By: Judith Gutierrez

Her adrenaline-filled heart raced as she walked up on stage where the lights illuminated the ground, but this rush of excitement is what gives her the final push as she sang aloud. 

This is the feeling Kennedy student Erandi Tapia experiences through her every performance. She has been an aspiring musician who has and continues to have managed her musical life alongside school. From playing the guitarron to taking advantage of her voal bells up on stage, Tapia has made it her priority and hobby to play her way into music as a way to express herself and is always constantly working towards being able to play and sing a song to perfection. 

It all started at the age of twelve, where she began to perform in Mariachi at Frost Middle School. Since then she has branched out to several other Mariachis, and when she discovered that Kennedy High School would also have a Mariachi class, she launched right to it and knew right away that she wanted to be a part of it. She now contributes her musical talent to Kennedy’s new Mariachi class every Monday and Friday afterschool. 

Aside from playing the strings on the guitarron, a deep-bodied Mexican six-stringed acoustic bass played traditionally in Mariachi groups, and singing from her heart, Tapia has also managed to learn how to play the strings on a violin. With all her musical achievements, she also likes to expand her horizons and take practice outside of school. She delivers several paid performances at organized parties and has even done performances at the Ford Theatre. 

Even though music can work as an escape for many students, sometimes it can take a toll on academics and may even lead to an overwhelming feeling, but not for Tapia. For many it may be a huge load to carry the weight of being involved with music while at the same time attending school and trying to meet deadlines, but Tapia uses music as an advantage. 

Tapia finds that, “Music in general has an impact [on academics]”, but ever since she started playing the violin at the age of eight, Tapia has found it much easier to focus on multiple tasks and has found music to be very useful, especially in school.

When Tapia was asked how she managed to balance music and school in general she expressed that she does her homework and school work at a set time each and every day, and she always tries to find time at school to do the same.

“This way, I have more free time to go to Mariachi practice or just practice at home,” she explained.  

Kennedy’s music teacher and Mariachi coordinator Wilber Ibarra adds on that balancing Mariachi and school work, “…is like any other music program. You got to be able to balance everything…just like any other sport or activity.” 

With this being her senior year, Tapia has been questioning whether or not she will be able to continue performing in Mariachi as she moves on. However, she soon came to realize that she has always envisioned herself still in Mariachi in the future and she also was able to find out that she can afford an education alongside with music. 

She describes that, “One of the criteria for my future college is a Mariachi nearby, so I can continue playing,” which would allow her to live out her dream all the while managing her life in school alongside music.