Zuzu Shelton is an IB junior at Lubbock High School who participates in Chamber Orchestra and Art. As we discussed what she loves about fine arts, Zuzu had a unique perspective of both of the fine arts she takes part in. To her, fine arts allow for friendships, creativity, perseverance, and originality. They have taught her to go with the flow and accept her own efforts, while also providing a bit of a break from the harder classes.

Zuzu finds her fine arts enjoyable because of the connections she has with other people and the close bonds that have formed over time. Regarding orchestra, she finds that she is constantly surrounded by sweet people, and the fact that they are all very passionate about music allows them to find relatability to one another. Even though creating music in itself is very fun, the people who participate alongside her in orchestra are a huge part of what makes the class rewarding. Zuzu explains that simply being around those in her orchestra and getting to do something she really enjoys is always gratifying and has the power to turn any bad day into a good day. Due to her participation in orchestra throughout middle school she has been able to get close to those who have been in her class for the last 6 years. Most of her closest friends are all in orchestra because of how much time they spend together in class and outside of class. These relationships are not ones of mere acquaintances, rather they constantly make sure they’re all doing the best they can. Joy can also come from the happiness of audiences as well. Zuzu describes that “it’s also really great when you have a performance …and you see everyone in the crowd just smiling…it’s nice to know that you’re making them happy while also doing something you’re really passionate about.”

Although being with others or performing for others is a significant part of what makes her fine arts fun, Zuzu also appreciates the solitary workspace found in her art class and the relaxing time to herself. For her, art is a “chill time” and a time in which she can genuinely be “living in the present and not worrying about other things.” The class is a bit of a release, and a break between the core subjects that demand a lot from her. For a period of time she is able to not think so much about the upcoming due dates and assignments for her classes but instead can give her brain a time to relax. She describes that with art, “it’s not so much you have to follow every rule,” and instead she is allowed to do whatever she wishes, which is quite different in comparison to core classes. Not only is art able to be a time to destress, but there is freedom in what can be produced. Zuzu goes on to explain that art is the time to “let your mind do whatever it wants.” A good part of enjoyment from the activity stems from what can influence your artwork. Whether it’s music or hearing someone’s rather strange conversation in the background, many things can have a profound impact on what you begin to think of. She goes on to say “the weirdest things will influence you…things that you don’t expect are going to influence you.” Ultimately, this enables her to draw inspiration from other people, other ideas, and other pieces of art, in order to form her own ideas creatively. 

When dealing with what each fine art had taught her she goes on to explain that she had learned of perseverance and the importance of validating everyone’s originality. For Orchestra, she described that “you have to practice and keep trying.” The value of persistence is practiced because “you can’t give up after one bad day, you have to keep going.” She explains that it can be very difficult to keep pressing on at first but once you reach a certain point, you feel that all your hard work has paid off. You can put days, weeks or even months worth of practicing into a performance. Once she is able to play for someone she describes an exhilarating feeling of thinking to herself, ‘Wow, I did that,’ and although it may not be perfect to her, it always ends up being something she is very proud of. 

With art, Zuzu has been able to realize that “not everyone’s going to be great at the same thing.” With many different styles and different ways to approach making different pieces, some people are better at one style and not another. She believes “everyone has their own style and that’s ok, you shouldn’t feel bad if you look at your piece of art and go ‘wow, that’s not as good as someone else’s.’ ” Art has taught her that everyone is different and with these different talents that people possess, each individual has some things they’re better at and some things they’re not so great at. She has truly learned to be comfortable with what she produces and to simply be proud of it. Zuzu describes that art has also “really taught me to be more creative and to go outside my comfort zone.” Again, she doesn’t have to strive for perfection but instead learns to be content with her version of production and allows herself to take pride in her own diligence. 

Fine arts alone have allowed Zuzu to learn great ideals that will be useful for her endeavours throughout life, but her fine art teachers have also been able to teach her valuable lessons. With the coronavirus having a huge impact on the educational functioning of this year, she acknowledges that there is a struggle for many teachers to educate in person and through online means, yet she feels that she’s learned “it’s ok to not understand what’s happening in the world at the moment.” Zuzu credits her teachers with teaching her that it’s ok to go with the flow. She also describes them both as not necessarily caring what people think or say about them and with that they have the ability to be true to themselves. She goes on to say, “they’re both also very, very funny…they both just put a smile on your face without…even realizing it because they just have a good carefree spirit.” 

One teacher that particularly sticks out to Zuzu and had a substantial impact on her life was her elementary music teacher. She describes that having a music class in elementary “really opened me up to a bunch of different ways you can make music.” She goes on to say that “she was always happy and so it also made me think that music was a really happy, cheerful subject.” Zuzu also explains that “she was very passionate about her job and so it was really nice to have that kind of role model in my life” and from then on she believed  “music was always going to be something that could make me happy.” 

Zuzu affirmed that her fine arts have quite an impact on her academics. She puts it as “having a fine art period really gives your brain a chance to relax because going to a core class to another core class can be very tiring and very overwhelming and so having that kind of break in your day is really useful.” Zuzu counts herself as lucky to have a break in between really hard and difficult classes, because she is able to calm down, relax, and reorganize her mind. This moment of refocusing helps her grade-wise because she is then able to renew her mind in order to grasp concepts of her other classes and pay greater attention. 

Overall, her participation in fine arts has made Zuzu a happier person because of the opportunity to do what she loves and have the arts in her school day. Ultimately, in her eyes fine arts make her a “nicer person to be around and more creative.” For Zuzu, fine arts are a huge part of who she is and not only provide a sort of opportunity to have a break throughout her days, but also enable her to find peace on her own and form genuine friendships through persistently pursuing her arts.

This article was written by Savannah Trevino. Savannah is currently a junior at Lubbock High School. Aside from Robin’s nest, she also enjoys participating in UIL Ready Writing, NHS, and Model UN.

This article was edited by Helen Xie. Helen is currently a sophomore at Lubbock High School and is involved in many extracurriculars in addition to volunteer work, including Model UN and Robotics.

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