Gulliver Prep senior Aaron Finkel is the school’s Silver Knight nominee in Music and Dance. He’s a musician who plays four instruments: clarinet, alto sax, piano and soprano sax.
“I’m in the school’s jazz combo–which is run by us but not the teacher,” Finkel says. “The ensembles are run independently. They are part of the music program but not run by the teacher. We have what we call a rotating schedule of sectionals and ensembles.”
Finkel stays after school two to three times a week to practice. Outside of school he plays solos and in ensembles. The outside events are run through Gulliver but are not part of the music class.
For the past three summers, Finkel has been a counselor at the University of Miami’s Young Musicians program.
“I work with students in groups or six to twelve students,” he says. “In addition to escorting them to classes, I perform with them in classes. We develop a good relationship with the students.”
Finkel learned to love music when he was quite young.
“I’ve been playing the piano since I was five years old,” he says. “Clarinet I started in fourth grade. The alto sax I started three years ago in the summer of my freshman year and the soprano sax just after that.”
He plays the clarinet the most often. It’s his favorite instrument.
“I do plan to play in college,” he says. “I’m not looking to pursue music as a profession. I still want to keep playing music because it’s a huge part of my life.”
He’s considering a law career, which is a family tradition. Finkel says outside of music, writing is his strong point, so he feels he can pursue anything he wants.
“I’m also passionate about the environment,” he says. “I took a summer program at a university with an environmental activist. It was a mini think tank about politics.”
He was part of the pilot program for the American Government and Leadership program at Gettysburg.
“Now I’m friends online with the professor for the naval academy,” he says. “It was a great experience.”
Finkel has applied for early decision at Emory and regular decision at Tufts, University of Florida, Northwestern, Washington University in St. Louis and Amherst College.
“I applied Political Science with a minor or double major in music,” he says. “That may change when I set further in college experience.”
His high school experience includes being on the board of the Music Club and a member of the Baby Bulls Academy program, which is affiliated with Teach For America.
“Twice a month we go to Holmes Elementary and we read and write with third grade students,” Finkel says. “Many of them are not on a third grade (reading) level.”
He worked with one third grader who read on a first grade level. Some of the kids have trouble sounding out easy words such as seven or farm. The reading sessions are successful in helping the children get to grade level.
“We are crossing cultural boundaries and I think that’s important,” he says.
This summer Finkel restarted G-PAWS, the Gulliver Prep Animal Welfare Society.
“We’re going to be volunteering at animal shelters,” he says. “It’s going to be an exciting year. One of the teachers is one of the directors of the Humane Society of Miami. We’re going to promote adoptions. We’re going to participate in walks.”
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld