Tackling two instruments

Kennedy Williams, WTV Staff Reporter

Any member of the band or orchestra knows how time consuming it is to improve on one instrument, but for freshman Julia Johnson, the physical demand is multiplied by two.

“I’ve played violin [for] 11, almost 12 years, and for trumpet I started in sixth grade, so this is my fourth year,” Johnson said. “I started trumpet because my dad is a band director and so I just wanted to start trumpet on top of violin–which I started when I was little because my mom freelances violin and teaches it and so she had one of her colleagues start me and my little sister when we were younger.”

Learning two instruments can mean plenty of performance opportunities and well-roundedness in the music industry as a whole.

“We didn’t really have a lot for orchestra, but I know she was preparing for region for band and region for orchestra. For orchestra she placed in the top group and I know in band she also placed, so I would say it was probably more of a hardship for Julia than anybody else,” orchestra director Julie Blackstock said. “However, I would say it’s a perk for us because it makes her a more well-rounded musician. I think to have an understanding of both types of instruments–a brass instrument and a string instrument–makes her counting better. I know for orchestra [and band] it makes her musicianship skills better.”

These perks come with a cost, as Johnson has to make time for both in the practice room.

“For a practice week, in the morning I’ll practice one of the instruments and then at night after school, I’ll practice and I’ll do homework,” Johnson said. “Usually I’ll sometimes switch it depending on if I have a private lesson for trumpet I’ll practice after school so I don’t wear myself out before my lesson, but it just depends on what I want to practice that morning.”

The long hours of practice don’t seem to phase Johnson. to assistant director Zack Anderson, the hard work is sure to pay off.

“Coming in and trying to be able to do everything at once and doing it at a really high level and being able to market themselves as both playing a stringed instrument and a wind instrument,” Anderson said. “She’s gonna set herself apart from everybody else in being able to say ‘Hey, I’ve done this and I’ve also done this, [and they both] require a lot of time from me’.”

The musical journey for Johnson does not stop after high school. with aspirations to pursue music in college and as a career, her journey may have  just begun.

“I want to go into music education,” Johnson said. “I think that having a perspective from both band and orchestra can just help overall if I want to be an orchestra director and we do something with the band, then I know how to help some of the band kids also or vice versa.”