Music is a true passion for Andrew Mikula ’15, one which he expresses not only through playing the cello but also through singing and producing music electronically. Mikula has played in Symphonia through all four years of high school and is also a member of Keynotes and the advanced Music Technology class.
Mikula has participated in the Wellesley Public Schools in-school orchestra program since 5th grade and was also a part of the Rivers Youth Symphony Orchestra. “I remember that I first was drawn to the cello during a 4th grade assembly promoting music lessons run through the school,” he said. “The representative cello teacher played a piece from Harry Potter, and I was instantly hooked.”
Mikula was also a part of the middle school chorus throughout his three years, and after taking a break his freshman and sophomore years to explore other electives, has been a part of Keynotes for two years.
The social and collaborative aspects of these programs are very important to Mikula. “Chorus and orchestra have been great ways of meeting new people who share common interests with me,” he said. “It’s also an important musical skill to match the tone and articulation of others in the ensemble, as well as being able to understand how the various parts of the score fit together.”
Not only does Mikula enjoy performing, but he is also passionate about creating music online. “I remember becoming interested in making music electronically after listening to music from video games I played when I was in middle school,” he said. “In 2011, I convinced my parents to buy me FL Studio, a piece of music production software. I decided to really work on improving my electronic music production skills by taking the Music Technology courses available at the high school starting in my junior year, and it’s helped a lot!”
Mikula often uploads his creations to the entertainment and social media web site Newgrounds.com. “Newgrounds is a very intimate web community far away from the morass of YouTube and Facebook, something which I really value in a web site. It’s probably one of the only places in the whole world where I feel completely comfortable,” said Mikula. Last summer, Mikula started an audio contest on Newgrounds and is grateful for the support he received from this online community. “So many of my friends, many of them more experienced than me or even with administrative powers on the site, helped me do it. I’ve never even met any of these people in real life! The contest ran from August through September 2014, and I learned a lot while running it. I think all of this illustrates how music has helped me to connect with a lot of other individuals and to broaden my horizons.”
Music plays a significant role in Mikula’s life, and he has found success in balancing this passion with the rest of his life. When asked if he believes music has helped him in school in any way, Mikula responded: “Yes! My musical experiences have taught me self-discipline, perseverance, and many other things… I’m actually also an avid creative writer, and music helps inspire my writing in many ways. I like music that puts an image in your head, and I take that image and turn it into text. As Albert Einstein once said, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ I’m also quite interested in math, and I think that music and math are both very natural. I’ve based several electronic pieces of mine off of mathematical sequences, including Pi, 1! 2! 3! (etc.), and Fibonacci’s sequence. I’m so nerdy!”
Mikula does sometimes struggle with juggling school and his musical endeavors. “On a day-to-day basis, I often have to force myself to realize that my homework is a priority over, say, playing around with effects in FL Studio,” he said; however overall he feels that music has been a very positive influence in his life. “I think making music in general is a really important method I have of expressing how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking,” he said.
In the future, Mikula hopes to continue to pursue music in whatever way he can. “I’d love to keep music in my life,” he said, “I want to keep playing the cello, singing, and making music in FL Studio. I’m not sure I want to major in music in college, though. Getting a steady career in music is very hard.” Looking even further into the future, Mikula knows music will always be a prominent part of his life: “Hopefully, I’ll be able to join a town orchestra or choir in adulthood, and I’ll be able to produce music electronically as long as I have a computer!”
(Julia Hartnett ’16, Business and Managing Editor)