This week, we met with another guitar student. Milena Urroz is one of the recipients of the Financial Aid award, and has been taking guitar lessons at CAM since the start of the program. In fact, she was one of the first students that began taking guitar lessons at CAM. Not only is she an accomplished guitar player, she is also an experienced clarinetist.
When did you start learning the guitar and the clarinet?
I began playing the guitar when I was 5 years old. Well, I remember plucking the strings as a 4- year-old, but I wouldn’t count that as playing! As for the clarinet, I was in my 6th grade when I started. My Dad put on a CD of Beethoven’s clarinet music, and I fell in love with the sound of the clarinet. I made a sound right away when I tried blowing on the mouthpiece for the first time. That usually is a good sign, if you are considering learning a woodwind instrument!
How do you divide the practice time between the guitar and clarinet? I mean, you play both instruments so well.
Honestly, it does get tough to find the time for both. But since muscle memory is so important when learning to play instruments, I try to practice the clarinet about 4 times a week and almost every day on the guitar. I do have soccer practices and games, so it’s not always easy.
So, you’ve been playing in CharAMGO (CAM Guitar Orchestra) this semester and in the Guitar Ensemble previously. What do you enjoy about ensemble playing?
When I first began taking guitar lessons at CAM, there were hardly any other students who took guitar lessons. It was tricky to figure out where I was in comparison to other students. Playing in this ensemble lets me to see and hear how my peers play, and it is a lot of fun to playing and performing with others. It is especially neat when Ulyana brings in other instruments, such as percussion, trumpet, cello, and flute. We performed at many different venues, including the assisted living community at The Bridge, to a very appreciative audience.
What do you enjoy most about your lessons?
My teacher, Ulyana, is very supportive and really funny. This makes every lesson fun, and I look forward to it each week.
Do you have any favorite musicians or bands?
I love The Beatles. They are a huge inspiration. Dad and I always listen to them, and I grew up listening to their music. In fact, I have a thick Beatles fake book (book with guitar chords, etc) at home! I enjoy singing and playing all of their songs.
What is the role of music in your life?
Music and literature are the 2 things that are very dear to me. It helped me get through some sad times. For instance, I remember getting quite depressed about leaving France, after living there for a year. I’d made so many good friends during my time there. It was really hard to leave my friends behind, and that’s when I started singing and accompanying myself on the guitar.
Also, whenever we have big family get-togethers, there is always music. Dad and I would get out our guitars, and play some Beatles. Then my Mom would dance – she used to be a ballerina. My brother, Nicolas, plays the violin but also enjoys singing. We even tried out some violin and guitar duets. In fact, we are visiting family in Mexico this summer, and I really want to get a piece ready for my brother and me to play for the family when we get there. I am really looking forward to it.
What took you to France?
We were there for about a year, because my Dad was on his sabbatical. I found a clarinet teacher there who opened the door to the world of Jazz. It was a real eye-opener, and jazz was a whole new world. It’s almost like learning different accents or languages.
This accomplished young lady hopes to be able to save up for college by utilizing and combining her skills in languages and music. She is fluent in Spanish and French, and would love to teach children music and languages while babysitting. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and we wish you all the best.