Julia Schimmels started playing trumpet in 6th grade. Since then she has marched her way through multiple musical groups and has gained a wide variety of experiences and accomplished high level achievements. She first joined the Little School of Music Strawberry Jam Band, which fostered her love and mastery of more than just music. Her confidence rose, she developed leadership skills, and showed compassion to help others. Julia continues to stretch her boundaries and is an inspiration for aspiring musicians and everyone around her. Her motto, “Don’t worry about what other people are thinking and to do what you enjoy.”
How did you start at the Little School of Music?
JULIA: I joined the Strawberry Jam Band at Little School of Music in 8th grade because I had some friends in it and I thought it would be fun to do something outside of school. I ended up loving the group and started lessons at Little School of Music with Mindy. I’ve been there ever since! Now I am 17 years old, and a senior at Valencia High School.
Have you always played trumpet or have you switched around?
JULIA: I started playing trumpet in 6th grade through our band program. In 7th grade I played one season of Winter Drum Line where I played the synthesizer; but other than that, I’ve been playing trumpet the whole time.
I have, however, tried many different types of bands and participated in a lot of music groups. I’ve been in marching band for all four years of high school…it’s a lot, but it’s so worth it! I’ve also participated in the Symphony, and a Brass Ensemble at College of the Canyons. Plus, I’m starting drum corps now, which is like major league marching band.
It’s cool to be able to play in all different ways. In marching band, for example, you get to play high, fast, and loud. In jazz band you have so many types of pieces you can play and then there’s concert band. They all have completely different settings and are different types of music. You learn different things from every group you play in.
What is one of your most memorable successes or highlights during your musical journey?
JULIA: I auditioned for Drum Corps International, and I was terrified. I got a callback and it was one of the most amazing feelings. I finally got my foot in the door with an amazing group! I’ve also gotten into participating in the Royal Conservatory Music Certificate Program and I’ve grown a lot as a musician because of the people I’ve met through that program and all the studying I’ve done with Mindy.
What challenges have you overcome and who has supported you throughout your journey?
JULIA: My junior year I hit a wall. I had a lot of performance anxiety and you could hear it when I’d perform. There was even a point where I thought, “I don’t want to do this.” Then, I talked to my Brass Ensemble Director, Luke Storm. He told me that everyone is going to hit a wall at some point and you just have to push through it, and you will get better. I started taking more playing opportunities and became more comfortable playing in front of people—it helped so much.
My Jazz Band Director, Amelio Teranova, also worked a lot with me one-on-one to make me more comfortable with soloing and improv. He pushes me to do my best and has really helped me to get to where I am.
My parents and my little sister are also so supportive. I talk about music so much and they always listen. They listen when I practice and they come to all my band events. It’s really great.
Private lessons with Mindy at the Little School of Music helped me learn and improve a lot. I am not very comfortable playing one on one with a lot of people, but I am with Mindy. Also, when I was in the Strawberry Jam band, I met my friends Nicole and Michelle (Canyon High School Seniors) who still go to Little School of Music too.
How did you balance school and your musical growth at the same time?
JULIA: There were definitely times when it was hard; I had AP classes and tons of homework, and I still had to practice. As I got more confident, I participated more in my classes, and was more comfortable asking questions. I learned good work ethics and how to manage my time; to work hard at everything I do, not just music.
How did music help shape your life now and going forward?
JULIA: Music is pretty much my life. Being part of so many different programs helped me figure out that I want to go into music education. Through marching band and playing trumpet, I learned how to control my anxiety and how to have more confidence in myself, and I learned how to help others.
I want to learn how to play all the instruments and look into all the other aspects of marching band, like drum line and color guard. That’d be really cool. I am hoping to go to school in Colorado for “Music Ed” and eventually become a high school band director. While I am in college, I’d like to work with marching bands to get experience, as a field tech or music tech. I feel like all the skills I learned will help me in college, and eventually as a teacher, when I’ll be able to teach my own marching band.
What advice can you offer other kids that are becoming interested in starting a music program?
JULIA: Definitely, go for it. A lot of people worry that “only boys play trumpet” or “only girls play flute.” Obviously, that is not the case. Don’t worry about stereotypes or what other people might think. All that matters, is that you enjoy what you’re doing. It takes time and it’s different for everyone. You can definitely get there if you put in the time and the effort. Music is one of the most beneficial activities someone can do as a student. You learn so much more than just how to play an instrument. You are taught life skills and people skills.
Julia is an amazing young lady with plans to follow her dreams into Music Education. She offers great words of encouragement and is an excellent example of some of the benefits that studying and participating in music can offer. Future generations are lucky that she will be changing lives as others contributed to her life. Life is about the journey, and Julia’s medley is music to our ears!