"I carry staff paper, pencils and an empty insect container with me wherever I go, in case a musical idea pops in my head, or I find a cool creature. Musical ideas, like insects, can happen or be found anywhere and everywhere.
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12 yr. old Composer, Pianist, Cellist
Winston F. Schneider was bound to be a composer from the very beginning. As a young child, he seemed connected to music and would become emotional in church whenever the choir would sing or the organ would play. He began piano lessons at a young age, or as he says, "twenty-nine days after my fifth birthday." Soon after, he began playing his pieces in all different keys and styles. Sometimes he'd play one key in one hand, and a different key in the other hand with his eyes closed. With a rare ability of absolute pitch, he soon began writing down musical ideas on staff paper as they would "pop in his head," making the leap from his first piano lesson to creating music of his own seemingly overnight. The language of music came as naturally to him as colors and shapes.
Fast forward a few years, and he’s won over 20 honors and awards for his compositions. His works, from solo pieces to symphonies, have been performed by the Omaha Symphony, Orchestra Omaha, Ars Futura ensemble (Cleveland based contemporary music ensemble), Face the Music (NYC’s premiere youth ensemble), renown flute soloist Mimi Stillman, violinist Hanna Landrum of the Minnesota Orchestra, and various string quartets throughout the country.
ARTSCANVAS.ORG (PBS NEWSHOUR)
"Bugs and books become inspiration for this 11-year-old composer." Story about Schneider.
"There's nothing like playing Chopin on the piano in my room while my tuxedo cat Meowth sits underneath the bench in an Amazon Prime box and falls asleep. There's nothing like improvising a cello nocturne while my mom smiles and rests on our cat-scratched yellow couch. There's nothing like picking up a black Ticonderoga pencil and writing down a new musical inspiration late at night when my parents think I'm asleep.
"My passions inform my music. I love catching, studying, and releasing insects in the summer. I've studied over 100 species. I collect elements on the periodic table and have over 58 elements. I've written many pieces about nature, insects and the natural elements. I carry staff paper, pencils and an empty insect container with me wherever I go, in case a musical idea pops in my head, or I find a cool creature. I love to draw. I love to think about whatever pleases my mind at the time. I love to write things down all the time. When we cleaned out our silver Honda, we found over 34 pencils!"