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Students find passion in music

Tim Pease and Neve Wheelecor reflect on how instruments have shaped their lives.

Marley Jones and Emily Moses

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Students are all shaped by music in different ways; for these students, their passion is found in mastery.

Tim Pease

Multi-instrumentalist Tim Pease, 11, has been involved with music since elementary school. From learning the piano at age six to taking on the pan flute at age seven, Pease is constantly exploring new musical challenges. In addition to the piano and pan flute, he is also well-versed in the guitar and recorder.

According to Pease, a love for music runs in the family. “My grandparents have a music store in Massachusetts, so music has always been a part of my life,” he said. “I grew up with [it] so it’s important to me.”

Though a passion for music runs in his blood, Pease’s own motivation has led him to learn instruments all by himself. “I have never taken lessons… I am self-taught,” he said.

At times, this has posed a challenge. “Since I can’t read music, I have to play by ear,” said Pease.

Despite the lack of a mentor, fellow musicians have motivated Pease to keep pursuing his passion. Pease is part of a group called “Grace and the Crop Tops” comprised of Grace Lindmark, Michael Brown and Hans Adamsson. They’ve become well-known around Mounds View for serenading students and staff at the winter pep fest, this year’s talent show and mornings in the library.

Pease’s favorite memory is performing with his ensemble at the pep fest. “It was fun because we got to perform in front of our peers,” he said. “It was cool to show off what we had worked so hard on.”

Practicing and sharing his talent provides Pease with a break from the demands of extracurriculars and other school responsibilities. “It helps me relax from school,” he said. “I get nervous before I perform, but during the show I am just having fun. I just like showing people my music. It is relaxing for me to play my instruments.”

Pease doesn’t plan to stop his repertoire at four instruments; his future plans include business school with incorporation of music, and of course, more instruments. “I really like how string instruments sound, so I want to learn one of those,” he said. “The cello would be the instrument I’m most interested in.”

Neve Wheelecor

While most students struggle to learn one instrument, Neve Wheelecor, 10, has found time to pursue 13.

Ranging from the harmonica to the baritone ukulele, Wheelecor loves picking up new instruments. “I fell in love with playing music,” she said. “I wanted to learn how to play more instruments so I bought a ukulele and began to teach myself piano. I keep learning new instruments because I think it’s really fun to learn about and create new things.”

Neve Wheelecor playing the ukulele

Eva Hoffman
Neve Wheelecor playing the ukulele

Wheelecor’s family fostered her interest in music early on. With her dad’s guidance, she began learning the guitar at the age of six. “My dad taught me at first. He played guitar growing up and still does today, so he was the one who got me going. I’ve taken a few professional lessons, but now I mainly play by ear or watch videos,” she said.

“[My dad] would also be playing different instruments around the house that wasn’t on the radio.” she added.

Acoustic guitar has become Wheelecor’s favorite instrument. “I’ve been playing guitar for the longest, so I would say it is what I’m best at,” she said. “I’m able to play sweet acoustic songs but then I can go to my electric guitar and jam out to some rock songs.”

While Wheelecor enjoys a variety of artists, her favorites include alternative artists  Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers, as well as classics such as the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.

But no matter what genre or instrument Wheelecor is playing, music always affects her the same way. “It’s how I express my feelings and my creativity,” said Wheelecor. “There’s always a song to go with how I am feeling and I’m able to express my emotions that way.”

She uses music as medicine for everyday stress. “Music is very important to me because it is an outlet from school and stressful situations. It’s my way to escape and go off into my own little world,” she said. “I struggle with anxiety and music helps me to relax and take my mind off things.

Whatever the future may hold, Wheelecor knows that music will be there for her every step of the way. “I would definitely like to learn more instruments in the future. I’d like to learn how to play the banjo and the mandolin because I think they sound really cool and seem fun to play,” she said. “But at the same time I’d also like you improve on the things I already know like guitar, drums, and piano.”

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Students find passion in music