Kyle Soliz Trains His Way to the Top

Jordyn Grist, Staff Writer


J. Grist

Fingers may brush against piano keys playfully, or they may practice pressing the brass keys of an alto or soprano saxophone. The usual sound most people think of when they hear the word “saxophone” is smooth jazz; classical music is associated with the piano.]

Senior Kyle Soliz experiments with many different genres and composes pieces of his own to help grow as a musician. Currently, his favorite genre is neoclassical, specifically pieces originating about the 1920s.

Soliz says that he is constantly listening to or thinking about music. He draws inspiration from everyday events and compositions he listens to to help his ideas flow when he is writing his own music.

But how did Soliz learn how to play several instruments, and when did he start? It all began in fifth grade, when the teachers brought over instruments to encourage students to play band in middle school.

“We were testing instruments and the alto sax was the only one I could get to make a sound,” Soliz said, “I thought that by taking a huge breath I could make a sound. It sounded like a huge duck quack.”

Soliz explained that originally he was adamant about playing the trumpet, but instead pursued saxophone: “it sounds foolish now, but back then I thought that if I couldn’t make a sound, I couldn’t play at all.”

At base level, band seemed to be a simple activity; something Soliz was doing for fun because his friends were in it along with him. He didn’t truly decide whether or not he was going to pursue band until eighth grade.

I was one of those people who waited until eighth grade to ask myself if I wanted to do [band] for real. I finally decided in the beginning of freshman year that I would.”

At this point, Soliz had played two instruments: the alto saxophone, which he was going to continue playing, and the baritone saxophone, which he hated playing from seventh to eighth grade.

When he arrived at Huntley High School, Soliz was surprised at how much more complex music became. He compared how much more difficult band became for him when he first began playing his freshman year.

Here I had to sit down and actually learn how to play [the sheet music]. It really was a challenge,” Soliz said.

In addition to joining the high school band, Soliz joined marching band. He describes the experience as being unlike any other activity.

“There is never another sport or activity in which 130 people gather together. It’s like a family. Band camp starts before the school year begins so you will know 130 people and become so close even before you get into actual school. It changes your mental state and your way of thinking,” Soliz said.

On top of joining a new program, Soliz started to play the piano after hearing Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque. He explains that it isn’t as serious as how he plays the saxophone–he mainly tests out some songs he finds on the internet–but he enjoys it nonetheless.

The summer between his freshman and sophomore years, Soliz discovered the soprano saxophone sitting in the back of one of the band room storage closets. He didn’t know what the instrument was, and once he learned, he began to try it out.

He currently plays both the alto and soprano saxophones. However, when it comes to college, he is planning to major in performance for the alto, and he’s considering double-majoring in composing.

“I have loads and loads of ideas for compositions. I want to go to [Northwestern University] to learn to improve and write better,” Soliz explained.

Soliz already composes in his free time, and he is passionate about it. He posts every composition he finishes on the website called MuseScore, where he is able to view others’ pieces and receive feedback from fellow creators.

“On Tuesday [Sept. 25], the night we had that really bad storm, I wrote a piano piece for seven hours straight,” Soliz said, “and then I did my homework at two in the morning!” 

Soliz went from not even knowing what a band really was to undeniably deciding to achieve a career as a professional musician. His entire perspective of music changed from a basic player to an open-minded composer; similarly, he views his surroundings vastly different from how he did before.

“Good music seems to be the only thing in humanity that everyone can agree on,” Soliz continued, “if not marching band, do concert or symphonic band. If you’re hesitant about band, do it. You don’t know so at least try it. The answer will always be no if you don’t ask, so give it a try. Music really can help you change the way you view the world. Whatever you make of music is what it is.”