Artist of the Week: Robert Young


Artist of the Week: Robert Young

March 8, 2024

Surrounded by musicians in his family, including his sister who used to play clarinet and keyboard, and his dad who used to play drums, music is not something new to Robert Young.

Robert, a sixth grader at Warwick Valley Middle School, started playing the trumpet in fourth grade and he switched to the French horn in fifth grade after successfully trying it out.

“The French horn sounds nice,” Robert explained. “It’s more calm than the trumpet. I like playing more calm music than loud strong music. I don’t think that loud music is bad, but I prefer calm.”

“He’s a very motivated student,” said Ashley Head, his band teacher. “He’s always organized and he’s very serious about his music and goes above and beyond.”

Outside of band, Robert is also in chorus and he was awarded the 2024 All-County second chair. He will also be participating at a level four in NYSSMA, which is a solo music festival that’s coming up in May.

“So far, preparing has been good,” said Robert. “I got the book for the music and it’s harder but it’s doable for me.”

Currently, his favorite class is math.

“I do get very high grades,” he explained with a laugh. “And I think I will be in honors math next year. Generally speaking, the teachers like me.”

“Robert is doing great,” agreed Mrs. Head.

As a musician, it is not unheard of to encounter difficulties when playing an instrument.

“I think that the difficulty with the French horn is that there is a lot of tubing to blow through, so there’s a lot of resistance,” said Robert. “Usually with a double horn, it’s 22 feet to be exact.”

“There’s also many fingerings you have to memorize for all the sharps and flats in music. It’s also difficult because a French horn has the smallest mouthpiece of any brass instrument.”

It is clear that Robert is very educated when it comes to his instruments and he has also researched different types of horns and all the notes as he was learning.

“Robert has a curiosity and drive that is amazing for this level,” said Mrs. Head. “We are very proud of him. Robert has made incredible progress over the last one and a half years on the French horn. He frequently asks for new music, as he is ready to take on the next challenge.”

Peter VanDeWater, another one of Robert’s music teachers, says that Robert is an intrinsically motivated student.

“The French horn is a very challenging instrument and Robert has taken to it naturally. I was able to work with him quite frequently last year and look forward to having him with me in seventh and eighth grade. Robert will be an asset to the Warwick music program for many years to come.”


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