Sandra On aids sophomore Alyssa Nguyen in learning the cello. Photo by Madee Moua.By Madelyn Moua, Staff Writer
Sandra On started playing the cello in the sixth grade, when she first saw the movie “High School Musical,” gaining motivation from the young man who says, “I play the cello… it’s like a giant violin.” The comical line sparked an interest that would forever change the eleven-year-old. Since that experience, On has continued to learn cello and other instruments such as the piano and guitar.
In high school, On was socially active; she participated in many clubs and extracurriculars. She was the Photo Manager of Baron Banner, Historian of orchestra and President of Friday Night Live. On top of the leadership positions she held, she still found the time to come back to FVHS’s orchestra to help better the cello section. On decided to come back and intern for the school because she wanted to gain teaching experience. She also enjoys working with the students here because they listen to her words well and respect her.
“I really like the orchestra here; the dynamic is good. I also wanted experience trying to work with students, because in the future I would like to give private lessons to other people. Hopefully the experience that comes from interning will help me get into the UCLA orchestra if I end up transferring there, or just give me a lot of knowledge on how to approach students and their difficulties with playing,” said On.
Interning has helped On in having better time management. She schedules her classes to her pick and specifically makes room to balance music, interning and other hobbies like baking and photography. She currently takes private cello classes and attends piano school. When asked about what qualifies On to work as an intern, she responded with her seven years experience of playing the cello as well as taking learning experiences from her cello teachers and turning them into teaching examples.
For those interested in playing a new instrument, On has advice to offer.
“Just go at it, if you choose the instrument. It’s more like the instrument chooses you and if you don’t want to play, then don’t play it and choose another instrument. But for a new cello player or for someone jumping into a new instrument, practice and get a lot of help from your friends who have experience with other instruments. And also, invest in a really good private teacher, because you will not be able to learn on your own if you just join an orchestra that is at the high school level; you’re required to have some basic experience,” said On.
With NYU in mind, On currently attends Irvine Valley College with the hopes of transferring there as her first choice. Her other choices include UCLA or UC Berkeley. On has a long future ahead of her, concerning music and other arts.