Spotlight on Mic,
Please tell us about yourself!
Hello there! I am an eighteen-year-old composer, pianist, and producer of the classical, jazz, and multi-cultural realms. I love music equally as much as my cozy-warm and electrifying home of Los Angeles – I am currently studying at Pasadena City College and will be starting my journey at USC next Fall to attain my Bachelors of Music in Composition. When I’m not writing music or weaving throughout LA with my family, I coach Youth Flag-Football in Burbank and chill out with my two pet chinchillas (mostly not at the same time).
How have you benefited from music? How has music changed your life?
Growing up, music has consistently been the singular, creative outlet alongside my academics, sports, and videogames. When I reached high school, one of my passions was to connect with my Mom’s Vietnamese culture and heritage. We traveled to Vietnam, visiting her home villages and organizing multiple benefit events for local under-resourced communities. Throughout our trip of constant interaction with locals, musicians, and artists, the strongest mutual language between us was the music we played. The immensely fun and fulfilling cultural exchange through music completely changed my life forever and formulated my purpose today: composing music for film, integrating cultures and genres from all over the world, and encouraging artists to similarly engage with our global community we live in today.
What inspired you to reach out to ETM-LA? Why did you decide to volunteer with us?
After my life- and career-changing experiences overseas, I realized how privileged I am to have grown up with access to music teachers, ensembles, organizations, and most impactfully, music education. Due to these resources, I now have great potential to achieve my dream of changing and reestablishing the global music standard. But I know there are entire communities throughout the world that have individuals with even more potential than myself, but lack the resources and opportunities to move forward in their journey.
When I discovered ETM-LA and what the organization has achieved in providing music education for under-resourced schools throughout LA, I whole-heartedly knew taking a part in their mission was the first big step in my contribution to those who have have interest in music as well as potentially spark interest in the large scope of the next generations, as music has done to me.
What have been the highlights of volunteering with ETM-LA so far? Are there any key experiences which stand out to you, or have had an impact on you?
With the support of ETM-LA, I co-organized/co-hosted a Garden Music Soirée benefit concert in the Summer of 2019 at the historic Rock House in Burbank, leading rehearsals of instrumentalists and vocalists – my generous friends from John Burroughs High School – to put on a concert that collectively raised approximately $2000 for ETM-LA. The entire process of the event was a landmark similar to Vietnam in my real-world leadership and volunteer experience – this time at home with an organization I intend to be a part of in the long run. Moreover, I would say my favorite moments with the organization have been participating in various, hands-on projects that have allowed me to build relationships with the wondrous, creative network of people within ETM-LA.
Why do you think in-school music education for all children is important?
My current desire and purpose to make impactful music – the first thought when I wake up every single morning and the last going to bed at night – is entirely due to music classes I have taken starting in the elementary school curriculum, as well as at home, that have initiated my passion. I am a strong believer that music education adheres and combines the fundamentals of teamwork, creativity, and perseverance which contributes to both academic achievement and creative stimulation that is imperative for young students of the future generations in our fast-changing world today. Sometimes, all an individual needs is a quality introduction to the unifying, widely-adored medium we know as music that may leave a permanent mark on one’s life.
I am looking forward to helping further the mission of Education Through Music-Los Angeles!