Olivia Gonzalez stays true to herself through music

Originality, passion, determination, and staying true to yourself: these are what senior Olivia Gonzalez believes will keep her going in her music-centered future. At the age of five, Gonzalez began playing piano and now has broadened her abilities to include ukulele, cello and singing. Following in the footsteps of her father who plays piano, she was inspired to begin taking lessons.

Gonzalez grew up in a musical family and believes that had a major influence on her love for it now. Music has been a monumental part of her life ever since, and she is now involved in San Marin’s jazz choir, jazz band, string orchestra, musical and show choir.

“I find music to be such a release emotionally. It’s something that you can just share with everybody. It’s also just a way for you to show who you are creatively,” Gonzalez said.

Her first realization of wanting to pursue music in her future sparked in sixth grade. Now being a senior, she is applying to ten colleges, all with an interest of a music-related major, such as jazz studies or commercial music composition. She is considering taking on a business minor as well, but her plan is not yet set in stone. Gonzalez’s dream school is University of Southern California.

Gonzalez’s musical inspiration doesn’t only stem from her family’s support. Her music teachers have all played a tremendous role in developing who she is as a musician. According to San Marin’s music director, Alison McIvor, Gonzalez is always a pleasure to work with when it comes to every rehearsal.

“Olivia’s love of music and positive energy enhances every musical rehearsal she attends. Her strong work ethic comes through in her cello, piano, and vocal prowess,” McIvor said.

Outside of Gonzalez’s music packed schedule, she is a swim instructor and coach for kids. She also finds joy in drawing and sketching.

Gonzalez has taken numerous trips because of San Marin’s music department, Cuba being her absolute favorite over the summer of 2017. Gonzalez described it as unbelievable and an absolute dream.

“I really enjoyed being able to bond with everybody on the trip. Meeting kids that speak a different language, live in a different part of the world even, but still being able to relate with that passion and sharing that love of music with them was just phenomenal,” Gonzalez said.  

Along with bonding with kids just like her and creating strong connections, Gonzalez believes it is important for her to stay grounded and to push through all the challenges she encounters.

“Sometimes I second guess myself, and I have to realize that I’m doing my best. And because I’m doing what I enjoy, it kind of puts me up there with everyone else,” she said. “I always say that when I grow up I want to be myself. I’m not saying I’m going to be a professional musician or sell out stadiums, it’s not like that. I’m just going to continue being true to myself.”