Every morning, Junior Sam Floores arrives at zero period to rehearse with his nationally ranked high school band. His accomplishments reflect his long lasting commitment to playing the jazz guitar.
“I started playing jazz guitar in 6th grade,” said Floores. “I wanted to be in jazz band at Arden, so I felt that the guitar was the best instrument and I ended up liking it a lot.”
His innate talent led him to be recognized through his advanced band classes where he participates in both AM Jazz Ensemble and Smamble, which showcase their skills around the globe.
Floores traveled to Savannah, Georgia with PM Jazz Ensemble, which he was in last year, and New York, Ireland and Montarry with AM Jazz Ensemble to participate in prestigious showcases for high school bands .
“I would’ve never been able to travel as much without music,” said Floores.
Their trips have not only been fun experiences to celebrate hard work, but also opportunities to meet some of the biggest names in jazz in the biggest hubs for professional musicians.
“Last year in New York City I got to sit in with a famous jazz band at a club called Jazz Standard,” said Floores.
He met a band named “Mingus Big Band,” a jazz ensemble that performs weekly at the club that Floores had the opportunity to attend. Seeing the life of a professional musician, exposed him to opportunities in the music industry.
Meeting professional musicians inspires Floores and his peers to push their musical capabilities and expand their love for it. Pat Metheny, jazz guitarist and composer, sparked interest in the jazz genre.
“[Metheny] introduced me to jazz and I was inspired when I saw him play,” Floores said.
Following Metheny let Floores to become completely immersed in the jazz and the jazz fusion genre, allowing him to learn more about the music that interests him.
In music, students can emulate famous artists by playing their tunes, or even be influenced by them to create music of their own.
Not only does Floores enjoy jazz, but he appreciates other styles like R&B, which focuses on musicality in some similar ways to jazz.
“For R&B, I love the artist Daniel Caesar,” said Floores. “My favorite song by him is “‘Get You.’”
Floores’s love for music extends beyond the trips and professional artists that influence the industry. For him, music balances mental health with school, band and life.
“It’s a stress reliever,” said Floores. “Whenever I get stressed I play songs.”
Having music as an outlet allows Floores to relax, have fun and simply enjoy the art of guitar.
The talented Rio band further fuels his passion for music, and gives him people to share his love for music with.
“At Rio, everyone takes it [band] seriously,” Floores said. “Music is the focus and at other schools it’s not as much of a priority.”
Guitar will follow Floores through college, as he hopes to minor in Jazz Studies and Music. He doesn’t plan on making a career out of it, but rather foster his love for the guitar by just staying in touch with the instrument.
The local band community, as well as music communities across the world, have given Sam Floores a reason to love music, and the guitar gives him a reason to be a part of it.