Music time with Juan

Initially, my research was directed to educators or musicians at a higher level that really understand the concepts of copyrights, grants, income and the other logistics of performing full time. However, I wanted to redirect my concepts in a way that is comprehensible, lively and fun to a more general audience in mind.  Therefore, I shifted from an audience of accomplished musicians to musicians in high school that are getting started, but this google site is not restricted to musicians. The main reason I choose a google site as my genre and my way of portraying my ideas and take on things on the music world is that accessibility and venerability that the google site has. Using the google site interfaced allowed me to focus more on presenting ideas rather than fighting the system trying to get things right. I was able to put links, add texts, insert YouTube videos and personalize my page to the extent that I wanted. The text from my research paper had a massive reformation in order to be presented in a way that would allow for anyone to grasp the concepts. instead of using music terms and going into great detail on the topics discussed, I gave real examples directly from media and I also worded it in a way that my little sister could understand ( I knew that if she could get it, anyone can). Finally, when I was making the google site, I wanted to structure it in a way to allow for the potential for the site to really be personalized and used outide of the research paper.


Over the summer, I attended the National Student Leadership Council at American University (NSLC) as an engineering major. While I was there, one of the mentors there, Robert Pruitt, took a different approach to projecting his message to us. I looked forward to every lesson because he would play music, make everyone move around, and make us do activities that made us see the connection from the lesson. However, one of the things he said lingered in the back of my mind once school started. He said ” mirrors reflect everything that is projected to it, allowing us to see what we normally cant. now, what happens if you take this idea to real life?” At first, my team and I were completely confused and tried to dissect what he meant. I thought about it on the drive home, and I was frustrated that I did not ask him what it meant.  It just couldn’t get out of my head so I thought about it, like a puzzle with a missing piece. One day, I woke up and did my regular routine to get ready for school, as I was brushing my teeth I looked into the mirror and thought about what he said. I thought ” maybe he meant that the world reflects our character back at us but we don’t even take a second to think about it.” If your hair is a mess or you notice something on your face, try to fix it or maybe let it slide, the same thing can be thought about life. If something is wrong, whether it is a project or responsibility that really burdens you or maybe an argument with your friend, the logical action is to try and fix the problem and make things work.  but I also thought ” or maybe how you view things or how things view you reflect in your character” However, I’m still thinking about what he meant and I think he wanted it that way.


This year, I joined the Heritage jazz band. joining this class required me to do a critical response based on various questions by the end of each quarter. All of the prompts involve music, whether its listening to a concert, learning about professions or even conceptional questions. However, one of the prompts really caught my attention and made me think: the prompt was “Show/describe/evaluate the way music influences our everyday life.” after some thought, I really noticed the world around me and how everyone had headphones. being a musician, I’ve absorbed music all my life with styles and harmonies that always bring the best out of me. It was only natural that music would be a big part and that I could not be the same without it. with this new found curiosity of the importance of music, I started to really search for all the places that music was present. My first step was looking on social media, channels such as Rob Scallon, Andrew Huang and Adam Neely flooded my feed with music, but as I scrolled, I found some of my friends posting guitar or music from their band online. as I scrolled, there was a post that said “I forgot my ear buds at home, its gonna be a bad day.” and that really caught me. That was when i realized that music is a great way to make yourself feel better after any situation and it is crucial to some people to have music. Music is very universal and such a good thing that can bring people together. Its a form of art that is so accessible and there is such a variety of music that someone can find something they like.


After completing some college application material and working on homework, I found myself having some time to play games to ease my stress. as I signed on, I played one of my favorite games of all time: SMITE,  battleground of the gods. As the name entails, It is a game based on mythologies around the world such as : Greek, Roman, Hinduism, Shinto, Mayan, and chinese. However, one of the pantheons has always held my attention: the Greek pantheon. Within the Greek pantheon, there is the god Chiron who represents medicine, wisdom and his archery skills. In his lore, he was shot by a poisonous arrow by heracles, so Prometheus turned him onto a constellation that watches over people and guides them with this stars. This idea is reflected in game by his skill set, and the best part is that he turns into a constellation for his ultimate ability. While that is cool, he talks during the game and says something that intrigued me one day. he said ” Aim for the moon, if you miss you’ll land among the stars. ” As a kid, I took this with the grain of salt until my high school years when I decided to really try to do everything.

With this time to reflect, this quote meant more to me as I thought about it in the back of my mind. I started to question myself “Am I really putting my best foot forward? Could I do more? Is it too much? Is what I’m doing leading to a better tomorrow? Am I happy where I am or should I take a step back?” These questions filled my mind like smoke in a burning building, making things cloudy and grim. However; the more nights spent thinking about these questions lead me to a reassurance that I am happy where I am. These questions forced me to “stop and smell the flowers” of life and start appreciating where I am now. My family, my Friends, my teachers and community all being a part of who I am and forging the person I am today.

As I sit here playing Smite, my conception of time fades as a half an hour turns into two hours of pure gameplay. Playing my favorite character in my favorite game while sitting on my chair talking to my friends is a moment so pure and joyful that brings a tsunami of nostalgia. Before I knew it, bright letters said “VICTORY” across the screen brought the game to an end. With this call back to reality, It was time to aim for the moon and conquer my next dream.


as a child, one of my favorite toys were Legos. Legos are one of the most simple toys but can create things so complex. There were always two sides of legos for me: building with directions and building by myself. Getting a box of the self, rushing my parents to get home, and using a plastic knife to open the box to unleash the cardboard scent that still is reminiscent today. There was always that one piece left over because I did not read directions careful but that was the fun in it. And making that car, plane or building was such an accomplishment that I was so excited for, but my favorite part was destroying it.  However, building without directions was something I loved to and still do to this day. Building without regulations was such a fun thing because I could use the bricks I had to make something more. Of the builds that was engraved in my head was a tower I built that was taller than me; it was such a great accomplishment. It was typical to see that my builds were better without direction.

I was always one who did not like directions. I would always try to do things my way rather than follow in a shadow of something bigger than me, but It came with trouble. I was always told to hold your tongue and follow the rules like a good kid, but I never listened. Yes rules are important to keep order, but with order came chaos., and with chaos, bred creativity. Making my own projects, my own rules, my own music, putting myself into everything I did. I used the rules as a template rather than box that I could not escape from. However, as I got older, the maturity within me told me to tone it down a bit. Now I focus my devious nature into creating music and projects that have a whimsical or interesting concept to make the audience think about it.

so, is it better to follow directions closely or to make a great tower? To build with or without guidance ?  have a input or just read and follow? To take a chance and hope things go as you envisioned? Just some things I thought about while building this car on my desk.

The Performance

It is interesting how most disciplines play into each other even though they seem to completely different. It is important that people understand that many things in life are intertwined and can derive from each other. For example, math and science are ‘close friends’ because you use math to find the answers to many science problems and use science to discover new ways to explain phenomenons with math and logic. Furthermore, English is not only linked to foreign languages, but it is closely intertwined with the fine arts. The fine arts focus on using the ideas and tools that the artist knows to express themselves with others: writing can serve the same purpose. However, does this mean that some of the diverse experiences gained by learning  are shared between disciplines?

allow us to indulge ourselves in the fine arts first. The Heritage High School music department has flourished with a diverse community of artists, actors and musicians. every branch of artists , especially at a higher level, may share some experiences whether its music, theater, art or sculpting. using a personal experience,  some artists will understand the stress and dedication put into a performance. Its the night of a performance, my friend says “are you sure that you’re ready for this?” standing in front of mirror, I reflected, debating if I was good enough. “am I good enough for my friends, my parents, and my teacher? what if I mess up hard? ” these questions acted as an anvil to my confidence. the silence was broken once my teacher entered the room, “they’re ready for you.” with the boost of confidence my friend provided, I clutched my guitar and music and headed on stage. The blinding lights, the applause, and the familiar faces reminded me why I spent my last few months dissecting my solo. as I stumbled through the blinding lights to my seat, I took a second to breath. I used this moment to recall every articulation, every melody note, every dynamic change, and all the emotion I fused into my solo in order to make this the best performance ever. I introduced my piece, Caprichio Arabe by Francisco Tarrega, and played the first note. The grand opening of the piece locked me in,a bond between the piece and my artistic values was created making inseparable bond. Before I knew it, the piece was over and a silence crept among the audience followed by a roar of applause. afterwards, my teacher said “I could tell you were nervous, and that is a good thing because that means you care.” I brewed on that idea in my head, and I can see that he was right.

Preparing something for a presentation, something you really care about, can really affect the creator in a great way. although my experiences mostly reside in music and math, I’m sure that these lessons and experiences ring true in other disciplines. Whether its presenting a piece you’ve written, making music, making a catapult or even making a project for one of your favorite classes, we can share the stress and dedication put into our work. In the end, things may be more similar than people think.

The seed

It’s amazing what you can find on walks through the neighborhood. While venturing out on a normal afternoon to grab dinner, and I discovered an object that seems to be a peach pit. The ‘peach pit’ is rather rough and holds a rather irregular shape. While rough and pointy, there is the chance that you can develop into a beautiful tree. If you ask me, peaches all start as seeds; However, how you get to becoming a tree is circumstantial. You need water and sunlight and care in order to survive, but maybe you may experience obstacles that impede you from blossoming. 


You my friend, are quite deceiving. You’re pointy with rough edges that gave me a scratch in class. You are also rather small in comparison to the other objects brought in class today. I find it quite interesting that you contrast a lot compared to the peach you came from. First of all, you are rather rough compared to the soft, silky feel of a peach. Second of all, If I were to guess, you are quite bitter compared to the sickly sweet inside of a peach. And finally, you are not edible: moreover, I cannot imagine anyone who will outright eat peach pits (no offence).


However, you remind me of simpler times in life. The simple things in nature, the breeze, the light rain on a sunday morning or even the garden in my backyard. In a sense, you remind me of one of the simple lessons taught in elementary school: you can never judge a book by its cover. I think that this truth rings in many walks of life. One of my favorite old TV shows that my parents let me watch was the Addams family. Herman munster said “ it doesn’t matter what you look like … what matters is the size of your heart and the strength of your character.” and I remember hearing that and my dad said “you know he’s not wrong.” 


Yes, you are weird and rough around the edges now, you beautiful peach pit. Although I do not know where you came from, I believe that you can blossom into a big tree and produce pretty sweet peaches