There were always musical instruments around the house when Warwick Valley High School junior Timothy Leonard was growing up. Both of his parents were musicians, and Timothy says music has always been a part of his life.
His mom told him that he started playing drums when he was two-years-old. He still plays the drums and now also plays the bass well enough to be selected to the NYSMMA Area All-State Concert Band in the last year.
“Music is something I’ve always had,” Timothy said. “I was kind of born into it. Music is just a part of me. Even when I try to take a break, I look at my bass and want to play.”
This year Timothy is splitting the instruments between all the musical groups he plays with. He plays the drums in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band and Wire Choir. He plays bass in the Chamber Orchestra and outside of school in the Hudson Valley Ebony Strings.
“Timothy is an essential member in of all of the ensembles he is a part of,” said Elissa Maynard, his mother and a music teacher at WVHS. “He is not only funny, kind and friendly to others, he also sets an example of what a young musician of high caliber should be.”
Timothy decided to try out for the drums in fifth grade, when students can start playing instruments. His mom suggested also try the bass and taught him a song. He played the song well enough to make the orchestra and has been playing the bass and drums at school ever since. The bass, however, was difficult at first because of how large the instrument is.
“That was the hardest thing, getting used to how big the bass was,” Timothy said. “I also had to get my hand strength down. And it’s hard when you have high notes because you have to move your hand about 12 inches up the fingerboard. But you get used to it the more you practice.”
Timothy practices the bass every day. Practicing on the drums is a bit harder because they are so loud and he and his siblings are all taking classes at home as part of the Distance Learning Academy. Although he still enjoys both instruments, Timothy figures the bass will play a bigger part in his future.
“People have told me not to ever drop the bass because bass players are very needed but drummers are a dime a dozen,” Timothy said. “Most likely there will be more of a need for bass players, especially for colleges.”
Outside of school, Timothy writes and sings some of his own songs. He also teaches elementary school children on the bass and drums. Outside of music, Timothy is looking forward to Nov. 30, the first day of varsity basketball practice. He was a NYSPHAA Scholar-Athlete last winter.