Students show off their musical talent

Two students share how music plays a role in their lives


By Elise Canning

Preparing to play, sophomore Derik Bandad warms up his guitar

Elise Canning and Taylor Moss

Sophomore Derik Bandad has a passion for music and has been playing it nearly his entire life

Since the age of four, when he received his first guitar, sophomore Derik Bandad has had an undeniable love for music. 

“I got this three-fourths sized guitar, so it looked more like a ukulele but had six strings,” Derik said. “That was my first mentality of [wanting] to play guitar. When I turned eight, my dad bought me my first full-sized acoustic, and that was when it really picked up.”

Derik doesn’t just like to play music; he is like a library of knowledge on anything and everything musical. Sharing anything from how “Sweet Child ‘o Mine” was written (the guitarist was practicing a pick warm-up, the lead singer walked in and decided to use it, according to Derik) to the way Keith Richards’ ‘thing’ is “the slide” and other guitarists use “the bend” – which is pushing the strings up across the fingerboard -used in a lot of blues and rock. He not only knows all about them, but he can also do “the slide” and “the bend,” and very well.

Derik’s father, Al Bandad beamed at his son as he shared all of the things Derik was able to do musically.

“I tape him every day or every time I can. I have since he started. I probably have fifteen [recordings] of each song on my phone,” Al said.

Derik got his start by listening to the music his family played. 

“My taste in music, which I got a lot from my dad and my brothers, it was always like heavy bass on instruments and stuff. So it was all classic rock from the beginning,” Derik said.

His dad pushed for him to play the classics like Tom Petty and Aerosmith instead of new music. 

“He plays Tom Petty best which he can sing and play at the same time. When he plays for the younger generation he gets a little cocky and plays new music. I prefer the older ones, it goes better with his voice,” Al said.

Derik’s dad has supported him since the beginning. “He was playing with a small guitar we had at home. I don’t know how many different kinds of guitars he had before I bought him the first real one.” Al said, “I knew he liked music from the start. All the kids like music, you’ve just got to allow them to play.”

Derik loves music because it can calm him down as well as give him an escape.

“I listen to destress. Then, I’ll play and it’s like ‘alright we’re cool’. But, it’s also a creative outlet,” Derik said.

His favorite artist is Ed Sheeran.


“Even before I played guitar, [Ed Sheeran’s music] was the music I just liked listening to,” Derik said. “Then as I became a guitarist, he would just stand on stage with his little pedal and make a song in front of everybody with nothing but his guitar and voice. He was literally a one-man-band.”

After the interview, I sat and listened to Derik play a song, which very quickly turned into about five. However, I was not complaining. He is just as good as his father talked him up to be. I could tell by the pure emotion on his face as he played, the focused eyes, smooth, comfortable hands and a small smile, he truly enjoys music and even more, loves letting others experience it through him. 

“I love everything about it. It’s just me doing what I do,” Derik said.


Junior Audrey Hereth uses her musical talents to play four different instruments and express her emotions
By Izzy James Turned away from her piano, Hereth shows off her skills on the ukulele.

JAG: What instruments do you play and how long have you been playing each instrument?

Audrey Hereth: I play the piano, guitar, ukulele and saxophone. I’ve played piano for eight years, guitar for three or four years, ukulele since August and saxophone for six years.

JAG: What first got you into music?

AH: I have always listened to music since I was a kid, and when I was younger, my friends and I in kindergarten would make up these singing shows. I don’t think there was just one set thing.

J: Why didn’t you stop at one instrument?

AH: If you have a talent, I’ve been taught to grow it and to keep learning, so I kept learning.

J: Which Instrument is your favorite and why?

AH: The piano is definitely my favorite. I think that it’s the best instrument because I joke and say it’s my first love and it was the first type of instrument that I learned music on and it’s helped me in all of my other instruments. When I was little and was bored or wasn’t getting attention, I would just go to the piano and it would be my pal.

J: Why do you write your own songs?

By Izzy James Sitting in her front room, Hereth plays the piano.

AH: There’s a lot of freedom in writing what you want. You get to follow your own rules and there’s freedom in expressing yourself and saying what you want to say, and sometimes you can say what you want to say without words [when writing music].

J: What types of songs do you play and why?

AH: I normally play classical music, especially on the piano and on the saxophone because that is what I was taught with. I also play jazz piano in the jazz band. I play a lot of pop music on the guitar and ukulele because they have really simple chords and it’s easier to play on those instruments.

J: What type of music do you listen to normally?

AH: I like to listen to acoustic bands or the acoustic version of pop songs. They’re just easier to listen to than classical music because when I listen to classical music, my brain automatically goes into an analytical mode and I will try to think of what the music looks like or how I would play it. I can really appreciate that kind of music but on a daily basis, if I just want to listen to something that will take my mind off something, I’ll listen to pop music.

J: Do you recommend playing any of these instruments and why?

AH: I definitely recommend playing any instrument. Any instrument helps with brain development, analyzing and basic functions. Instruments and music are a great way of expressing emotions. 

J: Is there any meaning behind the songs you write? 

AH: Yes and no. There are songs that are just fun poems, but of course, I’m a teenage girl and I love Taylor Swift so I write love songs about whomever I’m in love with at the time. I hope someday I’ll be able to write music that will be able to speak volumes and talk about topics that aren’t talked about nowadays, or what every artist dreams of, which is people listening to [their music] because I feel like those songs have [more]meaning and purpose than just a teenage girl telling a story about the boy she loved in sixth grade.

J: Where do you think music will fit into your future?

AH: I definitely want to continue [music] forever. Someday when I’m in college I want to study it a bit and I think I want to become a musical therapist and teach music and help people get through their emotions with music. On the side, I would like to teach piano lessons because I’ve been inspired by my piano teacher and I think it would be a really fun job.

Check out a clip from one of her original songs above.

Read about other students’ musical talent as well:

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