Hard work, countless hours leads to All-State honors


photo or infographic by Emily Meachen

BEST OF THE BEST. During the opening ceremonies of the spring semester, junior Aaron Johnston performs during a fine arts showcase. Johnston is a member of the All-State and will attend the clinic and concert during TMEA this week in San Antonio.

For most teenagers July means going to the beach and hanging out with friends, but for junior Aaron Johnston July was when he started practicing and preparing for All-State auditions. 

Johnston leaves tomorrow for the three day clinic at TMEA All-State. He auditioned and successfully made the band which will perform during the closing of the Texas Music Educators Association conference in San Antonio.  

“I leave for All-state 7 a.m. Wednesday morning to San Antonio,” Johnston said. “For the All-State audition process I had to play 16 separate pieces of music. As you get closer and closer to the All-State level more and more people get confident and are able to play their music.” 

Time management was key for Johnston’s success. 

“Finding time to practice is just one big balancing act you have to do,” Johnston said.  “I started practicing my etudes in July. I had intense time management, I had to make sure that all my school work was done.”

For the All-State audition process Aaron had to learn 16 etudes. An etude is an instrumental musical composition, usually short and designed to provide practice material for perfecting a particular musical skill.

“I would spend at the height of it three hours practicing etudes and two hours practicing scales,” he said.  “I wouldn’t go to sleep till late, but hard work pays off.”

During auditions it can be very stressful because the musicians are being judged on every skill and every mistake.

“I’ve been auditioning ever since I’ve been in fifth grade, so I’m lucky enough to get that experience,” Johnston said. “During the auditions, I always make sure I am breathing properly and that I am not sweating. I constantly had something to wipe my hands on like a handkerchief.”

Going to All-State is one of the biggest accomplishments you can achieve in a band. As a junior, Johnston has one more year to repeat this feat.

“Going to All-State gives me a confidence boost for next year’s competitions,” Johnston said.

In order to make the group of elite musicians,he had to meet certain requirements. He had to beat everyone in his room. 

“I had to win the region and area room,” Johntson said. “I am the best bass clarinetist in the area.”