Keilani Bolhuis, age sixteen, began her studies at PCM ten years ago and currently studies classical violin with Elizabeth Hedman, jazz piano with Amy Rowe, jazz violin with Megan Shung, and music theory with Kathryn Eames.
Keilani first began learning piano when she was six years old. She was immediately inspired by all of the sounds you could make on the piano. A few months later, she took up the violin to develop a more musical ear. “I loved learning the violin because my teachers made it really fun through Suzuki and music games”.
When Keilani was ten, she discovered jazz at a music summer camp. “The experience was eye-opening for me to realize all the different things I could do on my instrument”. Shortly after, she enrolled in PCM’s Summer Jazz Workshop and Jazz Combos with Dr. Ray Briggs.
This past summer, Keilani attended her first in-person jazz camp since March 2020: the Monterey Jazz Festival Summer Camp. Her piano instructors included Emmy-nominated Gerald Clayton and Christian Sands. “They really emphasized the importance of playing with different colors and listening to many different jazz recordings. Our combo teacher Malachi Whitson was really open-minded and encouraging, teaching us how to always listen and play off each other. It was also great that he was cool with me playing both jazz piano and jazz violin.”
Keilani has now started to learn more about digital music production and has begun arranging her own music. She enjoys turning her favorite film and popular music songs into pieces that she can play on violin and piano. Teacher Amy Rowe describes her as a student who “exudes a natural ability in music and is always open to new challenges”, and describes her improvisations as “always having a melodic sense to them”.
Last school year, Keilani’s hard work resulted in receiving the highest level of achievement in the Royal Conservatory of Music exams for violin and music theory. Additionally, she was accepted into the California Orchestra Directors Association’s December Honor Orchestra and its All-State Symphony in the spring. Keilani also received a merit award (one of 30 students!) at the 2022 Spotlight competition and won the branch and regional levels of the Southern California Junior Bach festival for her piano studies.
“I love PCM for the strong sense of community, for always supporting me, and for all the friendships I’ve made throughout the years. It’s made such a positive impact on my life and I’m eternally grateful.”
Keilani recently joined the Mariachi Club at school, received a 2022-2023 PCM Merit Scholarship, and continues to perform at various concerts on campus, including the after-concert hang for Wicked GOAT. Additionally, the Royal Conservatory of Music has awarded her the National Gold Medal and invited her to perform at the Celebration of Excellence Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in January. We look forward to sharing updates about her upcoming projects and performances. Keep up the good work, Keilani!