Warwick Valley student artist of the week: Owen Machingo


Warwick Valley student artist of the week: Owen Machingo

November 1, 2019

‘You’re giving them something to hear and think about. Maybe you’re helping them to be happy when they hear something. Or, maybe you’re helping yourself to be happy.’     


Owen Machingo playing drumsThat beat…beat…beat… which gives rhythm to music is courtesy of the talents of percussionists, and as sixth-grader Owen Machingo will say, it’s important that rhythm is spot-on.

Percussion instruments — which make sounds simply by being hit — do more than just keep the music’s rhythm. They also make specialized sounds and even add excitement and color to a piece of music.  Unlike most musicians, a percussionist will usually play many different instruments in one piece of music.

As a member of the middle school’s band, Owen is experienced with the percussion instruments used by the band, though the snare drums are his favorite.

 “He really enjoys performing and discussing music,” said Ashley Head, his band teacher. “He comes prepared to each class with a positive attitude. He is organized and makes connections from the music to other areas. Owen has a positive energy with music and is always looking to learn more. He helps others and is kind. He participates in class discussions and brings ideas to class.”

These are among the reasons why Owen is this week’s Warwick Valley student artist of the week.

Owen has been playing percussion prior to fourth-grade, a time when student and instrument matches are made.  

“I have a full drum set at home and have been playing for a long time,” he said. “I’m good at this and I know what I’m doing. I can keep a good beat and I can keep a steady beat. The snare drum, it’s probably what I’m best at.”

Keeping the right beat

Owen, who has attended New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) solo festivals, looks forward to a challenge in music and doing his part to keep the piece of music played by the band at the right beat.

“The conductor is the person most people look at to keep the beat,” said Owen. “If not, you listen to the percussionist. We have to look at the conductor all the time.  Most of the time, the lower pitched instruments will keep the song steady. The percussionists keep the beat. And you don’t want to the song to speed up in the middle. It won’t sound right.”

Playing percussion has also reminded Owen of how music helps in other areas of life.

Owen  Machingo with a snare drum“You have to know math,” he said. “You have to know how to count to the 16th. If you don’t know how to count, you can’t be a percussionist. So, yes, this might help you with counting.”

Owen, who is a fan of Imagine Dragons and is learning how to play some of the group’s music on the drums, felt there were other benefits to being a musician.

There’s more to music than just sounds

“It does help you to visualize things because you can’t miss a note,” he said. “If you miss a note, this could mess up another person. It also helps you with your coordination because you have to do different things while you’re counting.”

Music even offers opportunities to become more poised and confident, he felt, which will be helpful with other special or everyday things a person does.  

“When you get onto the stage, normally you’re nervous,” he said “But then you calm down. You’re not scared.”    

Because of the added benefits, Owen does encourage others to get involved with music.

“You should try it,” he said. “It might help you in a way. It might ‘talk’ to you, or maybe not. You might like it, or maybe not. But you tried. Plus, you’re doing something for someone else. You’re giving them something to hear and think about. Maybe you’re helping them to be happy when they hear something. Or, maybe you’re helping yourself to be happy.”     




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