Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Band, orchestra bring back melodic memories

Seniors reflect on their journey through music

As the end of the year rolls in, it marks the end of seniors’ musical journey at HHS, making it a great time to observe how they have grown, music department lead and orchestra teacher John Burn said.

Music department lead and orchestra teacher John Burn said the class is a place where everybody feels like they belong. (Photo courtesy of Iris Li)

Looking back at her time at Homestead, drum major Madeleine Bakken said the music department has provided her with many opportunities to participate in a variety of musical ensembles and learn to play multiple instruments. 

“The experiences of practicing, rehearsing, playing in festivals, and competing have prepared me for studying music as a minor in college,” Bakken, a senior, said.

Joining the music department program has helped her become more comfortable interacting with a wide variety of people, a helpful skill to possess after high school, marimba player, senior Madeline Liaw said. 

“The biggest skill I’ve developed in the music department is people skills,” Liaw said. “A huge part of the music experience is the people that you meet and learn from along the way. Each person interacts with music in different ways, and sharing these experiences with others creates a more enriching environment for everyone.”

Bakken said a key moment in her musical journey was deciding to become a drum major and participating in workshops. Earning the drum major role after five months of dedicated preparation of audition allowed her to begin her leadership journey in the music department at HHS, Bakken said.

“I learned so much about how to conduct well, how timing works across a football field, how to project my motions and voice, and the beginnings of how to be a great leader,” Bakken said.

The music department strives to prepare seniors for future studies or careers in music, as students learn music from various genres and artists, Burn said. While the music in the wind ensemble and chamber orchestra can be challenging, seniors in the band team learn the importance of being responsible and showing leadership qualities, Burn said. 

“If you’re a strong player, you should help out your team and be somebody who helps others feel good about being there,” Burn said. “Being a nice and empathetic person is something we talk about and train our [band and orchestra] student leaders to be.”

Liaw said her advice to future students would be to listen to the positive feedback from former students and seniors about the program, but to also understand that their experience in the music program might differ from what they said.

“Incoming students will each have their unique experience based on what they put into the program and how much they’re willing to open themselves up to others,” Liaw said. “Homestead’s music department has a large, diverse community, and they should be open-minded and willing to embrace the warm welcome.”

Burn said it is up to seniors to apply their musical talents and knowledge beyond their time in the music department. 

“It will depend upon each student but my hope is that they all keep music a part of their life, even if they don’t choose music as a career,” Burn said. “[I hope] they will listen to music [and] go to concerts, [using] music as a way to have a fulfilling, balanced, enjoyable life.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Naaga Senthil
Naaga Senthil, Reporter
Naaga is a sophomore and she is looking forward to her first year as a member of The Epitaph. She loves to tell stories through writing and photography and she is very excited to have a place to share her work. Aside from The Epitaph, Naaga is part of the school badminton team and FBLA. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, listening to music and drinking boba.

Comments (0)

The Epitaph reserves the right to moderate comments on articles. Spam or obscene comments may be deleted without prior notice.
All The Epitaph Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *