SOUNDS Academy student, Juan Rojas, shares his experiences learning the violin at a young age, being invited to the Phoenix Youth Symphony and using creativity to practice his instrument during COVID-19.
Q: Tell us about you and your musical journey: Who are you, what is your instrument (why did you choose it), and how long have you been in SOUNDS Academy?
I am 15 years old and have two siblings who are also in SOUNDS Academy. I play the violin and I chose that instrument because it seemed like a beautiful sound and I wanted to challenge myself to learn to play it. I began to play the violin in the 4th grade. At first it was just something I did, then in middle school it became a hobby and I loved it. In 8th grade, I found SOUNDS Academy. After a while, Mr. Kirk invited me to play in the collective. I then started to play in different groups and now I am in the Phoenix Youth Symphony.
Q: What do you like about being in SOUNDS Academy?
I like the opportunity they give us to learn music. I also like how they help other kids. They give us an opportunity to learn and grow by doing music. SOUNDS Academy has helped my entire family learn music. My little brother was introduced to the Clarinet and now he plays it nonstop at home. My little sister plays the Alto Saxophone. She was not very good when she first started, but now she practices at home every day and I have seen how much she has improved.
Q: What character value helps you the most during the lockdown of COVID?
The character value of creativity has helped me because I needed to learn other ways to practice my violin since we are remote now. My schedule at home during weekdays includes me doing my schoolwork, then I practice my violin for an hour in the evening. On the weekends, I will play longer than an hour because I have time and me and my siblings can play together. I also will help my sibling learn different notes for their instrument. Getting creative has allowed me to be a mentor to them.
Q: What have you been doing during COVID-19?
Now that I am in the Phoenix Youth Symphony, I am very busy learning more new music. My favorite part of the Symphony is learning and playing the new music they give to us, which is very advanced. I feel really good about myself being chosen to the Phoenix Youth Symphony, it has given me a lot of confidence. I have come a long way from just improving my violin playing and learning techniques. Back when I started SOUNDS Academy, I was still learning scales, now participating in the Phoenix Youth Symphony, I am very proud of myself being able to practice on my own and reading advanced notes.
Q: Tell us something about you that you want the whole wide world to know? This can be about anything and everything.
Since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a commercial pilot, but then I heard about the Air Force and changed my mind to become an Air Force Pilot when I am older. I choose the Air Force because I like to travel and I have heard that they pay for your education. I learned about the Air Force from a friend whose dad is in the Air Force. I did some investigation and I talked more with my friend who shared all the good things about the Air Force that his dad talked about. Since that time, I have wanted to join the Air Force. When I am in the Air Force I would like to travel to Japan, France and Italy.