Pak-tice makes perfect

Senior violist Jason Pak talks about integrating music into his life through playing viola

Senior Jason Pak participated in the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute (NSOSMI) as a violist this previous summer. “Thanks to summer camps like SMI, I was able to work with musicians of the NSO (National Symphony Orchestra) and receive a lot of good feedback,” Pak said.

Courtesy of Susie Shaffer

Senior Jason Pak participated in the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute (NSOSMI) as a violist this previous summer. “Thanks to summer camps like SMI, I was able to work with musicians of the NSO (National Symphony Orchestra) and receive a lot of good feedback,” Pak said.

Connie Ryu, Staff Writer

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Student musician. These two words apply to many Jefferson students, including senior violist Jason Pak, who encountered the overshadowed instrument in fourth grade. 

“Fairfax County has a strings program in fourth grade, so I started through that program,” Pak said. “I started off on piano, but after I encountered the viola, I switched because it was more portable and I could take it with me anywhere instead of only being able to play in one confined area.”

Ever since, music has become a passion that is irreplaceable in his life.

“It’s a new way to express myself,” Pak said. “If I can’t say something through words, music is another way that I can vent out my emotions.”

When asked about what he dislikes the most about music, Pak replies with the practice that must be done. However, he adds that practice contributes to what he loves about music and describes how music has influenced his life.

“What I like most [about music] is the end when you’ve achieved a goal because you’ve practiced and put in the hard work,” Pak said. “I met most of my friends by doing orchestra together, and I also learned leadership skills when I led [viola] sections.”

As a result of his long hours of practice, Pak has participated in many reputable programs, such as NSOSMI, and placed highly in both the Senior Regional Orchestra and the All-Virginia Orchestra. In the former, he has maintained his position as first viola since his sophomore year and in the latter, he has consistently been in the top seven violists, placing second his sophomore year. As a musician, Pak attributes his success to his pure love for music.

“I just really like it,” Pak said. “Some of the people who do music that I know just do it without any meaning. Sometimes my friends make fun of me for only listening to classical music, but I embrace that and I’m proud to say that I’m a musician.”

Because music has become such an essential part of his life, Pak certainly cannot envision his future without it.

“Music is definitely something I don’t want to put aside,” Pak said. “Even in my senior research project this year, I’m working to integrate music with robotics by making a robot that can play the xylophone. I want to continue exploring the field of music-related technology, because I think that it’s a good way to integrate STEM with the arts.”

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