Students Explore Artistic Passions During the Summer

Emily Shi, Staff Writer

This summer, Jacob Shaw (9) delved deeper into one aspect of his musical identity by studying drumming at the Stanford Jazz Workshop.

Originally, Shaw planned to attend a program for songwriting and producing, but he chose to study drums instead to focus in on something different. “I come from a very diverse background of genres so it was really cool to work on one really intensely,” he said.   

Shaw submitted videos of him playing different tracks by himself, and was placed into a group of musicians at a similar level.

Before the program, Shaw could not imagine being so devoted to jazz drumming. He has now realized that there are two potential paths that his musical career can continue on: producing music or jazz drumming.

“I had no idea this would happen, but the Stanford Jazz Workshop opened up the possibility for me to focus on becoming a devoted jazz drummer, and I’ve learned that it’s great to consider and embrace change in my musical career,” Shaw said.

Ragan Henderson (12) attended The School of Cinematic Arts Program at the University of Southern California (USC) and worked on a movie set in order to surround herself with fellow artists in the film industry.

Henderson spent six weeks at USC taking classes and shooting. She had known about the program since last year, and decided to apply this summer. After submitting a screenplay, recommendation letters, and a personal statement, she was accepted into the program.

She then contacted a film graduate student, landing the opportunity to be a personal assistant on their set for three days.

Overall, Henderson enjoyed working with people in an industry that she wants to be a part of. Although she did learn technique involving the cinematic arts, the special part of her experience stemmed from meeting new people and learning how to interact with artists in a professional setting – an essential skill needed in the film industry, she said.

“It’s comfortable being surrounded by other people who have creative minds that are involved in the industry I want to be a part of,” she said.

Adrian Rogers (12) experienced life as a professional violinist while exploring the world on the National Youth Orchestra (NYO) tour.

He spent the first half of the five week program living and rehearsing at SUNY Purchase, and the second half performing abroad in Asia.

“Ever since NYO began, its popularity has skyrocketed,” Rogers said. Other members of his youth orchestra who had completed the program before encouraged him to apply for an opportunity to explore his deepest passion— music.

NYO is the only program that Rogers knows of that allows students to play as a musician on tour. Prior to this summer, Rogers had never experienced traveling in an orchestra with such a rigorous and professional schedule. “NYO really gives [young musicians] the opportunity to discover what it means to be a musician in the modern world. That’s different from any other program,” he said.