📝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 April is Audrey Guo!
If you’re involved in the arts in any way at SJAM—be it music, drama, or the sorts—you’ve probably heard about Grade 11 superstar Audrey Guo. Not only is she a model SJAM student, she has an undeniable talent and passion for the arts, and her commitments to SJAM Music are nothing short of proof for this.
Coming into SJAM for the first time, Audrey wanted to put 100% effort into her extracurriculars; in her own words,
“If I’m getting involved, I want to get as involved as possible.”
Eventually, she settled with SJAM Music as her prime involvement, as she already had memorable experiences with playing instruments such as the piano and strings. However, there was more to her motive for joining SJAM Music; the community had a great sense of family and comfort to her, and sitting in a band alongside passionate musicians like her was a dream come true. It became more and more clear as time went on that SJAM Music (especially the bus rides : ) ) had a special place in Audrey’s heart.
As for instruments, Audrey played the viola while in middle school, but her most proficient instrument is the piano. She picked up a few other instruments as she entered high school, such as the trumpet and guitar, and she’s also incredibly talented with vocals. Audrey is not one to shy away from uncommon instruments, learning the Guzheng (Google it if you don’t know what it is) through private lessons and with her mom.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Audrey was involved with various instrumental ensembles, such as Junior Band, Junior Jazz, Intermediate Jazz, Senior Band (which she joined the week before lockdown began : ( ), and a small Christmas caroling ensemble. She also put her talented vocal skills to good use through Jazz Choir and Highlander Chorus. Last but not least, Audrey has performed several times in SJAM’s Coffeehouse, and currently she is part of SJAM’s Music Council, managing SJAM Music’s social media accounts and organizing Music Monday (which is coming up soon : ) ).
Audrey finds ensemble music at SJAM to be so enthralling as it gave her invaluable life lessons. She finds that the inherent part of music ensembles is being able to play as a group and listen to others around you, as well as realizing that you may not be the “main character” of the piece all the time or even at all. She finds that the concepts and lessons you learn in music greatly applies to the real world, especially the aspect of collaborating with people in real-time. Outside of ensemble music, Audrey finds indulging in music in her spare time to be “therapeutic.” In other words, it’s an excellent way to relieve stress.
As mentioned earlier, Audrey is renowned for her involvements in the “arts,” not simply just music. At school, she’s very active with SJAM Drama and Leadership, organizing and spearheading several of the school’s events and plays. Outside of school, Audrey is incredibly passionate about LGBT issues, doing philanthropy work with organizations like SVP Teens. In her spare time, she loves indulging in Dungeons & Dragons and other similar games, along with creative writing and graphic design. Overall, this barely leaves a dent in Audrey’s enormous list of interests and extracurriculars!
To beginner musicians, Audrey gives the obvious advice of
“practice makes perfect.”
However, an issue that she notices in the realm of music is that
“we get so wrapped up in our musical endeavours that we stop focusing on music outside of ourselves.”
To Audrey, there’s more to music than simply practicing pieces for performances. She urges others to
“take the time when you’re feeling burned out to stop and find those pieces that make you love music.”
Finding that personal aspect of music will ensure that your passion for the subject gets reignited.
Audrey Guo has undoubtedly made one heck of a spotlight within SJAM Music and SJAM as a whole. We hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will dissipate as you enter your final year at SJAM and that you’ll continue to shine as a superstar role model for others!
Thank you Audrey for answering our interview questions, and stay tuned for next month’s Musician of the Month blog : )