Symphony Stories: Meet Violist Jaykwon Noble | Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
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Symphony Stories: Meet Violist Jaykwon Noble

Symphony Stories: Meet Jaykwon Noble

Meet Jaykwon Noble, a Kalamazoo native currently in high school… who also happens to be an incredibly talented violist!

A Kalamazoo Kids in Tune graduate and now staff member, Jaykwon was recently selected to be a part of the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles’ National Festival. The YOLA National Festival is a “10-day orchestra intensive that brings together young musicians from El Sistema-inspired programs nationwide, providing them with world-class music instruction and mentorship.” 

We give a big congratulations to Jaykwon and wish him the best of luck at the YOLA Festival this summer. 

Jaykwon Noble standing with viola

When did you start playing the viola? 

I have always liked music. After learning more about orchestras, I decided it was just what I wanted to do. In the fourth grade, I picked up the viola. Everyone else wanted to play the violin, but I thought the viola was cool! 

The first time I brought my instrument home, I was so excited to play. But I definitely annoyed my brother a bit because a beginning violist can be a little bit screechy… 

For a long time, I was the only violist in my chamber group. We had a few cellos, three or four violins, a bass, and me. 


What do you love about playing the viola? 

Playing viola is a constructive way to cope with my emotions. It is something I do to relieve stress. 

I also enjoy the way playing music makes other people feel. My mom and grandma have been huge supporters of my music, and they really love hearing me play.  


Is anyone else in your family a musician? 

My grandma played the French horn when she was in high school! But, other than that, I am really the first in my family to be a musician. 


Do you have a pre-performance routine? 

About a week before a performance, I rehearse everything every day to make sure I have it all down and prepared the way I want it. 

On the day of the performance, I actually don’t play very much. I like to have a big breakfast, give my body time to rest, and clear my mind. 


Do you have a favorite composer? 

If I had to choose, it would be Tchaikovsky.  

Tchaikovsky wrote one of the first works I played in Kalamazoo Kids in Tune. I love his violin concerto as well. Tchaikovsky writes with a lot of emotion, and channeling that energy into the performance is fun. 


What did you enjoy about being in Kalamazoo Kids in Tune? 

The experience. I found a sense of belonging in KKIT, a place where I had the opportunity to play more challenging music. It felt like leveling up! 

In my first year at KKIT, I was the only violist. My music would combine sections from all the other parts, and I would always need to adjust my ears across the ensemble. 


How did you first learn about the YOLA Festival? 

Mr. Gudbrandson (KKIT Director) came up to me and said, “you need to do this.” He encouraged me to audition for the Festival and introduced me to Nicholas Jeffery, assistant principal viola for the Kalamazoo Symphony. I started taking lessons with Nicholas to prepare for the audition. 

When I was accepted, I was kind of in shock. I had a lot of mixed emotions. Once I got through that, I called my family and told them. My grandmother was hysterical with excitement! My mom was also excited but nervous about me taking the trip alone. 


What are you most looking forward to about the YOLA Festival experience? 

I am really excited to get more experience playing with a different orchestra. Working with new musicians and new conductors is always a fun challenge.  

Having the experience of performing with other students like me from all around the country will be awesome. I can’t wait. 


What else to know: 

Jaykwon is also a member of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra. An avid musician, he also plays cello, violin, and saxophone! A budding composer, Jaykwon wrote a fully orchestrated piece that was performed at the KKIT finale concert in 2022.

He is also a member of his high school marching band’s color guard. “Being in the color guard is great because it’s a totally different way of expressing yourself.” 

Tags: kids in tune, kjso, Music Education, yola