Tennessee rower plays four instruments

UT student athlete Aja List balances rowing and orchestra.

As if juggling the demands of being a student and an athlete wasn't demanding enough, University of Tennessee junior Aja List balances life as a student-athlete and musician. 

List is on the Tennessee rowing team and plays viola in the orchestra. 

"There's definitely a lot of parallels between playing viola or other instruments in general and rowing," List said. "They both involve rhythm. They both involve being in touch with your body and different muscles and how to use them in certain ways. They're both very technical and both require a lot of balance."

Perhaps the most impressive part isn't that she's able to balance sports, music and academics, it's that viola isn't the only instrument Aja plays. There are three others. 

"People know I play the viola but they don't always know I play the violin and piano and sing sometimes on the side and I'm learning ukulele," List said. 

List's parents both had careers in music and introduced her to instruments at a young age. But although music comes naturally to her, it hasn't always been that way with sports. 

She dabbled in ballet as a child but never really found a sport that suited her, until she came across rowing in a high school bulletin and decided to give it a try. 

"What made it easier for me to perform better with rowing is that it didn't' require a lot of hand eye coordination and that was kind of what had put me off from other sports in the past," List said. 

She had finally found her sport, and the two have now become a big part of her life.

"It's kind of cool to walk into the school of music and be with my music friends and be able to say that I'm an athlete and it's also cool to be in the boathouse and say that oh I have rehearsal after this and both are integral parts of my experience here at UT."

 

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