The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

Jackson Van Vooren

June 25, 2020


Courtesy Jackson Van Vooren

Rising senior Jackson Van Vooren is a seasoned clarinetist. Although there were role models in his life who doubted his abilities, Jackson ultimately prevailed and grew to love the clarinet.

Amongst many of the other members in his third grade music class, Jackson had the challenging task of mastering the recorder. After making his startling first sound, Jackson curiously began to test out the instrument’s various other notes. Playing the recorder piqued Jackson’s interest in music and ultimately inspired him to switch over to the clarinet.

“At first, there was a lot of trial and error,” Jackson said. “I remember just trying to make a sound alone was a big challenge for me.”

Not only was Jackson faced with learning a new instrument, but he also had to cope with a difficult first teacher. Even before big performances, Jackson’s elementary school band director wouldn’t hesitate to take away the opportunity for musicians to perform.

“He would make everyone play their part individually in front of the entire band,” Jackson said. “If we messed up, he’d scold us and tell us we weren’t practicing enough, along with cutting people the day before the concert.”

While this was certainly very frustrating and intimidating for Jackson, he took this challenge head-on. After continuously playing his instrument in preparation for that test, his hard work eventually paid off.

“One day, I didn’t mess up and the band director said I sounded really good,” Jackson said. “After that, I practiced even more and I was never scolded by him for the rest of my time playing for the elementary school band.”

Since then, Jackson has become even more dedicated to learning and perfecting the clarinet pieces that he’s given. Although practicing can be extremely challenging sometimes, he always remembers his drive towards improving his own skills as a musician.

“I don’t practice because I have to, I do it because I want to,” Jackon said. “There are certain days when I’m just really frustrated and practicing isn’t worth it, but overall I’d say my dedication has grown as I try even harder to get better.”

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