Playing to success

Flute player discovers passion for percussion after injury

Story by Lourdes Quijas, Staff Writer

It’s the start of the Tiger Band’s state year. As band students get ready for the season, sophomore Natalie Taylor gets put into the front ensemble, the melodic part of percussion, and starts her year off learning something new. As percussion director Paul Stivitts gave parts out to all the percussionists, Taylor was given a part that she had no idea how to read.  

Taylor is a seven year soccer player who injured her knee during practice. She tore every nerve and most muscles of her knee, so she had to stop playing soccer for a while. Because of this, she was no longer able to march in the band either. Luckily, the front ensemble is able to add to the overall sounds of the band while standing still.

“I played the flute for four and a half years before I [hurt my knee],” Taylor said. “I’ve been in the front ensemble for a year and half. The first year I [worked with] the sound system, which makes sure the mics sound good, the settings are all right and the [soloists] are hooked up.” 

This year, Taylor was put on the vibraphone, also known as the vibes. During summer band, graduate Joseph DuPree took his time and helped Taylor with her technique. After hours of labeling her sheet music, trying out new techniques and memorizing the movements, Taylor has improved greatly. 

“I felt immediately welcomed to officially be in pit. I was really excited because it was a change,” Taylor said. “I [like] being in percussion more than flute because you don’t have to use much air, [but] I wouldn’t say it’s easier—there’s just a lot of pros and cons. I don’t have to march, and the people are friendly, [but] we practice the most. It [gives] you discipline and structure.”

While the band gets ready for competitions this year, Taylor practices as much as she can to perfect her method before games and traveling with the band. A lot of her band buddies are surprised at how fast she has learned how to play the vibes, but this isn’t the end of her exploration of the musical world.

“There’s a few [new instruments] I want to try,” Taylor said. “I definitely want to try snare and see how good I am with that. I also always wanted to play piano.”