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Student Spotlight on Joaquin Manuel Estrella

This week's blog spotlight is turning from our fabulous faculty to LMC student pianist, Joaquin Manuel Estrella. Joaquin started taking piano lessons when he was just four years old. In his own words, "My previous experience has taught me that while Luzerne will provide me with excellent classes, the opportunity to build and share with other musicians my age and access to a much larger musical community, achieving my goals will depend on whether or not I take advantage of these opportunities as well as how hard I work to accomplish my goals."

Read what else this ten-year-old has to say about his experience at Luzerne Music Center and his thoughts on music and piano!

Tell us a little about yourself: where are you from and what instrument do you play?

My name is Joaquin Manuel Estrella, I am 10 years old and am currently in fifth grade. I live in the Bronx and I am Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican. I play piano and have been taking lessons for six years.

Do you have a favorite classical composer? What about a favorite non-classical group/song/genre?

My favorite classical composer is Maurice Ravel. He is my favorite because his pieces are very beautiful and are soothing to me. Also, his pieces are very challenging. My three favorite pieces by him are Gaspard de la Nuit, Jeux d'eau, and Sonatine. My favorite non-classical genres are probably jazz, rock and hip hop. My favorite jazz pianists are Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson and Fats Waller. I also enjoy the music of Led Zeppelin and Jurassic 5. One of my favorite pieces is Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood."

What was it like to work with other young musicians?

Being around other musicians was a lot of fun! Its was also a new experience because I has never met any musicians (that play seriously) that are my age before and it was a chance for me to socialize with other young people that had the same interests as me.

What did you think of living in the Adirondack Mountains?

Living in the Adirondack Mountains was an amazing experience for me. I enjoyed it (when I got used to it) I was able to connect with nature (even though we never got to go fully into the woods) in a way that I had never done before. Instead of waking up to sirens and loud music, I woke up to birds chirping. Instead of smelling smoke from smoke stacks, I smelled grass and trees and (believe it or not) rain. It took me away from the city that I live and breathe in, where I've only left a few times for short periods, to a place full of nature, beauty, and peace.

You had quite the reputation as a jazz pianist at camp! What was it like to play in a jazz group?

Playing in a jazz group was really, really fun for me. It was not only a new experience, but it was also an experience I've been waiting for, for quite some time. And I am so happy that I finally got the chance at LMC.

What was your favorite part about LMC?

My favorite part of LMC was being able to finally spend time with fellow young musicians. Not only to perform with, but to practice and just have fun with each other. For example, a friend I had through piano at Luzerne and I would ask each other advice on our pieces by playing for each other on our free periods. Another friend and I would playfully brag about what pieces we'd learned.

Any closing thoughts?

I really loved LMC last year for all of the experiences and opportunities it presented, and I really hope those opportunities will be presented this year as well.

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