Warwick Valley Middle School sixth grader Ashlyn Brown tries to practice the cello as much as possible. Sometimes, however, her busy schedule makes that difficult.
“With all the other things, it’s kind of hard,” Ashlyn said. “I usually practice more on the weekends because those are my calmer days.”
The other things occupying Ashlyn’s time include performing in the WVMS play, helping with the Park Avenue Elementary School play, taking dance and acting classes and preparing for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals with her team.
She also takes private cello lessons and plays in Fiddle Frenzy and the Wire Choir.
Ashlyn starting playing the violin in first grade and taking lessons in second grade. But when the time came to pick an instrument for school in the third grade, she decided to choose something different.
Why the cello?
“I was looking at all the different instrument choices and I thought the viola was a little bit too similar (to the violin) and then I started to play the cello and then I just really liked it,” Ashlyn said. “I liked how it was in the lower section of strings, and I liked how it was a little bit bigger (than a violin) so you don’t lose it.”
The biggest adjustment Ashlyn had to make in moving from the violin to the cello was that the cello bow is larger and you hold it differently. She made the adjustment well enough to be selected for the Elementary All-County Orchestra last year.
“Ashlyn is an enthusiastic and innovative musician,” WVMS music teacher Tamara Moser said. “She is the first to step up and try new things. She is a well-rounded musician and I can always count on her to volunteer for any extra performances.”
Ashlyn is also dancing and playing in the ensemble in the WVMS production of “Working.” Outside of school, she recently played Sally in the Acting Out Playhouse’s in-person production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Odyssey of the Mind
Ashlyn has been involved with Odyssey of the Mind since second grade. This year her WVMS team placed first in the regional competition and second in the state round, which both were virtual this year. The team is currently making some changes in one of the videos they will submit for the Odyssey World Finals.
Academically, Ashlyn’s favorite subjects are mathematics and ELA. She was on the honor roll for the first and second marking periods this year.
“Ashlyn is a wonderful girl,” her music teacher said, “with a large heart for people - and a bigger one for music.”