Young Viola Player Makes His Mark at The Music Center

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Tyler Rodriguez is the newest addition to the orchestra strings faculty family at the Community Music School. He has just completed his first semester teaching violin and viola and is enjoying his student time very much. Rodriguez tells us, “I see a lot of myself in my students. I have a student who is now playing Bach well for the first time, and I remember reaching that point in my own playing. It’s very satisfying to see these things come full-circle.” He shares another experience, “Between students, I was practicing Bach, and a toddler pressed her face up against the door window. I opened the door and her mother let her come in and sit while I played. Seeing that child stare up at me while I played was magical to me.”

Rodriguez was first exposed to the viola at a Music Center instrument petting zoo held at school when he was in 5 th grade. He decided on viola over violin because he loved the way the lower tones sounded closer to the human voice than anything else. His favorite music is classical romantic, especially Bach.

Executive director of The Music Center, Susan Balbaugh, shares, “I was thrilled when Tyler told me one of our instrument petting zoos led him down this path. Every time I meet another person our mission has touched, I get goosebumps and start calling our Board members and staff to share the news. This is why we do what we do here in Battle Creek.”

Rodriguez is also a student intern with the Battle Creek Symphony and this season conducted The Bells of Christmas Eve by Jerry DePuit. He is currently studying at KCC and plans to go onto Western Michigan University to study viola performance and then conducting. He was awarded the “Man of Note” from the Barbershop Harmony Society, given out to a gentlemen who has contributed to the society and the local chapter through effective recruitment and organization. He was also designated “Music Student of the Year” at Lakeview High School. In 2017 and 2018, he organized two benefit concerts of several high school acts to raise money for hurricane relief.

When not attending classes, studying, rehearsing, or teaching, Rodriguez somehow finds time to hike, work with wood, and spend time with his two miniature dachshunds.

Balbaugh states, “We are extremely pleased to have someone of his artistry with the Community Music School. He students love him and Tyler is definitely a very popular private lesson instructor.”

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