By Christopher Liu
After a thorough audition process, one New Hyde Park Memorial student—Izhaan Ahmed—has qualified for admission into the NAfME’s (National Association for Music Education) All-National Symphonic Band. As one of the premier musical organizations in the world, the NAfME consolidates many of the country’s most talented and proficient high-school musicians into myriad honor ensembles.
Source by Anna Detke
Izhaan Ahmed poses with his tuba in the band room.
Q: What was your reaction to being accepted into the National Association for Music Education’s All-National Symphonic Band for 2022?
Izhaan Ahmed: I completely didn’t anticipate getting accepted. I haven’t ever really had formal private teaching on any instrument, and I assumed people had their own better tubas. The audition piece, however, was only two minutes long, and I do much better with shorter, more upbeat songs. I also felt very confident in Ms. Bagley’s ability to write a letter of recommendation for me.
“I just have to remember that practicing isn’t just blowing air into a tube but reminding oneself that there is a whole creative process that largely goes completely ignored...”
Q: How did you feel about the audition process?
IA: I felt that the virtual nature of the process was completely fair. Having only two minutes of music allowed us to get our best recording and express ourselves.
Q: What were your thoughts on the amount of work you had to put into achieving your goals? How long do you typically practice?
IA: Frankly, I very frequently experience imposter syndrome because I perceive myself as having done much less to teach at the same length, if not higher lengths. However, I just have to remember that practicing isn’t just blowing air into a tube but reminding oneself that there is a whole creative process that largely goes completely ignored, and I feel most of my more abstract practice goes into being able to find purpose in a piece of music and to play with said purpose viscerally.
Q: What motivates you to challenge yourself and grow as a musician?
IA: The artistic intent and being witness to how people are able to explain things through music keeps me going. Recently, I got into analyzing lyrics for this reason, and there are plenty of concert band pieces based on songs with lyrics that really do contain so much meaning.
Q: What would you say to other aspiring musicians in NHP who see you as an example?
IA: I would say that you should focus on playing or singing what you’re passionate about. Whether it be a cool drum beat you noticed on a rap track or a cool melody you feel like doing an acapella version, just try to get something out there, especially since this might be the time you are least busy.