For this musician, saxophone is just the start
In hopes of getting some tips for becoming an amazing musician like Toria, I asked her how she developed her talent in music. The big secret behind it all, as it often is with successful, famous people, is simply passion. Since she was young, Toria spent a lot of time at her grandparents’ house where there was a piano that she habitually enjoyed playing. Completely mesmerized by this musical instrument since she was little, she says of the piano, “It must’ve been magnetic because the only time my grandmother could pull me away from it was when lunch was ready.”
When offered the opportunity to play the violin when she entered first grade, Toria immediately agreed with an enthusiastic “yes!” Although she did not find violin as interesting as the piano and went back to playing the piano in second grade, her passion for music never diminished. In fourth grade, she finally met the love of her life, the saxophone.
“When the teachers gather all the fourth graders in the cafeteria and told them to choose a band instrument after listening to samples, I picked the saxophone … It was shiny and gold, and had a really cool shape--so much cooler than a trumpet! All my friends picked the flute and the clarinet (classifiably girly instruments) but because of a drive to be different, I picked the saxophone. That’s when it all started.” Since then, the saxophone has been one of her favorite instruments. Although she struggled with my question about her favorite instrument, which to her seemed like the clichéd and cruel question “whom do you like better, your mom or your dad?”, Toria explained that she tends to label herself “as a sax and fife player.”
Her musical journey moved on to another levels with her introduction to other musical instruments. She explained her introduction and extensive learning of more than four instruments as if it were not that big of a deal. The vast range of instruments and her true interest in the woodwinds, incited by her love for saxophone, is clearly conveyed by her participation in many musical groups both on and off campus. “I joined the Windsor Fife and Drum Corps in fifth grade, picked up a $15 used electric guitar at a flea market a bit later, played some clarinet somewhere in between, began the oboe sophomore year when the concert band was lacking in oboes, and started the flute this year,” saids Toria. Much to my surprise, Toria revealed that she “never had any formal music lesson” until her junior year.
Describing the extent of her passion for Music, Toria said, “More than anything else (except for ice cream).” Being a Loomis student, which of course entails getting lot of homework and academic expectations, Toria explained that music means a lot because it allows her to relax. She said, “Music makes me less stressed between classes and homework assignments. Like some people feel great after working out, I feel the same way about music.” It is this positive attitude towards music that leads her to define her art as something more than “work.” She explained, “Though I do have homework for some of my music classes, I think of it more as something I can do to improve my playing and my understanding of the musical concepts. I like the feeling of nailing a line and knowing I’ve now improved just a little bit. Most of all, Music is simply fun, and I don’t have a lot of time to have fun, so whenever I get the opportunity to play music, whatever it is, I take it not only for the fun, but also for the experience. The only way to learn is through experience. It makes me feel really good when I can see myself improving on a piece. The end product is rewarding when I look back and see all the work that I’ve put into one piece.”
A true aficionado of music, Toria plans to play in a lot of different music groups in college. Whether it is a big marching band, a classical orchestra, or a small casual band, she hopes to continue her passion in music in the most diverse ways possible. In her interview, Toria jokingly said she “plans to take over” her college’s music department. Her big dream of playing in a New York City jazz club or in Broadway pit orchestras does not seem out of reach for the feature-worthy LC musician, Toria Sky.