Student artist in the spotlight: Alex Nelson

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2007

Age: 18.

School: Juneau-Douglas High School.

How it started: "My mom was a music teacher for kids ages 0-5, and my dad had played blues piano since he was a teenager, so I grew up bombarded by music in all forms."

Experience: "I started my first instrument, piano, when I was 8. I started saxophone during middle school and drums, my current forte, my freshman year. I picked up guitar and bass during my sophomore year."

All in the family: "My mom plays guitar and is a singer/songwriter/music teacher. My dad plays blues piano and sings, and my sister plays piano and sings as well."

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Favorite artists: "I'm really into progressive rock, bands like Rush and Primus, and classic rock (Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Cream, etc.) In the past few years I've also developed a strong interest in jazz as I've played more with school jazz groups, artists like Buddy Rich, Jaco Pastorius, Charles Mingus and Herbie Hancock. I pretty much love any music where everyone's really good at their instrument."

Future plans: "I plan to get a minor in music as well as play with as many people and groups as possible during college. I plan to get a doctorate in biochemistry and a minor in music, as well as pursue a career as a research scientist."

Activities: He is a member of Student Council, National Honor Society and various musical groups, both in school and out of school.

Wacky art: "It's fun to form a band that has a joke theme around it, i.e. a calculus band or a parody band on '80s hair metal, but still play good music."

You should know: "I'm left-handed, which irritates every other drummer when I have to switch the whole drumset backwards."

His band teacher, Ken Guiher, says: "Alex is an excellent musician and is very dedicated to the band. He practices constantly and is always involved in the various musical activities at the high school. He is the lead percussionist in the the jazz band, wind ensemble and the captain of the pep band. He has performed in many outside groups and ensembles as well. He has a very positive attitude and is constantly striving to improve his musical abilities. He is tenacious, determined and very influential with his peers. He has a way at winning friends and getting along with adversaries. He is also a natural leader of impeccable character."

• Student Artist in the Spotlight is a weekly feature on the Neighbors page and is in collaboration with the Juneau School District Elementary Art Program. To have your student art included, contact your school office.

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