Claire Armstrong


Rowan MacIntyre, Staff writer

Claire Armstrong recalls driving to school with her dad when she was little. Each morning, he would tune into the classical music station, and each morning, Armstrong grew to love classical music more and more. Eventually, she knew that she wanted to be the one making that music.  

“When I found out that violin was part of it, I begged my parents to let me start playing,” Armstrong said.  

Her wish was granted when she was 11. In sixth grade, she joined the Hillside Middle School orchestra, where she found more than just an opportunity to play. Armstrong felt a sense of belonging and community. A place where everyone supported her in creating the beautiful music she loved. This drove her to continue to practice and play.  

From Hillside, Armstrong went on to audition and play for the Highland orchestra beginning her freshman year, playing throughout her years in high school, and became concertmaster for Highland’s pit orchestra her sophomore and junior years.  

She also performed outside of Highland. During her junior year, Armstrong was part of Utah’s all-state orchestra, performing with them at Abravanel Hall.  

Armstrong said that she couldn’t have achieved all that she has without the support she received from both her family and her teachers.  

Her father introduced her to classical music, Armstrong said, and her mother supported her in learning to play. 

“She was always open to my interests, I always knew I had her support,” Armstrong said. 

Armstrong also received encouragement from her teachers. For over six years, she studied with a private instructor.  

“He always pushed me. He knew I was serious,” Armstrong said. “He was such a good mentor, he gave me so many life lessons.” 

Armstrong started playing violin a bit later than most people who are as serious about it as she is. Having a mentor who helped her climb to the level that others who had started earlier were on helped her to excel.  

Her private instructor wasn’t the only teacher that had an impact on Armstrong’s playing. Curtis Black, Highland’s music teacher, provided Armstrong with many great opportunities.  

“Mr. Black was always super supportive. He created an amazing environment to learn and play in,” Armstrong said. 

Now, Armstrong hopes to provide the same support, encouragement, and safe environment that she had to future music students. Armstrong plans on studying music education, with an emphasis on orchestral teaching, at Utah State this fall. 

With two music-related majors to choose from, Armstrong knew which one was right for her. As much as she loves performing, she knew that education was the correct path.  

“I want to create a safe environment, a place for creativity for young students,” Armstrong said. “I’m so grateful for the environment created for me. It had an impact on my life.”  

And for Armstrong, it’s not just about making an impact either. 

“It’s really important to figure out what makes you happy and to live your best life,” Armstrong said. “Follow your dreams.”