Musician of the Month – February

📝By Eric Xiao

Musician of the Month is a series of SJAM Music blogs that highlights the accomplishments and experiences of one outstanding SJAM Music student each month. The Musician of the Month for February is Aaron Ye!

Grade 10 SJAM student Aaron Ye is one heck of a music prodigy. Although Aaron hasn’t gotten much of a chance to show off their prowess within SJAM Music due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their name is already becoming well-known among the community, and their fame will only continue to rise since.

The main reason why Aaron was so intent on getting involved with SJAM Music was because of their amazing community. Aaron has already made fond musical memories with last year’s SJAM Music Council Retreat. They found the other students and teachers very welcoming and sociable, and overall they had an incredibly fun experience there. As a more minor reason for joining SJAM Music, Aaron also found music as a way to relieve themselves of boredom during nutrition breaks before the pandemic, especially on Mondays.

Aaron’s most proficient instrument is the piano, which comes off as no surprise as they have been playing it for 10 years and is currently practicing for their Kiwanis performances in the spring and ARCT exam next summer. Aaron also has decent proficiency with the violin, having practiced it for 4 years, as well as the trumpet, their go-to instrument for SJAM’s Grade 9 Music class and ensembles. Not only is Aaron already proficient in several instruments, they really enjoy tinkering around with other instruments for fun. For instance, Aaron has recently picked up the saxophone and French horn and enjoys “messing around” with them in their spare time. Aaron also owns a couple of small side instruments, such as the Chinese flute, guitar, and drums, which they play very occasionally.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Aaron hasn’t been able to participate in many musical ensembles in and outside of SJAM. They were part of SJAM’s Junior Band prior to the pandemic, and outside of school, they sometimes play music with others in online voice chats. Aaron is currently a member of SJAM’s Music Council, being part of their social media and Spring Concert committees, but unfortunately that’s about as far as their music ensemble/group involvements go :(. Let’s hope that the virus goes away soon and that Aaron gets to relive the SJAM Music dream in the future!

Aaron’s enjoyment and passion for music shows no boundaries. Although Aaron finds it tedious sometimes to practice music for long periods of time, they much prefer “messing around” with notes to make excellent sounds.

“Being creative, improvising, that’s what I like to do as a musician,” Aaron says.

Aaron also finds music as a very potent tool/skill to have. Music allows them to enjoy some quality time with themselves and participate in activities outside of their busy schedule at school or work. Aaron also knows that a lot of people respect music, which allows Aaron to easily get along with others. But most importantly, Aaron finds music to be extremely useful to help them understand and laugh at the exquisite music memes one can search for on the Internet ;).

Outside the subject of music, Aaron thrives as “a gamer,” albeit not a “hardcore” one, enjoying games such as Super Smash Bros. and Genshin Impact. They also like to watch gameplays of video games that they don’t own, some of the more prominent ones being from the Persona, Fire Emblem, and Devil May Cry series. Aaron has also been playing hockey for 8 years, currently playing at the competitive AA level. They find it a very unique experience, being an “anomaly among the general demographic” as Aaron describes it, demonstrating their true dedication to the sport. Aaron’s favourite subjects other than music include psychology and game design, in which they have done a couple of small side projects.

Surprisingly, Aaron’s history teacher provided a profound tip that Aaron wants to pass on to beginner musicians:

“Sometimes the best musicians are the laziest ones.”

Aaron explains that a musician should look for the most efficient methods to perform music; as an example, one should look for ways to rapidly change their fingerings when playing an instrument with lots of keys like a saxophone. Furthermore, Aaron has always been a fan of improvisation, stating that

“sometimes the best way to play music is to mess around.”

Aaron explains that being able to improvise from a single note and onwards can really bring a musician’s creativity to a whole new level. Aaron believes that improvising can keep one occupied for a very long time (up to one or even several hours), and that the more one plays, the more ideas one can spark out of their mind.

Even at such a young age, Aaron Ye’s music career has already been off to an amazing start! We hope that the COVID-19 pandemic vanishes soon, so that Aaron can really become involved in SJAM Music and demonstrate what their musical abilities are truly capable of for years to come!

Thank you Aaron for answering our interview questions, and stay tuned for next month’s Musician of the Month blog 🙂

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