Three JHS Musicians vs. One Pandemic: How They Utilized Their Musical Abilities in a Time of Change

By: Sophia Stunkard

“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. 

For three of Jenks High School’s very own musicians, their way of demonstrating and expressing their musical abilities have been completely altered due to the effects of Covid-19. The months spent in quarantine weren’t ideal for anyone and through these tough times, everyone has been through their own ups and downs. Whether it was the inability to see friends or family, participate in athletics, or something as simple as not being able to go out and socialize, all of us had to work through it together. 

Without further ado, let me introduce you to 3 of Jenks High School’s very own musicians, Easton Deyoe (11) , Jacob Shaddock (10), and Lila Warlick (10). 

Easton Deyoe

Deyoe is a cellist and has been part of Jenks Orchestra for about 6 years and is currently the Principal Cellist of the Jenks Chamber Orchestra. For Deyoe, the beginning of the pandemic was a moment of rising concern and distress regarding his own performance and the performance of his peers in the orchestra. 

“I did have overall concerns for the orchestra,” Deyoe stated. “But since summer was coming up, I knew many people were already not going to be practicing as much anyways.”

Although Deyoe had minimal concerns for the orchestra’s performance, he stayed strong during his months spent in quarantine and began to look at things in a new light. 

I had to lay off practicing in-person lessons, but I still practiced frequently and stayed self-motivated, [the pandemic] gave me the opportunity to have more time to listen to different pieces of music through spotify and youtube”. 

Deyoe mentions being able to spend time working on more things that he is interested in for himself and being able to work on pieces that make him excited and that give him a feeling of accomplishment. 

“I was able to work on more solos,” Deyoe says. Along with solos, Deyoe practiced playing by ear, which is a skill Deyoe described as being more difficult but something he really wanted to focus on getting better during his spare time. 

When asked what advice he would give to someone who wants to embrace their musical side but cannot yet due to covid-restrictions on musical related activities, Deyoe provided some valuable information. 

“Just learning an instrument is good for anyone in general.” Deyoe proclaims, “ it has scientifically proven benefits and I think it’s something that everyone should consider taking up.” In addition to this, Deyoe also brought forth the idea that learning to read sheet music is a skill vital to anyone who wants to start playing an instrument. 

The way Deyoe faced the pandemic showed how determined and driven he is when it comes to Orchestra and his musical abilities. When faced with lack of motivation, Deyoe took to taking time for himself and focusing on things that he wanted to learn which encouraged him to keep moving forward. 

Jacob Shaddock

Next, we look into the experiences of Jacob Shaddock, a jack of all trades when it comes to music. From performing to playing, Shaddock has achieved many successes during his years of being involved in the musical community. When Covid struck, Shaddock was in the midst of preparing jam sessions with his buddies, but what do you do when you get that opportunity taken away from you with the snap of a finger? 

“The pandemic really put me in a weird place because I normally work and collaborate with people,” Shaddock shares,  “I mean I’m writing most of my own stuff and usually go to my guitar teacher for advice on things but since the pandemic struck; it’s all in my own house which works, I mean I’ve always been able to write music in my house and remain creative but it’s just different.”

Facing change can lead to many new emotions, in Shaddock’s case, the feeling of being overwhelmed was prominent. 

“It was really kinda jarring and on the whole music side of (dealing with the pandemic) it gave me a lot of time to listen to new things, study different types of music, and listen to new albums and all that sort of stuff,” Jacob addressed. “But it was really odd because this was about the time that I was really getting ready and I was confident to jam/work with people.”

As a result of having to deal with the stresses brought on by the Coronavirus, Shaddock used music as a way to cope with the anxieties put onto him. 

“Even something as simple as going on a walk and putting on an album is extremely therapeutic and it’s just as important to listen to bad stuff as well as good stuff so you can discover what you like” Shaddock explains. Shaddock has also been working on an EP comprising 4-6 songs and is planning to release it before Christmas of 2020. Make sure to check it out when it’s available!

“Do things that make you want to keep going.”- Jacob Shaddock

Shaddock encourages practicing and listening to things that bring you true joy and to spread your joy to the world to listen.

Lila Warlick

Now for the longly awaited, Lila Warlick. Warlick is an avid pianist and songwriter. In the beginning of the pandemic, Warlick shares how she felt a sense of isolation forming within her days spent quarantining in her home. 

“I felt really alone and really isolated even though I was with my family,” Warlick admitted.  “At some point you get numb to their presence and it just feels like you’re alone again,  so I would say I reacted pretty poorly because I’m usually not used to that environment; I need a little chaos in my life.” 

Warlick explains that she found herself right in front of her piano when she was bored. Since Warlick had much added time at home due to the pandemic, she took up that time to better her own creations.

“Practicing and creating songs has gone the same for me, I’ve been writing bits and pieces of songs but during this time I’ve also been able to consider what I’ve previously written and improve my songs to make them better. ” Warlick also adds on that, “I was able to finally enjoy my alone time when listening to music.”  

As Warlick used her time in quarantine to improve her ability, she also took time to develop herself as an artist. Warlick states,

“By exploring what I’m interested in music wise, I’ve definitely been able to find my footing and develop independence within my musicianship”.  

When reflecting on the pandemic, Warlick was able to utilize her musical talents as a way of not only healing herself, but also a way of strengthening relationships and bringing people together.

“I found that my dad took a lot of interest in the songs that I write and I found that that was a really good way to connect by writing music and showing it to him which really strengthened our bond.” 

“Your musicianship isn’t really your own until you find your own songs you want to transpose and especially since covid I needed something of my own because so much of my life had become isolated”- Lila Warlick

Click the following to hear Lila playing her own song that she created on the piano: Lila Playing the piano! 

Lila Warlick (10), (bottom left) pictured at one of her earliest piano recitals.

Suggested resources for one wanting to dive deeper into their own musical side: 

– Warlick recommends looking up songs on youtube to practice or going online to find websites that host free sheet music. If you are more interested in learning how to play an instrument, Warlick highly recommends starting off with the more simplistic stuff to begin with. . 

– “I would say start off with an instrument that’s pretty easy, ukulele is a fairly inexpensive instrument and fairly easy to learn so if you want to embarc on the music world you could try starting on ukulele because it can easily transcend into learning how to play instruments like the guitar or bass.” 

-If you do decide to invest in a ukulele or if you already have one, Warlick suggests visiting the website or downloading the app Ukutabs so you can find the chords for a variety of different songs. 

-For those interested in discovering more about music theory, Shaddock recommends checking out Adam Neely on Youtube for videos covering a variety of different musical topics and instructional videos if you are interested in learning more about playing the bass guitar. 

– Here, Theonlinemetronome.com provides a list of 7 websites with free sheet music if you are looking to expand your knowledge on learning how to read music or practice music. 

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