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"Rockstar Rhythms" School Of Rock's Young Musician Spotlight

Alessandra Gomez Balanzar - 17 years old

Fort Collins, CO

What made you want to become a musician? I developed a love for guitar after taking lessons with my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Adams. Through those lessons, I was allowed to take a guitar home to practice and my love grew from there. Which instruments do you play? The main instrument that I play is guitar, but I also play a little bass and piano. What accomplishments do you see yourself achieving in the next five to 10 years? After high school, I plan to work towards an Associate of Arts degree in Music and also a certificate in recording arts technology. Ideally, I would incorporate my love of music into my career. I would love to continue to play in a band and improve my guitar skills so that I can comfortably play many genres of music. What strengths do you have that you believe make you a great musician? As I’ve gained experience playing in bands, I’ve learned skills that help me adapt and blend well with other musicians. Also, I feel like I have developed my ear to identify chords well. Which instrument is your favorite to play and why? I really enjoy playing guitar, both electric and acoustic, because there is a wide variety of sounds that can be made just from a single guitar.

What is it about music that makes you feel passionate? Music is a medium that I’m able to express myself with the best.

Describe your favorite and least favorite part about being a musician. My favorite part is learning new songs and my least favorite part is knowing that I won’t be able to play songs perfectly at first. Are there any musicians who inspire you? What qualities do you admire about them? I really admire all of the instructors at the School of Rock, who are all willing to bring their experiences and talent to build up future musicians. The other student musicians really inspire me when I see them develop new skills as that encourages me to do the same. Tell me about your favorite performance in your career. I was really proud of my Neo Soul group’s performance at the School of Rock Winterfest 2023 at the Aggie Theatre. We worked hard to learn all of our songs quickly which helped us give a good performance. I really enjoyed working with all of the musicians I was paired with during that season.

Which skills have you gained from School of Rock that help you perform effectively as a musician? The opportunity to play in a group setting has helped me to be a well-rounded musician. Also, learning scales in my private lessons has improved my ability to solo and improvise. Do you follow a process or ritual before a performance to get rid of nerves or performance anxiety? I typically don’t feel nervous before a performance. I can feel a bit nervous before a solo, but I just focus on the task and do my best to perform. Are there any instructors you look up to at School of Rock? What qualities do they have that you admire? I look up to Brian Zitti who is my private instructor. He is very knowledgeable about music theory. Although music theory is a difficult subject to learn, he is patient and can break the subject down in a way that I can understand. Mike Adams, Jordan Pasquin, Mike Shamrock, JJ Maestas, El Duncan, and Devin Johnson have been my performance and/or house band instructors. They all have incredible leadership skills, they provide great opportunities to grow as a musician, and they always encourage me to put in my best effort.

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