Andrew Cornish

Photo by Nina Goodheart
Photo by Nina Goodheart

Scrolling through senior Andrew Cornish’s YouTube channel, it is evident that his life is ruled by rhythm. Besides the four videos he has uploaded, all of which feature personal renditions of bluegrass remixes as well as original work, his channel is flooded with “tips and tricks” for playing banjo as well as the backtracks and solos for dozens of classic jazz melodies.

Cornish, who will attend Berklee College of Music next year, said that music has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember, and he has no intentions of quitting anytime soon.

“I had always loved music as a little kid,” Cornish said. “My parents always played music in the house. My dad was really into rock and had all these CDs. My life is pretty much going to be based around it. I’m going to a music school and hopefully I’ll be able to get a career in that.”

In school, he has taken many opportunities to fit his passion for music into his schedule with both practical classes such as Jazz and Digital Music as well as the more rigorous AP Music Theory. According to Cornish, these classes helped him improve technically as a musician and gave him great new experiences working with fellow students.

“In those classes, just meeting other musicians at the school has been great, and having a chance to play music with others,” Cornish said.

His dedication to music is clear to music teacher Carolyn Castellano, who teaches Jazz and Digital Music, as is his ability to try a wide variety of styles.

“He works hard because he loves music. He has a great ear, and I love that he is open-minded enough to play anything,” Castellano said.

To his friend and fellow band member, senior Matthew Guzman, the level of focus that Cornish demonstrates is impressive, be it inside or outside the classroom.

“He’s really trying hard so that he can write music someday and be better at it,” Guzman said. “I see that intensity when he’s playing music in a band or just in general. It’s powerful.”

For Cornish, music has not only influenced his school life and career goals, but it also plays a role in how he spends his free time and builds his social circle.

“When you meet someone and you hear they play an instrument, and you play an instrument, the first instinct isn’t ‘we should hang out sometime,’ it’s ‘we should jam sometime.’ And when you play music with someone, I think you have a really good connection with them. You can’t get that with anything else,” Cornish said.

According to Guzman, some of Cornish’s most memorable riffs come out when he is free to experiment with music and make it up as he goes along.

“We were at a friend’s house practicing, and he was doing a solo and just making stuff up on the spot. It was total improv and it sounded awesome. I’d buy that song any day. It was great,” Guzman said.

Playing instruments shapes Cornish’s personality by letting him become  more outgoing as a performer than as his more reserved persona in day-to-day life.

“Usually in person I’m not too forward and outgoing. And when I play music it’s not like that at all. I definitely play out and on top of people when I do solos and stuff like that. I never do things like that when I’m just talking to someone,” Cornish said.

In the end, everything from the three hours he practices every night to his culminating moments of outspokenness onstage boils down to an almost indescribable enthusiasm for music.

“Something about playing…it’s similar to speaking but it’s different,” Cornish said. “And I think I’m better at speaking through the guitar than I am with my mouth.”

Isabel Meyers can be contacted at [email protected]