Since my viola teacher is leaving soon for the summer, I am going to give him a gift card and write a thank you note. I'm not good at stuff like that (thank you notes), so this morning's run was a perfect empty boring space in which to try to compose something that didn't sound too silly ("thank you so much, for everything..."). I've learned a lot this year and can do a few things I never dreamed I'd be able to do. But it struck me that orchestra - mostly the orchestra that my teacher happens to conduct - has been the main thing that has got me Where I Am Today (heh), which is actually Nowhere, but still a lot better than I was a year or 5 ago. If it weren't for the intense desire to play cool music well with others, and the intense fear of standing out like the really awful rookie I was 4 years ago, I don't think I would have worked so hard at lessons. I don't think I would have had the motivation. Of course, none of that really fits well in a "dear teacher, thanks for another year of lessons, have a great summer" kind of note. But it was an interesting realization.