San Marin has a rather large amount of talented musicians who specialize in a variety of different instruments. Though they have to adapt to changes this semester, student musicians are still making and learning music in miscellaneous ways. Here’s a dive into some of their journeys and opinions in music.
Sage Kushner is a freshman involved in San Marin’s school choir and is also a part of her church’s band. Kushner got into music because her friend recommended joining choir when they were at Sinaloa Middle School and she has been singing for the past three years. She has also played piano for four years, taking inspiration from her grandmother.
Kushner grew up in a very musically-involved family; everyone sings, her dad and sister play the drums, her mom plays the bass, and her grandmother and sister play guitar. They are all big fans of Katie Herzig, an American singer-songwriter.
“She’s not super popular, but she’s so talented, we’ve been listening to her music in our house for a long time,” Kusher said.
She describes music as a security blanket.
“Music is such a good way for me to express my emotions because there’s a song for everything,” Kusher said.
Freshman Jack Venezia has played piano for six years. He focuses mainly on jazz and contemporary music, taking inspiration from Yiruma, a South-Korean contemporary pianist.
“I wanted to play songs I liked to listen to on the piano,” Venezia said when asked what sparked his interest in music. “I learned about other genres while learning the instrument.”
Venezia is in San Marin’s Jazz Band, but also has private piano lessons every week to improve his skills. His sister also plays piano, but focuses more on singing, while their brother plays the guitar. He does not have plans to learn any new instruments in the future, but he is not opposed to the idea of pursuing a music-related career.
Venezia’s favorite bands are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, and Avicii, two of which focus on rock music, and the other EDM.
“Sometimes it can just brighten my day when I play music,” Venezia said.
Sophomore Mandy Bell is a drummer taking part in Jazz Band, Rock Band, and Pit Orchestra, in addition to taking private lessons. She has been playing since she was four, but has been taking private lessons for seven and a half years. Bell has tried out other instruments but claims that none have stuck with her as well as the drums.
“Music means a lot to me, it’s been a constant in my life,” Bell said. “It’s provided me with a wonderful community, creative opportunities, and pushed me into other creative forms.”
Both of Bell’s siblings were very musically-involved from a young age, which influenced her a lot. Her siblings focused more on classical and jazz music, but Bell knew she wanted to make a splash and focuses more on indie, hip-hop, and alternative music.
Her other influences are Keith Moon, Frank Ocean, Lizzy McAlpine, and Mac Miller. Mac Miller being her favorite artist. Her favorite albums of his are Circles and Swimming.
“The way Miller managed to harness such beauty and lyrical simplicity really appeals to me.” Bell said.
Junior Owen Hansen has been playing the drums since he was ten, but has begun taking it seriously over the past three years. At San Marin he participates in Rock Band and Jazz Band and additionally, he plays with a personal band outside of school, composed of friends called “Pass the Sauce”. Hansen took interest in music when he moved to Novato,
“I didn’t know many people, so learning drums was both something I thought was cool and was able to take up some time,” Hansen said. Hansen describes music to be a big part of his life, being one of his biggest hobbies.
“I get the most joy out of it and I want it to always be a part of my life,” Hansen said.
His favorite genres are variations of rock, as well as funk and alternative, which are often what he plays on the drums. Hansen takes a lot of inspiration from his drum teacher who he has known for a very long time. He also gets some influence from Travis Barker, the drummer for Blink-182, which is in his list of top bands, next to The Front Bottoms and Early Eyes.
Devin Thompson is a senior who has been involved in San Marin’s music program since her freshman year. Right now, she is in Jazz Choir and Rock Band, but writes her own music outside of school. She has been playing the baritone uke for four years, and has been singing her entire life.
“Music is an outlet for me to express myself in ways I couldn’t explain without sounding crazy,” Thompson said. “If I’m writing a song, I have the room to sound dramatic. If I’m covering one, it’s comforting to hear someone else having the same thoughts I do.”
When songwriting, she takes inspiration from Phoebe Bridgers, an American indie rock musician.
“Every song I write has a piece of her in it,” Thompson said. Phoebe is one of her favorite artists, along with Elliot Smith, PJ Harvey, The Smiths, and Hozier. Her favorite genres are all sorts of rock music and indie singer/songwriter.