Mathew Yang shows his passion for music performance

Kyler Bathon, Staff Writer

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Mathew Yang, a senior in the Vista Murrieta High School band program, has a deep passion for music and music performance.

“When I was four years old, I remember sitting next to my aunt at a piano and she started to teach me notes and basic scales. The next year I got a teacher, who I still have to this day, and that is how my love for practicing piano was sparked,” he explained.

Yang has always been seen as a prodigy to non-musician eyes. As a freshman, he was placed into the top wind ensemble at Vista, a feat considering the band consisted of mostly seniors. Many kids his age don’t enjoy the types of classical music and jazz that he listens to. It takes a sophisticated brain and a lot of passion to truly appreciate the technicalities of that type of music. His talent and constant practice makes many people wonder what his motivation is.

“The thrill of making music in performance and in practice is what keeps me focused. Of course it’s a lot of hard work, but the rewarding feeling that I get when finishing a great performance makes all of the time and effort worth it,” he said. “Music has always taken precedence over most other things in my life.”

Throughout most of his life, Yang has been playing piano. It wasn’t until fifth grade that he was introduced to all of the instruments in the percussive realm. After this introduction, he became hooked on learning every aspect of percussion.

“I always had an interest in rhythm and drumming. When I was younger, my mom used to pull out pots and pans, which led to me grabbing random utensils and banging on them, creating whatever rhythm I was feeling. So once I entered band in fifth grade, I knew that the drums were where I would thrive,” he explained.

Once Yang joined the drum line in middle school, he decided to expand his horizons by getting involved in playing the tenor drums. This was truly his first exposure to the art form of marching percussion.

“As much as I enjoy playing mallet percussion, I felt like the battery was more what I was looking for in terms of the people, the staff, and the physical exertion it demands,” he explained. “Battery is a mental challenge, because I have to keep my brain focused while I perfect the motion of my hands and my feet simultaneously. That’s what keeps me attached: I crave the thrill of a challenge.”

While most of Yang’s motivation comes from within himself, he has met many key people who have inspired him to continue to pursue a career in music performance. Yang has also expressed interest in teaching young percussionists who were once like him.

“The two teachers that have stood out to me the most are Mike Jackson and Brent Levine (Drumline and Jazz instructors),” he said. “Both of these instructors approach their art a different way. From Mike I learned that human capability can be pushed and it isn’t impossible to strive for perfection the first time no matter what. From Levine I learned that to actually be great at something, you have to be on the grind every single day. Nothing gets handed to you, especially in this world and this business.”

Yang has proven to his peers and the entire program that he has the type of motivation that it takes to be a master at his art. He sets high expectations and doesn’t back down at the sight of a challenge. It’s his motivation within that has taken him thus far in his music career and will continue to push him deep into a future of classical music performance.

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Mathew Yang shows his passion for music performance