Ashley Rescot: A Musical Prodigy
Learning how to play an instrument and learning a different language are two of the most difficult concepts to many people. Now, imagine learning how to do both. Next, imagine that you have not only learned how to do both, but you became qualified to teach it. That is the case for one particular author from Illinois.
“I started violin at such a young age, I can’t remember life without it,” recalled Ashley Rescot, the author of two musical short stories available on Amazon. “The instrument is like an extension of myself. For me, it’s an essential medium of self-expression. My mother is a violin teacher, and she is the one who started me on the instrument. She also taught my four younger sisters. Looking back, Mom’s dedication to our daily practice was incredible.”
As Rescot grew, her aunts also helped her hone her craft to have some outside help. It enabled her to learn so well that she taught others when she reached high school, under her mother’s guidance.
“She wanted me not only to understand the craft of the instrument but also pedagogy,” Rescot added.
Rescot recalled the earliest musical performance she remembered taking part in included Christmas concerts with her family.
“We would sing and play Christmas songs for gigs all around my hometown,” she recalled. “I especially remember singing ’I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas’ while watching my older cousins join me onstage in an enormous hippo costume.”
After college, Rescot took her musical talents and moved to Paris. From there, she took a
job and soon learned the language. She also learned that life in Europe was a lot different from life in the lone star state.
“I moved to Paris as a Fulbright scholar to teach English in a suburb just outside the city,” she highlighted. “European life contrasted dramatically from my life in Texas where I’d attended school. I loved to work with my French students to help them practice English and learn more about life in the United States. I discovered a lot more about my own country by experiencing it through the lenses of outsiders.”
From that experience, she enhanced her musical talents, while gaining new skills and an appreciation for the arts.
“I especially enjoyed working with other musicians during my stay abroad,” Rescot recalled. “Music truly is a universal language. For the first couple of weeks, I stayed with a cellist friend of mine while I searched for an apartment. I remember boarding the metro while she clambered in with her cello and tuba. Who’s to say petite French women aren’t strong!”
Rescot often spent time with her friend’s family in Orleans and recalled that she spent a lot of her happiest times at that family’s dinner table, enjoying the French cuisine and the close knit family. It helped her appreciate the people who lived in France.
Rescot eventually made her way back to the United States, where she took the talents she gained and made a living off of it.
“I wanted to run my own violin studio,” she emphasized. “I grew up with the Suzuki Method, a popular music education school of thought. I joined the Suzuki Association of the Americas and advertised as a teacher. It’s a great resource for teachers and students because you can search for people by instrument and location. I also made contact with the local orchestra director and gained several students from the school.”
A few years ago, she moved with her husband and kids further south from where they
lived. It also meant she had to open a new studio to teach her courses. It was a difficult decision because she had to start over from scratch. Despite that, people found her and located her courses through the Suzuki website.
“I also made contacts with local musicians, so a lot of my students came through word-of-mouth and referrals,” she said. “Some teachers run huge studios for their business, but I personally prefer a small, tight-knit group that feels like family.”
When she is not teaching the violin or French, she is writing. Her two short stories, The Ivory Touch and A Change in the Winds, are available on Amazon.
“I envisioned A Change in the Winds as a comedic meet-cute, which takes place during a college orchestra rehearsal,” she said. “My fiction contains at least a grain of real life experience. For this one, I wrote a spin-off of a true story my Dad told me from his junior high band. Apparently, the students had a substitute conductor, so they all switched instruments as a prank.”
Her other story, The Ivory Touch, followed the life of a senior in high school. It detailed his reaction to a global pandemic, similar to the one going on in the world.
“My heart goes out to all the seniors in high school and college who don’t get to experience the final performances, championships, and fanfare of their last year in school. I wrote this as a time-capsule piece to commemorate this unusual moment in history.”
Rescot’s love for music and her love of the French language has helped her cultivate the direction she wished to take her courses, and how to she wanted to instruct her students.
“As a musician, I’m a heavily auditory person, so music-learning and language-learning are similar processes for me,” she explained. “The more I listen, the more I imitate the sounds I hear, whether in music or French. I encourage both my private violin students and private French students to listen as much as possible. The Suzuki Method is actually based on language acquisition.”
Rescot explained there are still things she wishes to accomplish. One priority for her would be to publish a full length fictional musical novel.
“I’ve always identified with the artistic aspirations and family life of the March sisters from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women , so my dream is to write today’s generation of powerhouse, artsy sisters. My works feature a variety of musician types, so I hope all of my readers will be inspired by at least one of them.”
She emphasized that every musician has to decide which career path is best for them and from there, decide on where to go.
“The possibilities are endless, ranging from a player in a competitive orchestra or concert soloist, to a fiddler in a country band, a music teacher, a composer, or a creative entrepreneur, to name a few. Find which one or which combination works for you and run with it!”