Student Focus: Kelly Olsen

Name: Kelly Olsen

Kelly Olsen

Majors: Music Education (Instrumental) with a certificate in Violin Performance

Hometown: Cedar Falls, Iowa

Graduation: Spring 2020


What are you involved with here at Iowa State?

Every semester here at Iowa State seems to be busier than the last. This semester I am busy with many ensembles. Recently we just had our first symphony concert of the year, and we still have two more performances coming up this semester. Next up, I am playing in the pit for the Iowa State production of Orpheus in the Underworld. I am also involved in a string quartet. And of course, I am working on plenty of repertoire for violin.


What is your favorite thing about your experiences so far?

I appreciate the number of performance opportunities. Every semester I have been involved in some sort of chamber ensemble. Whether it be chamber orchestra, a string quartet, or a piano quintet, the string studio always has some sort of collaboration going on. Chamber music is a very different style of performing. It’s great to be able to collaborate with friends on beautiful works of music and put our own interpretations into the music.


Why did you choose Iowa State’s Music Program?

I came to Iowa State as an English and Journalism major. Then I switched to Biology and finally wound up in music after Dr. Harrison, the previous symphony director approached me and asked, “Why aren’t you in music”. My only answer was that I struggled with theory, but apparently, that wasn’t enough of a reason. I am lucky to have wound up here though. My professor of violin is wonderful. I’ve learned more from Professor Martinic than I could have ever imagined.


Advice for prospective students:

Practice doesn’t make perfect. You can spend hours and hours practicing but if you’re not focusing the entire time, it’s not worth it. Commit to it and try to leave all the distractions out of the room.