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Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Piano Prodigy

Jonathan+Flores%2C+a+native+Honduran%2C+was+taught+to+play+the+piano+by+his+father.
Jonathan Flores, a native Honduran, was taught to play the piano by his father.

International Academy Student Jonathan Flores Shares His Gift

Maria Areyan Hernandez and Caroline Surratt

Freshman Jonathan Flores can play anything from Chopin to Mozart as if he were trained by the musicians themselves. Flores practiced eight hours a day in his native country of Honduras, but he stopped when he moved to the United States.

“He guided me to play music, but it has always been my passion,” said Flores of his father, who was also a musician, “I grew up with music because of my dad. My dad plays classical music and he studied music around his time, but he did not continue. He used to play multiple instruments, and he taught me a little bit.”

Flores’ father encouraged him to pursue his passion for music by enrolling him at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música Francisco Ramon Diaz Zelaya (F.R.D.Z). The institution’s specialty is to teach and train young students to become musicians that can join different musical groups, inside the conservatory, such as La Banda Sinfónica Juvenil, La Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil, and focus-groups for wind, string, and percussion instruments. Teachers are graduates of the conservatory. In addition, they have teachers specialized on the generic subjects. While the conservatory is primarily a music school, it also teaches subjects such as biology, history, math, and language. “I used to work, go to school, and play the piano,” Flores said, describing his typical day back in Honduras. 

“I started school at 7 am. We first had three hours of music class. Then we were taught ‘regular subjects.’ Then we had our break and after that we had orchestra or band, then music language. Then we finished with the regular subjects being taught and we were given time to study,” Flores said. 

Flores started playing piano when he was 12, but his talents are not limited to the piano. “I can play the guitar, the bass, the cello, the drums, contrabass, and wind instruments like saxophone and trumpets,” said Flores.

However, Flores’ main focus is the piano. “I’ve been playing the piano for five years… it has always been my passion since I was little.”

“I was taught by Kumi Miyagawa. She is from Japan and she traveled from Canada to Honduras to teach us [music],” he said

Flores has been playing the piano and six other instruments since age 12.

In Honduras, Flores played piano in front of large audiences. “My first experience when I played piano on stage — it captivated me. I was [in front] of 1,000 people and I was so excited and enchanted of the work that I had [accomplished],” he said.

But, something changed when he moved to the United States in June 2018. His ability to play challenging pieces, such as Fantasie Impromptu by Chopin, has declined since he came to the United States.

Flores is enrolled in the T.C. music program. He is taking orchestra as one of his classes, but he does not feel the same way about music as he did at his old school. “As of right now, I’m really not practicing [or receiving piano lessons] .” he said. Flores went from being surrounded by music all day to only reading sheet music in his orchestra class.

“It’s been nine months since I have played the piano, so when I went with the orchestra [to play] like I used to, I noticed that now I cannot [play the piano] as well as I used to do it in the past… I feel bad because [playing piano] it is something that brings me passion — it has always brought me passion,” said Flores.

Flores does not feel as passionate and excited as when he was in Honduras attending the Conservatory. “For me it is a new experience” being in the T.C. music program and living in the US, “I stopped playing the piano for so long, so since I stopped I did not feel the same,” he said. 

Flores feels that all his progress, skills learned, and effort that he got at the conservatory was lost once he moved into the United States. “I feel stuck,” he said.

His hidden talent for music would not have been discovered if it was not for his Algebra teacher, Su Yin Hu, who caught him reminiscing about his time back in Honduras. Flores was watching a video of himself playing when Hu did a double take because she had not known that one of her students was a classically trained pianist. 

“As a student, he’s polite to his teachers and peers. He is really helpful to his classmates, especially the new ones, when learning new content. He has told me that he works after school too so I am very impressed at how capable he is at balancing school, work, and his passion, the piano,” she said. 

While moving to the United States has been a setback, he has still kept his dream to continue playing the piano and one day perform at Carnegie Hall. “For me… when I saw Lang for the first time – I wanted to be like him, I wanted to do the same thing he was doing. It was good,” said Flores about his inspiration Lang Lang, a Chinese virtuoso pianist known for his youthful success. Flores began reading articles about Carnegie Hall which further inspired him to pursue his dream. 

Although Flores is not currently playing the piano, he continues to listen to music in his free time and read sheet music.“I only live with my mother and she supports me in everything that I make a choice on,” he said. His mom supports Flores by encouraging his dreams. She said, “If you want to continue in music, you can do it just look what is better for your future.”

Flores has a motto; ‘Nunca termines hasta ser el músico que siempre haz deseado ser’ which roughly translates to “never finish until you become the musician you’ve always wished for to be.”

Flores said, “I feel like music never ends. We always keep studying and learn and experience new things and if I can take [being a pianist] as a professional career, for me it would be better.”

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