Alumni Check-In | Arianna Aviña

Arianna Aviña began studying music at PCM in 2014. She studied percussion with TJ Troy and piano with Nic Gerpe. Arianna played percussion in her high school marching band until she graduated in 2018, and is now pursuing her Bachelor’s of Music in Percussion Performance at Cal State Long Beach.

Young woman playing percussion intruments with a symphony

One of Arianna’s last performances with the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Symphony, prior to the shutdown.

PCM: Where are you right now and what do you do?
AA: I’m still going to Cal State Long Beach trying to get my degree as a Percussion Performance Major. I’ve been in Pasadena since the beginning of the semester.

PCM: These are truly unprecedented times for our country, for our community, and for us as individuals. What has changed for you since the beginning of the pandemic? What are some of the challenges or positive experiences you’ve had during this time?
AA: Like a lot of other people, everything has kind of changed for me. We were told not to come to school anymore in March and we weren’t able to come back to practice, with restrictions, until the beginning of this semester. So I barely got to play instruments throughout that time, and I decided to take a break from music for a while as well.

Moving back home has been pretty tough. I like going out and being on my own, so not being able to do so was very tough at first, and still is at times. Percussion is very family based, so not seeing my friends and playing with them hit really hard.

On the other hand, some positive things include more time for reading and learning things I didn’t have too much time for, baking, bonding more with my family and close friends, and learning things about myself I would have never discovered if it weren’t for all this personal time. I also got to explore nature more during the summer and that was very fulfilling.

PCM: Looking back at your time at PCM, what is an experience, event, or moment that made a lasting impression on you?
AA: This might sound cheesy but my whole time at PCM made a lasting impression on me, in every way. I started going there as a freshman and there were only three percussion students. It was so fun. I had never been in a percussion ensemble, besides drum line, and I had never taken private lessons. Experiencing both of those things changed my life! Especially studying with Mr. Troy. I wouldn’t be where I am now without him. I still think about the things he has said to me almost everyday. I would definitely recommend him to any percussionist.

Performing at PCM was also my first time doing solo performances, which helped so much in college. Especially having to prep for my senior recital. People I go to school with now have never had a recital until their junior/senior year, so having one already makes me feel very grateful.

The faculty has definitely made a lasting impression on me as well. Very great people. Working in the office was a great opportunity for me. Everyone who works there is so cool and very fun to work with.

PCM: What are you most looking forward to in the future? Do you have any upcoming projects we should know about?
AA: One of the things I’m most looking forward to in the future is being able to perform with and for people again. Nothing beats the feeling of an applause. Also to be able to watch movies in a theater and enjoy the feeling of a crowd at a social event, especially concerts.