“When you find the right song, it makes you feel like you can do anything”
Written by Rosario Aran
Meet outstanding Aria, a teenager who has been experiencing the beauty of music and dance since she was three months old.
Aria is a thirteen-year-old teenager living in Los Angeles who started attending music and dance classes when she was only 3-months-old. Her parents took her to the Bloom School of Dance and Music -the school that sparked Bloom Arts Foundation- and she immediately became an enthusiastic toddler. She quickly learned all the songs and movements and was happy to learn from her teachers.
Aria loves playing the guitar and prefers pop music. Her favorite song is the catchy Giants by Dermot Kennedy, except when it comes to dancing, then she chooses to move to the electric sound of The Nights by Avicii.
These days, Aria is the leading entertainer during family events where she plays her ukulele because “it’s easier to transport than a guitar.” As a result, her family can enjoy her music and whatever song she is working on at the moment. Even her little cousins are now eagerly asking her to teach them to play ukulele!
“Currently, no one in my household plays an instrument except me. When my dad was younger, he used to play the saxophone, and my mom tried to play the guitar a little,” explains Aria. Although her mother doesn’t play instruments, she is a great vocalist and a music fan. Having a supportive family like Aria’s is crucial to raising artists. Families can help by showing interest, playing music at home, having impromptu dance parties, helping them get to class on time, cheering them on at their concerts, and staying by their side when they get frustrated and supporting them to persevere.
Enrolling in music and dance school
Aria attended classes one and a half hours per week. During all those times when she was figuring out chords and dancing to the rhythm, she made friends like Lily and Sophia. These friendships have come a long way. They began when Lily and Aria started to play the ukulele as 6 years old in group ukulele class. Meanwhile, Sophia and Aria met at Musical Theater, and their friendship has lasted more than six years.
When asked about her favorite teacher, she names Ms. Julie. “She was the person who taught me the ukulele. She was there at my first music recital. She taught me how to tune my ukulele without a tuner! She was the one who gave me my first guitar when I graduated from ukulele. She even taught me how to use it a little bit. I haven’t seen her in a long time; she moved to Washington. But she will always be a special person to me,” explains Aria.
Her favorite part of attending music classes was “learning how to play chords because now I can play any song, anytime.” Aria is a well-rounded artist who can play musical instruments and dance to the beat.
Her dance lessons start with checking how everyone is doing. Then, they warm up and work on a dance. “We have so much fun!” she says. To continue with these joyful lessons, her musical theater classes involve playing games that help her and her classmates to improvise and act.
At Bloom School of Music and Dance, the staff jokes that Aria is the “Mayor of Bloom.”
“Anytime I had a new family I made sure to schedule them in Aria’s class. Everytime I brought out a new instrument or prop she would yell “Yay!” and sing all of the words to all of the songs,” explains Bloom Arts Foundation’s Co-founder Laura Porter.
After all, she feels like they are family, and her energetic presence during Family Classes when she was little was key to building the program. “If I’m having a bad day and I have class, I always come out feeling ten times better,”she says.
The benefits of Arts Education
Aria agrees that music and dance lessons are helpful for children because “it builds confidence and it relieves stress.” However, when asked why schools don’t teach art education, Aria does not hesitate to provide a genuine answer: “Because schools don’t think it is as important as math or science.”
This teenager, whose favorite band is Imagine Dragons, knows better than anyone how helpful Arts Education is for children. She experienced it after overcoming her shyness when meeting people for the first time thanks to music and dance recitals: “It helped me get over nervousness when going on stage and meeting new people. I am very shy when meeting people for the first time, but then after getting familiar with the person, I am the most extroverted person, like it’s night and day.”
If there is a teenager who has the knowledge and experience to share her thoughts about the positive impact of Arts Education, that is Aria. Not only has she been taking different music and dance classes since she was a baby, but she also keeps practicing and learning new things (like archery!), which is so impressive for a girl who is only thirteen and knows so much. When asked about the main lesson she takes from all those years as a music and dance student, it is easy to tell how creative and sensitive an artist Aria is. Her answer feels like a poem:
“I learned that music can bring people together. It doesn’t matter what age, race, gender, or sexuality you are. Music is the tie that binds us all. In music, you can express your emotions. When you find the right song you’ll know, it makes you feel like you can do anything. It’s the song that makes you feel like you are the main character of an amazing story or like you’re in a music video. It’s one of my favorite feelings. I saw a random person on the street listening to music and dancing like they were the main character. It just made me so happy. But that is only one example of how music affects people. Have you ever been to a concert, everyone is swaying their arms at the same time, everyone’s singing at the same time all to the beat of the music”.