Featured Student: Ms. Mintz

Featured Student: Ms. Mintz

-Tell us about your musical journey.

I started playing the viola in the 4th grade because the school’s music program got me out of class for half an hour. However, my school didn’t have good music teachers, and with so many students joining in the 4th grade, I didn’t learn the fundamentals. In fact, I didn’t even know I was playing the viola until 6th grade, and I wasn’t able to read alto clef well until the 8th grade. Since I loved playing music and wanted to get better, in the summer of my freshman year, I went to a little music store and met Kirk, who then became my teacher and got me started in SOUNDS Academy. I now study with Vivi Erickson.

-What is your instrument and why did you choose it?

I originally thought I was okay playing the violin, but I switched to the viola. What kept me in the viola is the fact that I love the deep rich tones that it can play. It is not as squeaky and as high-pitched as a violin, and the viola has the beautiful resonating tone, similar to the cello.

-What do you like about SOUNDS Academy?

I like that SOUNDS Academy gives students the ability to excel in life, and gives them the opportunity to try new things in the music world.

-Why is music education important for children?

Music education is important for children because music is good for the brain and lets people be a part of something, as well as understand the joys of music.

-Why are programs like SOUNDS Academy important?

Programs like SOUNDS Academy are important because the program provides the opportunity of music to children who would never get a chance to learn about in school. Many schools don’t have a music program, and school is typically the main way children would learn about how to play music.

-What role, if any, do you think SOUNDS Academy and the music education you’ve received, played in shaping who you are today?

One of my music-inspired dreams, and inspired by SOUNDS Academy, was getting the chance to attend the N.A.U. Curry Summer Music Camp, which is held over two weeks during the summer. I got to go this past summer. There, I studied under the viola professor, learning valuable techniques and skills, while also making irreplaceable friends who share a love of music with me. At the same time, many of the campers had awful music programs, and the two-week camp was the highlight of their music experience for the year because their schools don’t provide adequate music programs. Many have one orchestra or one band comprising of 20 members or less. This was an ongoing realization for me. That the power and beauty of music is not allowed to the students who want or need it. Coming from a music encouraged school, Mountain View, I’m fortunate to have five orchestras, four bands, and six choruses, with amazing directors to provide musical aid. My experience with music is heightened by the chances at my school to play challenging music, and it greatly pains me that many of the musicians at the camp, and around the state, don’t get the same opportunity as me.

-What performance skills help you in the classroom?

Music helps my bad memory and it improves my focus. Music helps improve my memory because when practicing, I repeat passages so much that it eventually sticks, making it easier to remember other sections. I can apply this same skill to the classroom and remember the subject better. 

-What was the hardest thing for you to learn and how did you feel when you mastered it?

The hardest thing that I have somewhat mastered is shifting and vibrato. It is hard to shift because sometimes there are shifts that are far apart so I have to practice a lot to let the muscle memory to know where to shift to be in order to be in tune. Vibrato was hard for me to master because it felt unnatural. Once I mastered them, I felt like ten times better as a musician because both help my musicality and ability.

-Between the characteristics of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork; which speaks the most about your journey so far? Why?

I would say perseverance because my hatred for practicing is overcome by making myself practice and going through with things I don’t like. It also helps outside of music because my perseverance gets applied to chores or homework, allowing me to complete different tasks. 

-How has music impacted your life or made a difference for you?

It has impacted my life because it has created a whole new passion which has shaped my life. Without music, I would never have an appreciation or love for classical music, nor would I have ever met my closest friends. Music has become so important to me, that I am pursuing music as career, either as a musical therapist or music education. SOUNDS Academy has impacted music in my life because they are what ignited this passion for music. My first concert was the Symphony of the Southwest, when they played Jupiter by Holst. This performance started a love for classical music that I was able to pursue due to the leadership and opportunities provided by SOUNDS Academy and Symphony of the Southwest. Thanks to them I have been able to have Master classes, watch concerts, go to music camps, take individualized lessons, and have a chance to follow my music-inspired dreams.

- What do you want the whole wide world to know? This can be about anything and everything. I call this my “Free to Be Me” question.

I want everyone to know there are student out there without an opportunity, or even a chance, with music. There is so much wasted talent and missed opportunities because schools and the government don’t find music important in students’ lives. SOUNDS Academy is different. It provides music to areas around Arizona that don’t have a music program. They foster a love for music in their students’ lives, and give second chances for new generations to find a passion for music. By giving lessons and reaching out to music-impoverished schools, SOUNDS Academy is opening new doors to new places, where music is the base and the support that encourages children to be creative and successful. To be passionate and to be a leader is what SOUNDS Academy provides to students. Their work is invaluable and encouraging to a youth that is losing their music. That’s why I believe SOUNDS Academy is an irreplaceable organization that I will support for the rest of my life, and that deserves support from the community.

-Any last words regarding music or yourself?

Music and food is a great combination.

“Music is good for the brain and lets people be a part of something.”