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Student Discovers Passion to Play Cello at Dallas College

Last updated on January 5, 2024

Skyler Campbell grew up playing the violin, but always wondered what it would be like to play the cello. That wonder went away at Dallas College when she was given the opportunity to play the cello by Dr. Abel Rodriguez, who is the college’s director of orchestras based on our Richland Campus.

With the support of Rodriguez, Campbell discovered her passion for the cello and is now the principal cello in the Texas State Symphony Orchestra.

“If I wouldn’t have gone to Dallas College, I’d probably still be on violin,” Campbell said. “Dr. R was very supportive and created an environment where nothing seemed impossible to do. It was presented in a way where you felt you could learn it.”

Added Dr. Rodriguez: “It was a privilege to have Skyler in the music program. She was always eager to learn and to share what she learned with others. She is an amazing musician, and it will be exciting to see how her teaching will transform the lives her students.” 

Skyler Campbell

For Campbell, her violinist roots helped her in becoming a cellist. There are many similarities as both are orchestral string instruments, although there are significant differences in how the instruments are held.

“Obviously there’s a drastic shift in posture from violin to cello, but my bad habits on the violin didn’t have a chance to transfer over,” she said. “I started with a lot of tension on my left hand (playing the violin), but that is not physically possible on the cello. So, I started with a better foundation just because I wasn’t allowed to start with those habits.”

Playing the cello has helped Campbell grow as a musician and a person, too. She is now able to play multiple instruments and wants to spread the joy of being in an orchestra to future generations.

This is someone who joined the Richland Campus orchestra as a non-music major, simply wanting to continue playing while she figured out a career path. Now, she is playing at a four-year school with plans to become an orchestra teacher down the road.

It’s no surprise that Campbell would encourage any high school student who plays in the orchestra to do the same at Dallas College.

“If somebody is going into orchestral strings, or wants to be an orchestra teacher, Dallas College’s Richland Campus is definitely the place they should be,” she said. “It was an amazing opportunity for me, and I’d tell any future student to take advantage of it as soon as they can.”

This story and others like it can be found in the Student Newsletter. Check your Dallas College email to see the latest edition.

Published inStudent Success Story