Behind The Curtain with The Music Department: Judy Zhang, Advanced Orchestra

by Salvatore Viviano ’19

One of the great legacies of Brooklyn Tech is the music department. Both developing the skills to play a musical instrument and keeping a group of musicians in sync are extremely challenging tasks, but are vital to Tech’s community. Imagine a Brooklyn Tech without concerts, lip sync battles, plays and musicals. The music department and the people who work so hard to keep it running add a vibrant color to a school that is already exceptional.  What follows is the first in a series of articles:  “Behind the Curtain With The Music Department.”

Tech has a great orchestral strings department, but there are many challenges inherent to playing instruments in the violin family, and those who excel at this should be recognized. Judy Zhang ‘18 is a talented violinist and a prominent figure in Brooklyn Tech’s advanced orchestra.

Judy began to play violin at the beginning of elementary school. Since then, she has developed into a very skilled violinist and, according to Mrs. Lapierre, has “distinguished herself as a key player in Brooklyn Tech’s orchestra.”

Judy, like many of the advanced orchestra, traveled to China last year, and was instrumental in keeping them in tune and rhythm. She was one of the orchestra’s anchor players, which according to her is “someone who is required to play louder than others in order to keep everyone in tempo and tune and must be very comfortable with the music and the instrument.”

Judy was also featured as a soloist during an intermission in the most recent Spring Instrumental concert. Being forced to play alone on a stage in front of hundreds of people is a nerve-wracking experience for many. Such requires extreme concentration and skill which heightens awareness. “It is a vital, but challenging part of performance: to be able to pay attention to the audience’s reactions to the piece and spontaneously change them if you think they are not reacting well”, she reflected.

Talent doesn’t come easy, especially in a versatile school like Brooklyn Tech. Judy sets a goal of 90 minutes of practice a day, but for some days, time becomes limited. Balancing the hours of practice it requires to achieve this level of skill and the academic pressures that most Brooklyn Tech juniors have is quite a challenge but one that is “very much worth it.” Those that make such a commitment to Brooklyn Tech’s music department deserve to be applauded. Judy is just one of many who do so much work behind the scenes to keep Tech’s concerts, musicals and plays at quality entertainment.

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