Spotlight on Sahil,
Composer & ETM-LA Volunteer
“my early development years learning music has influenced my growth in so many areas in life, including academics, social interactions, and coping with real life problems… i’ll always be grateful for that.”
Please tell us about yourself!
I am a composer originally from New Jersey who moved to Boston for college, before ultimately deciding to move to Los Angeles, where I now reside. I didn’t necessarily grow up in a musical family, but was exposed to music and film at a young age and immediately fell in love with the film scores of composers such as John Williams, Michael Giacchino, and Hans Zimmer. Some of my favorite scores (and movies) include the whole Harry Potter series, LOST, and The Lion King.
Outside of composing and playing music, I’m a huge fan of sports, particularly basketball, and even play in my free time when I’m able. Having gone to school in Boston, I am a big supporter of the Boston Celtics!
How have you benefited from music? How has music changed your life?
Even before music became my career, it has always played a huge role in my life. I first got involved with music when I was in my elementary school band program and learned quickly that simply being involved in the music program gave me a sense of achievement that ultimately helped me deal with my own anxieties and social struggles. Learning music certainly isn’t always easy, but having the opportunity to do so in a safe environment taught me how to deal with facing challenges while also allowing me to be a part of a community. Regardless of where my career ended up going, my early development years learning music has influenced my growth in so many areas in life, including academics, social interactions, and coping with real life problems, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
What led you to wanting to become a composer? How has music technology supported your musical creativity?
I’ve always been a fan of storytelling, whether it be in movies, podcasts, or music. I started learning to play the saxophone at a young age through my elementary school band program and those lessons made me become curious about the whole world of music and how I could use music to tell my own stories. When I first started composing music, I didn’t necessarily know what I was doing, but I absolutely loved being able to experiment and play with notes until I found the combination of notes and rhythms that captured the emotions and stories in my head. As time progressed, I learned more about composing and I loved the creativity and curiosity that developed from it.
Music technology has played a huge part in my musical creativity, as it gave me another outlet to bring my music to life. Music technology gave me the chance to take the musical ideas in my head and share them with others. It also gave me the chance to experiment with creating different sounds I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Some of my best music is often composed after spending hours learning and experimenting with music technology, and that really excites me.
How did you become involved with volunteering with ETM-LA? Why did you decide to volunteer with us?
I learned about ETM-LA while attending a silent film concert at film composer Nathan Barr’s studio with works composed by some of my favorite film composers. ETM-LA was fundraising at that event and I introduced myself to [Executive Director] Victoria and talked with her about the organization. A lot of what she had described to me reminded me about the best parts of my career and education that I feel so grateful for: to have had a strong music education program, with educators and mentors who valued my passion towards music and helped me strive towards my personal and professional goals. Upon learning that there was a way where I could help make this same path someone else’s reality, I didn’t hesitate to get involved.
The best part about volunteering is that I’ve learned that there are so many ways to be involved with the community, outside of just the classroom. I think it took a great vision and courage from Victoria and her team to build this organization and I just feel lucky that they can continue to find ways for me to stay involved with an organization with such a great purpose.
Why do you think in-school music education for all children is important? Why is learning music technology beneficial for students?
Music helps the emotional growth of children regardless of what they may end up pursuing later in life. With that being said, I think it’s incredibly important for children to have that opportunity to experience that growth and be a part of a safe community as they learn about their own creativity within the space of music. Having music technology as a part of that curriculum would be fantastic as music technology aids so much in the creativity aspect of music. I was lucky enough to begin working with music technology as a part of my high school music curriculum and cannot even begin to speak to how much that added to my growth and curiosity towards the field of music as a whole.