It had been an enormous task learning how to speak the language of music. Without a teacher or guidance, I was left to explore the art myself. For hours a day, I would lock myself in my room and practice the piano. It was exhausting, but I loved getting better. Through those trials, I would not only discover a talent within myself, but a true love for the music I created.
Throughout my high school years is when my talent began to shine through as I would eventually begin to garner attention towards my playing a develop my name in the community. For the last four years, I had performed with SISD-affiliated big bands, in which I would take on soloist roles that would spotlight my playing in front of a live audience. In the last 3 years I had performed as the rhythm-section leader for the city-wide El Paso Youth Jazz Ensemble, which prides themselves on being the highest performing youth ensemble in the city. I then went on to develop a combo group with members consisting of Chantal Camus, Balam Sarellano, and myself. We would work together to create songs, gig, and perform with musicians such as the renowned saxophonist Alex Hahn. However, our biggest accomplishment had to be getting recognition from the incomparable Herbie Hancock.
From school bands to small groups that I managed, I would continue to push myself in both musical advancements and my ability to lead and problem solve. It was learning how to interact with different kinds of people through other avenues, different to speaking, it was communication through art. Now, my drummer and bassist go to one of the most renounced jazz programs in the world The New School, a fine arts program in New York. Making music in general is an instinct I know will live in me for the rest of my life. Seeing the potential in the smallest things and making something from nothing is why I will never stop. Working, discussion, arguing, collaborating to achieve a common goal is the only way to progress in life. I want to continue pursing my vision and working with people because I absolutely love it.
Left: Ricardo Castellano
Middle: Chantal Camus
Right: Balam Sarellano
Location: El Paso, TX