Acoustic Turmoil


Ruth Meehan

Aizay Etler poses for photo during orchestra at City High.

Ruth Meehan, Reporter

When most people think of composers, they think of dead, old, white guys. Names like Bach, Mozart or Beethoven, all classical composers are usually the first to come to mind. People’s first thoughts usually don’t turn to someone alive, let alone someone as young as a teenager.

Aizay Etler, ‘22, is a student composer, writing music for lots of different instruments including harp, flute, piano, and viola. He has even written for whole orchestras. He may only be a freshman but has written and published thirty-three songs on his youtube channel.

Etler’s music is not what you would correlate with the pieces you’d hear at a band or orchestra concert here at City High. His music uses complex rhythms, syncopation, and harmony, completely different from the classical music you usually hear. It’s amazing to think that someone who only recently started composing could already be so accomplished

“I really started getting into composing in the January of 2017,” he said. “A lot of my inspiration comes from video games, for a while video game music was exclusively what I listened to.”

His work has come a long way since then. In May of 2018, the South East Junior High Eighth Grade Orchestra performed a song written by Aizay entitled Acoustic Turmoil.

“It was an interesting experience for me,” he says. “During the concert, the orchestra director called me up by name, I was like ‘oh god,’ I actually wrote this and I’m standing up in front of an audience of people about to listen to a song that I wrote. That’s not something a lot of people get to experience.”

Mrs. Schrock, the orchestra director at South East Junior High was the first director to lead one of Etler’s pieces.

Several students in the Eighth-Grade Orchestra last year kept telling me that I needed to hear Aizay’s music and check out his youtube channel, so one day I asked him about it and he said, ‘Yes, I’ve written a piece for our orchestra.’ That was the first knew about the piece.”

Ben Faden, ‘22 got the chance to play Etler’s piece in the orchestra concert.

“Aizay’s music is amazing and I love all of the work he does,” said Faden. Faden was far from the only supportive musician. All of the students were very excited to play the piece.

“Everyone in the orchestra was very supportive of Aizay and playing his piece. I think most of the players connected with the music because it was written by a peer that had grown up in a similar environment [to them] since they are the same age,” said Mrs. Schrock.“Every composer is influenced by their surroundings, and Aizay has clearly been influenced by the music that has been popular in his lifetime.”

It is important that students enjoy the music they are performing, but the opinion that matters the most is the directors.

“I really liked the piece,” said Mrs. Schrock. “One of the first things I noticed about the composition was how rhythmic it was – it was rhythmically complex, but not beyond the ability of our ensemble. I was also intrigued by his use of accidentals in the melody, which gave it both a minor, introverted feeling, but also direction and a sense of hope.”

Etler encourages everyone to try out composing. “If you have something you want to make, just make it,” said Etler. “Don’t care about what other people will think. Even if you think it’s bad it will get better over time. So you might as well just get started now.”

If you want to hear Etler’s music, you can go to his YouTube channel.