On the Road to Stardom: Students Express Themselves Through Their Musical Talents

Ava De Leon, Staffer

Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the world. Every year, thousands of people flock to the city to experience the shows for themselves, most notably at Austin City Limits. It’s no wonder that Austin is filled with a variety of musical artists, from rock and roll to pop, and LASA, like Austin, is home to student musicians of its own.
LASA offers a wide variety of classes and electives that encourage students to pursue their musical talent. From band to songwriting, there are many opportunities for musical expression at LASA. While some students stick to school organized music classes, other students like senior Ari Wagen play in bands with their friends outside of class or produce music at home. Wagen said music helps him relax and destress throughout the week.
“Music has given me a really nice creative outlet to process emotions and have fun and take a break from thinking about school,” Wagen said. “Trying to make something that is beautiful is just a really great way to get some time apart.”
However, being in the music industry is competitive and sometimes challenging, especially for teenagers, according to senior Oscar Dylan. Dylan, who goes by Ozzy, said that getting recognized as a musician at a young age is often a hard process.
“The two main challenges I find are getting yourself out there and getting people to listen to your music,” Dylan said. “You kind of have to get people to become your fans. They won’t just already be them.”
Another challenge for young musicians is balancing schoolwork with music. Both Wagen and Dylan said that finding time throughout the week to finish homework and work on music can be tough. Junior Ella Glasscock said that dividing her time between academics and her music is a struggle, and she constantly has to decide between one or the other.
“I really, really love making music,” Glasscock said. “It’s what I love doing, but I also feel strongly about getting decent grades so that I can go to college. Especially this year, it has been really hard to find the time to work on music because it’s like ‘Okay, this Friday night, do I want to go hang out with my friends or do I want to stay here and make music or do I want to do my physics homework?’”
Even though there are challenges that young musicians face, Wagen and Glasscock agreed that music is the best way for them to express themselves and share their work with the world.
“I think music has given me a really nice creative outlet to process emotions and have fun and take a break from thinking about school and math and science and just think about life,” Wagen said.
Wagen and Glasscock regularly perform their music live for their friends and fans. The performance experience is different for everyone, and Wagen said he often feels nervous before a show.
“The experience of performing live is hard to describe,” Wagen said. “It’s kind of like jumping off a building onto something that catches you. Playing music live is terrifying because it’s being vulnerable and singing in front of people is scary. It’s really easy to mess up, I mean I’ve messed up and it’s terrifying, but it’s also so much fun.”
While Wagen said he struggles with jitters, Glasscock said that she enjoys performing and that she hardly ever gets stage fright.
“When I get up there, it’s not that I’m scared to see if people like me or not,” Glasscock said. “I feel more excited to show them what I’ve been working on. I like being up there and showing what I’ve been doing.”
According to Dylan, one of the best parts about being a musician is finishing a song and sharing it with friends and family. Making music feels productive for Wagen, and he feels accomplished when he is able to say that he made something for him, not because he had to, but because he wanted to.
“Putting time and effort into making something and then people congratulating you…It feels really nice to be respected for the work you put into something,” Dylan said. “Once I started making music, I got a little more recognition from friends and peers, and it’s been fun.”
Dylan, Glasscock and Wagen all encourage students who are interested in making music to get started now. Wagen says the best way to start is just to sit down and do it.
“Don’t wait around,” Wagen said. “If you want to start doing something, do it and if you can’t find other people, do it by yourself until you find other people. The music isn’t going to make itself.”
Most students like Wagen plan to continue their music career as a side hobby and plan to take up a different job as they get older. Others like Glasscock, have their heart set on making music.
“Well, you heard it here first,” Glasscock said. “I’m going to be a rockstar.”