Isaias‘s Story

Age 18, New York City

Isaias – ArtSmart music student

“There’s power in music, and if you work at it enough, you can connect with anyone through music.”

Isaias, age 18

At the end of my Junior Year I heard about the ArtSmart program starting at my school and applied to audition. Auditions always make me nervous, but the judges were all so friendly and warm; they made me feel comfortable. So, I auditioned, and I got in!

Since starting lessons, I really value the personal time with my mentor. I’m involved in musical theater as well, and during these practices I’m learning with the whole cast. It’s really fun to work with a group, but it’s an entirely different experience when you are working with a mentor one-on-one. That open communication between the teacher and the student is so important. It gives me the chance to work on what’s affecting me personally, with more opportunity to grow.

Recently I’ve been working on my falsetto, and this summer I was able to study my falsetto in Italy, thanks to ArtSmart. I’ve never been exposed to classical music, so my mentor and I found some classical repertoire that I really enjoyed, and ArtSmart recommended me for a program in Italy*. I spent 10 days in Fivizzano, a small town in the mountains – the perfect place to just focus and work without distractions. I was the only ArtSmart student there, and it was my first time being in Europe. At first I didn’t know what to expect, but John Viscardi helped me connect with people at the festival. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and I can’t begin to thank ArtSmart enough – it’s something I could never have dreamed of experiencing. My time in Italy really opened the door to classical music for me, and I want to step outside of my comfort zone a little bit more in the future.

My biggest and most memorable moment happened in Italy, when I realized the power of music. I first started working on Your Song by Elton John with my mentor Hannah and she said that my style was good, but I needed to work on bringing more emotion to the song. She said that my goal with this song is to connect with the audience, “make them cry!”. I laughed then, but when I performed this song in Italy, someone in the audience actually started to cry – I never imagined this would happen. There’s power in music and, if you work at it enough, you can connect with anyone through music. It was the most fulfilling moment!

Learning to sing is what I enjoy doing, and my ArtSmart lessons give me the time to focus on the things that I love most – it’s the most exciting and fun hour of my week. I start college next year, and I’m looking forward to lessons as an escape from stress and time to breathe. I am definitely continuing with music for the rest of my life – I don’t see how I could stop now!

*For more information on the The Lunigiana International Music Festival please visit their website:

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