📝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 May is Tahir Nasir!
Grade 12 student Tahir Nasir only started his musical pursuits in Grade 9, but ever since then he has become a secret legend within the SJAM Music community. From learning the trombone in his Grade 9 Music class to joining a plethora of SJAM Music ensembles and picking up more instruments later on, Tahir already has accomplished so much with his musical career within a short span of time.
As mentioned, Tahir’s first exposure to musical performance was in Grade 9 Music. Initially, he only planned to take music simply for completing his art credit for his course requirements, but boy oh boy was it actually a major turning point in his life! He enjoyed his classes so much that he wanted to continue music for all of his remaining years in high school, and he even went to the guidance office one day to request a course change into Grade 10 Music (smh for not selecting it in the first place)! From that point on, his involvement within SJAM Music was about to explode.
In Grade 10, Tahir started out with SJAM’s Junior Band, Junior Jazz, Intermediate Jazz, and Drumline ensembles, and he even started learning the cello in the later half of the year through private lessons so that he could join SJAM’s String Ensemble (which was founded that year actually : O ) the following year. Along with String Ensemble, Tahir was part of SJAM’s Senior Band, Intermediate and Senior Jazz, Drumline, and Music Council in Grade 11. The same year, a new ensemble named after him—Tahir’s Peers—emerged; the group played various pieces, ranging from jazz to even “weeb” (anime) music! Although SJAM Music opportunities took a serious hit this year due to COVID-19, Tahir continues to be part of the community in his final high-school year through Music Council and Coffeehouse + Spring Concert performances (not a shameless plug, but please go listen to Tahir’s banger bass playing : ) ).
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tahir’s go-to instrument within SJAM Music was the trombone, which he started learning and playing in Grade 9 Music. As mentioned earlier, he also picked up the cello, taking lessons from Grade 10 all the way until quarantine. Currently however, Tahir finds solace with his new primary instrument, the bass guitar, which he started learning in the middle of the pandemic (June 2020); what piqued his interest in the first place were famous guitarist Victor Wooten’s skillful performances. Being amazed by Wooten’s playing, Tahir would begin practicing the bass daily—only 5 to 10 minutes a day—and he finds this practicing schedule very effective; in his own words,
“Practicing daily, even 5 to 10 minutes a day, makes a huge difference.”
Tahir truly appreciates the subject of music, saying that it is
“easily the biggest positive impact in [his] high-school life.”
Through music, he has been able to make countless new friends, indulge in exciting hobbies, and—most importantly—become part of a welcoming, amazing community of musicians who are passionate about their craft.
Outside of performing music, Tahir likes to listen to other songs online and watch music related content like YouTube channels such as Adam Neely or 12tone. But similar to the majority of other SJAM Music students, Tahir has several other non-music-related hobbies and interests. As a true gamer, he likes to play video games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and he even runs SJAM’s video game club! As a true weeb, he loves to watch anime in his spare time; if you’re a weeb out there, he recommends that you watch Monster! As for interests, Tahir is keen on exploring the fields of biology, medicine, and health sciences as he is pursuing the Medical Sciences program at Western University for his postsecondary destination (congrats)! He plans to go into med-school in the future, but he also has backup plans like going into physiotherapy or becoming a professor or even a high-school biology teacher. At the moment though, he really looks forward to the various healthcare-related opportunities that lie ahead!
Tahir has lots of amazing advice to give to beginner musicians. Firstly, he recommends that they
“find two kinds of music: music that makes you love music, and music that makes you want to practice it.”
As a personal example, Tahir finds that Victor Wooten’s music fits perfectly into both categories; he incredibly enjoys listening to it, and he often practices Wooten’s pieces during his own practice sessions. As for practicing, Tahir advises beginners to
“set a goal for (at least) 5 minutes a day.”
This might seem odd to some people, but Tahir finds this method to work best for him; he says that practicing in small increments regularly is more effective than practicing for extended periods of time but only occasionally. In other words, practice smart, not hard! Finally, Tahir also explains that one should
“get invested in their instrument,”
and the best way to do so is to
“find the great performers of your instrument, watch them play, and get inspired.”
For instance, if you want to get good at playing classical pieces on the piano, listen to the works of Mozart, Beethoven, and the likes, and try to put yourself in their shoes!
In short, Tahir Nasir undoubtedly has an extensive background and passion for music. He has countless SJAM Music involvements and amazing instrumental proficiency to boot, but having only begun his exposure to musical performance in Grade 9 makes these aspects stand out even more!
Thank you Tahir for answering our interview questions, and we wish you all the best with your future musical and postsecondary pursuits! Stay tuned for next month’s Musician of the Month blog! (which will unfortunately be the final one for this school year 😭)