Featured Student: Mr. Muñoz
-Tell us about your musical journey.
I attended an elementary school in California. While in the 4th grade, I saw a bunch of kids from a high school playing all kinds of instruments. I thought that the string instruments sounded better then the horns so I signed up to start playing violin in the 5th grade. I was really inspired by a student in my school and found out that she had a private teacher. I wasn’t able to get one at the time and then we moved to Phoenix. In Phoenix, I kept playing and still wanted to take lessons. One day Mr. Kirk came to my school to talk about SOUNDS Academy. I was more than excited for the chance to finally get lessons. I told my dad about it right away and my brother and I signed up. I have been in SOUNDS Academy ever since and getting better. I even got to play in the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra last year.
-Why do you like playing music?
I like the end product that you get after practicing. It’s a great feeling to see your finished product. I enjoy performing in front of people. I get a rush out of it! Music also allows me to express myself in an artistic way. It’s a cool thing to be able to play an instrument. Not everyone can play and I like to impress people with my playing. Most people look at me and assume that I can’t play. I like “wowing” people and showing them that I really can do this. It is not something that a lot of kids at my school can play. It sets me a part from the other kids in my school.
-What is something that not many people know about you?
I practice Hinduism and am a vegetarian because of that.
-What performance skills help you in the classroom?
I used to get really nervous performing in front of people. As I get more and more chances to play, I get less scared. This has helped me in school when it comes to giving reports and presentations. I am way more comfortable than I used to be. I am also more comfortable talking to people in general.
-Why is music education important for children?
It helps them to find new things that they can do. It shows them the endless possibilities in life. Music brings all sorts of people together. Embracing the differences of people is an important lesson that music teaches you, especially when you’re playing in groups. Maybe if all people played music, we would do a better job at accepting our differences in this world. Music is also a great way to learn how to be creative and step outside of the box once in a while.
-What have you done since being in SOUNDS Academy?
I have become a better violin player. I have made new friends. I have played concertos, which is something that I never saw myself doing. Playing so much music has also improved my memory since our teachers make us memorize our solo pieces. I have had the chance to perform in places like the Mesa Arts Center and the Orpheum Theatre. SOUNDS Academy helped to make music a pretty big thing in my life.
-Why are programs like SOUNDS Academy important?
They introduce kids to new things. If kids have any interest in playing, SOUNDS Academy nurtures that interest. If cost is an issue, SOUNDS Academy helps to alleviate that. Meeting important musical people and performing in these spaces really allows you to elevate the perception of yourself. SOUNDS Academy teaches music, but you leave feeling like you’re important and you can do anything. It makes you learn how to go above and beyond.
-What song are you looking forward to performing on the 9th?
I’m looking forward to doing my solo. I will be performing the 3rd movement of the Seitz violin Concerto No. 2. I have been practicing it quite a bit and I look forward to people seeing how far I have come. I like showcasing my talents and I hope that the audience can see the hard work that I have put into this. I also look forward to playing with my brother Jean since we sound pretty good together.
-Between the characteristics of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork; which speaks the most about your journey so far?
Teamwork. I have had to collaborate with many other musicians. I have taken their opinions and combined it with mine to make the music sound as best as we can. Learning how to work with people in quartets, duets, and orchestras has helped me to work with people in general.
-When you’re not playing music, what do you like doing in your spare time?
I like to spend time with my friends, my brother, and my family. I enjoy going to church, watching movies, and playing video games with them. I enjoy playing basketball, swimming, and relaxing. I like doing things with other people in general.
Maybe if all people played music, we would do a better job at accepting our differences in this world.