Feeding his talent, finding his tribe
Student of the Week: Caleb Martinez
I think the experiences I have with my STC teachers and professors throughout my journey have inspired me to follow in their footsteps. It's the energy they give me – I want to give that same energy to my students one day.
Caleb Martinez didn’t realize the variety of opportunities he’d encounter as a music major at South Texas College.
When the Donna native enrolled in applied percussion and private lessons with STC Music Instructor Ron F. Schermerhorn during his first semester at STC, he knew he chose the right place to begin his collegiate journey.
“I wanted to take my basics at STC and then transfer to a university to take care of the rest of my music classes,” said the 20-year-old. “Then I found out that there's quite a big music program here. I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to handle performing with the other percussionists, but I found myself fitting in. I had a fun time making friends and getting to know everyone. It's been an amazing journey so far.”
Along with the percussion ensemble, Martinez is also part of the symphonic band ensemble, the jazz ensemble and the modern rock band ensemble. His days are usually filled with back-to-back music classes and rehearsals to shape his talent and knowledge of music theory.
“At first the schedule was a little bit of a handful, but I'm already used to it,” Martinez said. “I learned how to manage my time. A lot of students can get stressed, especially someone who has a schedule like mine. They might feel like they won’t be able to handle it, but anyone can. They just need to take a breather when they need to.”
Martinez said the opportunities he’s been given at STC have been beyond what he imagined. He said his favorite experience was traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana to perform with the snare ensemble at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.
“That is one of the biggest events in the percussion world, and it was pretty amazing that I got to do that with STC,” Martinez said. “It was long hours of rehearsal, but I managed to push through, and the reward was worth it.”
The group was also recently selected to be a featured performing College/University Percussion Ensemble at the Texas Music Educators Association conference in San Antonio.
“We performed in front of a huge audience of music professionals from all over the state and other students,” Martinez said. “As nerve-wracking as it sounds, I still had fun. I got to show my skills off to everyone there.”
Martinez has been a percussionist since middle school and said he was also inspired to pursue music by his father and uncle, who were also in their high school bands as teenagers.
“I just grew to love music and performing,” Martinez said. “When it was time to go to college, I had to consider whether I wanted to do something else or music. But my heart just knew to go with music.”
Now, Martinez wants to pass on the knowledge he has learned at STC by one day becoming a music educator.
“I enjoy performing, but I really want to share my craft with younger students,” Martinez said. “I'd like to teach middle school and high school, but who knows. Maybe one day I'll decide to teach at the college or university level.”
And he thanks the STC department for their encouragement and guidance during his first step toward pursuing a professional career in the music field.
“I think the experiences I have with my teachers and professors throughout my journey have inspired me to follow in their footsteps,” Martinez said. “It's the energy they give me – I want to give that same energy to my students one day.”
Martinez dedicates two to four hours a day to practicing. But, even with the long hours of rehearsals, Martinez and his fellow student musicians always find joy when they’re placed in front of an audience.
“Every time Mr. Schermerhorn says we're going to perform somewhere, we're like, ‘heck yeah, let's go show people what STC musicians can do,’” Martinez said. “At first, I would be little nervous, but I’ve grown to stay composed during my performance. And it’s all thanks to Mr. Schermerhorn. I've already experienced so much as a musician that I never thought I would be able to do because of STC.”