Student Spotlight: Aria Troupe |

Student Spotlight: Aria Troupe

Aria Troupe, a 17-year-old senior at Coal Ridge High School, plays bass in her high school's jazz band.
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Aria Troupe, a 17-year-old senior at Coal Ridge High School, has her hands full.

She plays a variety of instruments in multiple ensembles and bands at her high school, and she’s got big aspirations academically. While music is her passion, Troupe plans to double major in international relations and Middle Eastern studies at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Then, she thinks she’ll go to law school on the East Coast.

Troupe shared with the Post Independent how she became involved in music and why she thinks it’s so important to keep in public schools.

Post Independent: What instruments do you play?

Aria Troupe: I play the tuba, bass guitar, drums, piano, guitar, and alto saxophone.

PI: When and why did you start learning to play music?

AT: I taught myself how to play the piano when I was 8 years old. My mom got me a keyboard for Christmas, and the first song I taught myself was Beethoven’s “Für Elise.” I’ve had a love for the guitar ever since I could remember because my dad’s a musician, too. He would always play the guitar for me, so it’s always been a part of my life and was self-taught as well. In the 5th grade I joined band and decided to play percussion. My mom really influenced me in this decision because she was a percussionist in the wind ensemble when she was in high school. In the 7th grade I started playing bass in the jazz band, which has become the love of my life. Then in the 8th grade, I began playing the tuba in the concert band to challenge myself. Along the way, I picked up the alto for a new experience and loved playing it, too!

PI: Tell me about all the groups you play in at school.

AT: I play in the marching band, concert band and jazz band at Coal Ridge. Each band has a pretty distinct type of music that we play, so I appreciate the opportunity to play a wide range and variety of music. If I absolutely had to pick my favorite, I would say my favorite is jazz band. I absolutely love playing the bass guitar, the group I play with is amazing, and my band director Jay Duclo is awesome at what he does.

PI: In general, what do you like about band?

AT: Band is a great place to be. The people involved in band are genuinely amazing people who are passionate, creative, kind and smart. So we really build a sense of community. I also firmly believe in the value of music in education. I’m involved in a handful of AP and college-course classes at Coal Ridge, and band is really a great opportunity for me to wind down and enjoy myself. I think arts in public-school education have lost a lot of credit in years past. And people tend to value sports over the arts in high school. But I think there’s a lot of value in learning to read music, and it requires a deeper level of thinking and understanding to be able to know when the style of a song is right or wrong. That style of thinking isn’t taught in math or science classes.

PI: Are you interested in any other kinds of art?

AT: I absolutely love literature and English. It’s similar to music in that it becomes a completely other world. Literature and music are basically a way to express, escape and enjoy. It is a central part of all cultures, the epitome of what language is supposed to be.

PI: What are your plans for after graduation?

AT: Right now my plan is to attend the College of William and Mary in Virginia to double major in international relations and Middle Eastern studies and minor in music. In the long term I’d like to go into law school on the East Coast as well. I’m very close to my grandparents who live in Pennsylvania, and I want to be close to them.

PI: Do you see yourself sticking with music after school?

AT: No matter what happens, or what I study in college, music will always be a major part of my life. It may not be the path that I chose to go into professionally, but music is by far my No. 1 passion and will always be a part of who I am. I will always identify myself as a musician.

PI: In general, what do you love about music?

AT: Music can tell us more about ourselves than we can. Music is also unifying. Among diversity, music can unite, and that’s what makes it special.

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