music is the sound of a beginner’s violin and there is the voice of a child intently speaking to her teacher.
Katie Townsend, a resident of Early, has been teaching violin lessons for the last two years and more recently within the last couple months she has taught guitar lessons as well.
“I’m not classically trained. I teach what I know. I teach hymns and Christian music, Western swing, bluegrass and Celtic music,” Townsend said.
Townsend lived in Lipan until she was 7 years old, when she moved to Early. She was home schooled and is now a young teacher herself. She is only 21 years old but to teach her nine music students, she must know her stuff.
Students and their parents are impressed with Townsend’s musical abilities and also with the gift of music she gives to the community.
“We met Katie when my mother-in-law was in the hospital. She [Townsend] was going room to room playing for the people in the hospital,” Jessica Staton, mother of one of Townsend’s students, Chandler Staton, said.
“We had been looking for a violin teacher for Chandler and Katie is great. She takes them to nursing homes to perform recitals for the people there,” Staton added.
Townsend, a gifted musician herself, has apparently learned quickly.
“I have been playing the violin for about six years,” Townsend said.
“I had a friend who had a violin and her grandfather taught her and me to play at the same time.”
Little did she know when she began learning how to play the violin, she was actually fulfilling a wish of her own grandfather.
“I didn’t know at the time, but my grandfather always wanted one of his offspring to learn how to play the violin,” Townsend said.
In addition to the lessons by her friend’s grandfather, Townsend was taught the last couple years by another local violin teacher, James Scott. Townsend learned guitar from a friend and also from her father.
Townsend has used her quickly-learned talents and abilities with the violin and guitar to spread it to a younger generation.
“I love seeing students progress and seeing the future possibility of using that for God’s glory,” Townsend said.
“I enjoy seeing them try and fail and try and fail and then finally get to that ‘yes! I did it!’ moment.”
Townsend does not plan on changing her career anytime soon.
“I plan on teaching for a while. I really have no other short-term plans,” Townsend said.
Not only does Townsend enjoy teaching, but she also enjoys playing the violin herself.
“Playing the violin is a good way to use the talent God has given me,” Townsend said. “My music is my out. Some people do different things when they are frustrated or angry, but I just play the violin.”
In addition to Townsend’s teaching and private playing of the violin, she has also participated in other types of music. She participated in last month’s Texas Bluegrass Festival at the jam sessions in addition to holding several small recitals at nursing homes and the hospital.
“I enjoy working with children and people in general,” Townsend said. “I just think that music makes people’s lives better.”