Campus Performers Embrace Their Passion by Playing Out Their Hearts


Nate Taylor

Junior Trevor Howden plays “Come As You Are” by the rock band Nirvana and “Enter Sandman” by the heavy metal band Metallica during office hours. Howden says that he likes to play that song because the iconic bands have been an inspiration for him.

Bia Shok and Minnah Tanzeen

Adrenaline pumping sounds of heavy metal, rock or even pop music stimulates the curiosity of passing students in the quad or near the music room; during lunch, snack or even office hours. Most of the time, you will find one of these four musicians who carry their guitars around campus to be the producers of this ear-catching entertainment . 

Junior Trevor Howden, who is enrolled in both studio music and contemporary music, is one of four musicians who creates thrilling guitar music during his free time on campus. Inspired by the sounds and technique of Dimebag Darrell, a heavy metal guitarist in the band Pantera, Howden says that guitar is his main passion. 

After finally being able to start playing guitar during his freshman year, he now plans on being a professional musician in the future.

“It’s just a freedom of expression, mostly,” Howden said. “[I play on campus] all the time, during break, office hours, just whenever I’m bored . . . there’s something about the guitar that just really takes your attention.”

Bia Shok

Another student with a passion for playing guitar is junior Noah Kim. Although he does not take any music courses on campus, he brings his guitar so that he can play with friends during breaks and lunch.

“I think I’m coming on my fifth year [playing the guitar]. I originally had been playing a lot of other instruments because I’m Asian, so obviously the parents are going to say you are going to play violin, you are going to play cello, and I hated it,” Kim said. “I started listening to my own music and found out that most of it was guitar-related. [My parents said] if you get straight As throughout all of sixth grade, I’ll buy you a guitar, and then I did, so I got it.”

Kim brings his passion for guitar to social platforms such as his YouTube channel: Noah Kim, where he releases guitar covers.

“It’s rewarding to be able to hear your own music being played back,” Kim said. “I want to be able to either release music or play in a band [in the future] because it’s one of the only things I feel like I legitimately have fun doing for a very long period of time.”

Junior Jeffrey Mejia is another campus performer, sometimes carrying more than one guitar. He is enrolled in marching band, studio music and choir, which all land the same day on odd periods, making some days at school largely centered around music for him.

“I’ve just been in love with music, and every day I’m constantly listening to music,” Mejia said. “After school, when I’m waiting to get picked up, I’ll just start playing, just letting other people hear music. It’s something I always want to share.”

Whether it be a career in recording, performing, working in a guitar store or even becoming a guitar luthier, Mejia’s dream is  pursuing a career in music. He credits his grandfathers on both his mother and father’s side as being a source of inspiration to him since they were both musicians in their hometown.

“With guitar you get to bend the notes and you get to really feel it when you play it.”

— Sophomore Cody Maier

“They’ve supported me a lot and they constantly ask, “When are you going to play next? When’s your next performance? Are you gonna practice soon?”, Mejia said, “they love hearing me just play in the house.”

Studio music and marching band student and sophomore Cody Maier also carries his guitar around campus after finding his passion for guitar in an unexpected way. 

“I went to Mexico a couple years ago and met a pro surfer that played guitar,” Maier said. “We were staying at his house, and he had some guitars there, and he tried teaching me all the basics. That made me really interested in guitar.”

Based off the experiences he has had with piano and guitar, Maier says that he prefers guitar due to the amount of control he is able to have.

“I tried piano before but didn’t end up liking it,” Maier said. “One of the reasons was that the sound wasn’t as open to many genres as guitar is. With guitar you get to bend the notes and you get to really feel it when you play it.” 

With his favorite progressive metal bands being Soen and Periphery, he now occupies most of his after-school time playing the guitar. 

To the question: how much time do you spend playing guitar every day?  

“Probably too much,” Maier answered with a smile.