Ashlee Sung | Music & Mental Health

Young lady with viola

Ashlee Sung is a 15 year-old sophomore in high school. She has studied violin for 12 years and joined Sharon Harman’s violin studio in 2019. She participates in the PYSO Philharmonic Orchestra and her orchestra at Arcadia High School.

Ashlee launched a website on music and mental health where she aims to address and explore how music can help with anxiety and other mental health issues. Through the project she hopes to communicate her love of music and make a positive change in someone’s life.

PCM: When did you start your “Music Mental Health Website?
AS: I started my Music Mental Health Website project in June this year and finished it at the end of October.

PCM: What inspired you to start the project and what are your hopes for it in the future?
AS: My inspiration for this project started a few months ago during the pandemic where music and playing my violin had helped me cope with stress from online school and being isolated from others. Despite taking place on a zoom meeting, orchestra had been a major part of my happiness during freshman year because it was my time to relax, play music, and make friends. So knowing that music has the ability to bring people together and provide relief for my struggles, I wondered if I could help others experience the same miracles that music had brought to me. That is what I hope for my project in the future; that people struggling with mental health can continue to access my music resources as an outlet to release their emotions in a positive way

PCM: You take violin lessons with Sharon Harman and Music Theory with Dr. Kathryn Eames, and have also participated in our Chamber Music Intensive with Aimée Kreston. How have those experiences as a music student impacted your work on this project?
AS: Violin lessons with Ms. Sharon have taught me a lot about musicality and expression in my playing, which helps my project through the videos and music playlists I have created, as others can relate to the music more. Theory with Dr. Eames has strengthened my ability to improvise music and teach others how to create music on the spot for fun. The Chamber Music Intensive with Aimee Kreston in 2019 has taught me a lot about playing together as a group, and that communication and teamwork are essential, which has boosted my skills as a leader of many musicians, artists, and other people who helped with this project.

PCM: Are there any other music projects that you are involved in or are interested in exploring?
AS: Yes, I am currently in a club at my school, Music Makes Miracles, where we perform for gigs, retirement homes, charity concerts, etc.