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Updated: Nov 8, 2019

by SARAH WELGARZ - An inside look at one Westfield student’s journey in the music industry

Rhodes performing for Carmel Porchfest on Sept. 16.

WESTFIELD, Ind. (Feb. 1, 2019) - Sitting in the corner of the music room in her house, sophomore Emily Rhodes (10) sat deep in concentration, strumming her guitar, struggling to find the perfect chord progression. Finally, the notes came together, as if she could hear their whimsical sounds intertwining with one another. Music has always been there for Rhodes, and it is something that she continues to use as an outlet to express herself.

After seeing music affect the lives of generations of family members, she was inspired to explore a passion that she has come to love.

“My grandma sang and my great grandma sang, and eventually I joined choir and I liked that, so I decided to get vocal lessons,” Rhodes said.

After a while, Rhodes decided to begin performing publicly, but not without facing obstacles.

“When I first started, I wouldn’t be prepared or I would worry so much that it would affect my performance,” Rhodes said.

But, before she can even worry about preparing for a gig, she has to land one. This is something she has struggled with, especially being a young musician.

“When I was really little and I would go looking for gigs, they would definitely favor the older people over the younger,” Rhodes said. “So when it came to cutting a gig or determining whether or not someone got in, it was age. I guess that’s respectable because older people may have more experience, but it could not be because they could be playing for as many years as I have.”

Rhodes enjoys performing covers, but there is something special about writing originals, which is almost a kind of therapy for her. In this way, she can express her worries and work through difficulties.

“I won’t write about bad things that happen in my life,” Rhodes said. “If I do, it will be telling myself it’s okay. It’s almost like a friend telling you it’s going to be okay or how to work things out. I do that to myself through my song.”

Though it can cause nerves, performing is a passion, and something that Rhodes hopes she can do for the rest of her life.

“Once I’m up there, I just feel really comfortable and if the crowd is good, it can be fun,” Rhodes said. “I’m super content, like I belong. It will always be there, be a part of me.”

Playing for others is exciting without a doubt, but Rhodes also uses music as an escape from the busy day to day life of a high schooler; it is her calm in the middle of the storm.

“Music is a distraction or just a relief from life,” Rhodes said. “When it’s getting busy I’ll just listen to music or play music, and it’s just a good thing to kind of relax me and not have to worry about pleasing another person doing it.”

As for advice for other musicians, Rhodes wants everyone to be comfortable with sharing their talents.

“I hope that [they] don’t really worry about what other people think but just are doing it purely for the music and their love for it,” Rhodes said.

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