Playing it cool


De Lila Green

Tim Schiller, sophomore, uses music to relieve stress and express emotions.

Though he had never held a guitar when his uncle gifted him one for his 14th birthday, he learned to play the instrument within a year and half. He never took a lesson. Music hadn’t always been a significant part of his life, but once Timothy Schiller, sophomore, began learning to play guitar, it quickly became an emotional outlet. 

“When I was about 8 or 9, I really wanted to learn how to play piano. There was no major inspiration, I just gradually [became] interested,” Schiller said. “I started listening [to music] more carefully and thinking ‘That sounds really good. I want to know how to do that.’”

Over six years, Schiller learned to play the piano, the clarinet, the tenor saxophone and finally the guitar. While he plays the former three instruments in competitions, guitar is strictly for fun, which helps him stay passionate and motivated about music

“Music is such a big part of my life that it’s really taxing on my mental and emotional health when [I start to lose passion for playing other instruments],” Schiller said. “Playing guitar serves as a mediator. It doesn’t have to sound perfect because I’m not playing it for an audience, I’m playing it for myself.”

It doesn’t have to sound perfect because I’m not playing it for an audience, I’m playing it for myself.”

Playing guitar helps Schiller stay motivated to play his other instruments, but it also serves as a way to deal with and process emotions. One of his closest friends, Amaya Gaus, sophomore, can tell how beneficial playing guitar has been for him. 

“He sees [guitar] as his escape. Whenever things are tough for him personally, [music] is what he falls back to,” Gaus said. “It brings [him] a sense of accomplishment, just to know that [he] started without any knowledge of this instrument and now can play entire songs.”

Schiller sees himself as a sensitive and emotional person, and music helps him reflect and express these emotions. Although writing music was difficult and frustrating, Schiller found that poetry helped him put emotions into words. 

“Poetry helps me express emotions that can’t necessarily be explained through just a conversation or a few words,” Schiller said. “If I tried to write a one page story or narrative, it’s going to turn into 100 pages. I can’t fit all the stuff that I have in my head into that space. But if I have a poem, I can turn a big idea or an emotion into five, ten or 14 lines.”

According to Schiller, music and poetry have helped him grow and mature as a person. Since the start of high school, he has become much more confident and comfortable in his own skin. Priya Gangasingh, sophomore, became close friends with him after bonding over their shared interest in music. 

“Music is a big part of my life and [Schiller’s] life, and I think our appreciation for it helped us grow closer as friends,” Gangasingh said. “If you need [a] shoulder to cry on, Tim’s there for you. He’s someone that you just feel comfortable with.”