Pursuing Interests: Musical Endeavors

Diego Martinez, Copy Editor

Students at Downey High have always taken their musical talents with them, whether it be in band competitions, festivals, or performances. Musicians ranging from the percussion to rhythm all have their unique talents and strengths, but some intend to pursue a musical career after high school.


Musicians at Downey High have many options as to what they can do for a career: solo artist, teacher, professor, music director, and score director. They can attend a variety of academies, schools, and colleges that can help expand their knowledge of music, such as Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music in New York, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Music Academy of the West in California.


Senior Juan Carballo, one of Downey High’s top alto-saxophone players, and Ivan Cuevas, the top sophomore guitarist for the Jazz 1 band, both intend to pursue musical careers. Their interest in music is both derived from their personal experiences, especially in Jazz. They both are in Jazz 1, and lead in their own sections and strive to better their musicianship.


Carballo intends to follow up on his dream of being a film score director, musical composer for R&B, jazz, and some modern hip-hop. His appreciation for musical beats and for ambience, tone, and emotion conveyed through music and soundtracks motivates him to make music. Carballo’s interest in musical production, composition, and film score leads him to this path.


“I, want to do a lot of things, music production in hip-hop, film scoring, jazz compositions, and studio recording,” Carballo said. “I want to do everything and have a really great variety.”


Carballo’s inspirations consist of hip-hop artists Travis Scott, Chance the Rapper, Drake, 21 Savage, and Famous Dex. He enjoys the soundtracks in Fury, composed by Steven Price, Transformers, composed by Steve Jablonsky, and Thor: The Dark World, composed by Brian Tyler. Carballo says his favorite part of all of these composers is that they all share the same trait of being able to create calm yet exciting music for specific scenes.


“Their ability to make something so emotional really gives those movies like a dynamic feeling,” Carballo said. “Hopefully I get accepted into USC, to minor in business and politics, and major in music.”


Cuevas has his eyes set on a jazz solo career. His love for jazz and unrestrained creativity drives him to create his own jazz compositions. Cuevas’ care for musical individuality and music theory gives him the strength to put together everything he wants to say through his music.


“Honestly, jazz and music theory have both made me realize the vast potential of music,” Cuevas stated. “I think I can create and arrange my own music and really be noticed for it.”


Cuevas looks up to many guitarists and composers, but has locked them down to two: John Mayer, a funk/jazz solo enthusiast and composer, and famous blues/jazz composer Wes Montgomery. Their personalities, love of music, originality, and careful attention is what Cuevas uses as a base of rules in music.


“Both composers show a great deal of originality and personality within their music,” Cuevas said. “ I want to be like that, I want to create music that sounds like I made it, music that everyone can recognize and enjoy both on a general and specific level.

Carballo intends to go to USC as he aims to learn the basic structuring in film score, and build upon his current knowledge in making his own compositions. Cuevas hopes to attend Berklee School of Music in Boston so he can further his education in music theory to understand complex musical concepts. Both musicians share not only an interest in music, but but a motivation to perfect their craft beyond their high school years.