Student Spotlight: Jesse Curtis

Leiani Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Sophomore Jesse Curtis never had a formal teacher. He never needed one. Not when it came to music.

“The first instrument I learned how to play was the piano,” said Curtis. “My dad bought my mom a keyboard for her birthday, and she handed me a book and told me to learn. So I did.”

But it didn’t stop there. On the shiny new strings identical to his brother’s all-too-quickly broken guitar, Jesse explored his next instrument.

But it didn’t stop there.

After the low hum of the bass guitar grew unsatisfactory, another member of his junior high band shoved a trombone in Jesse’s wide-open arms. With nothing but a book and a few, quickly-explained fundamentals, Jesse took the instrument home over the weekend and in a matter of weeks sat side-by-side the other trombonists as though he’d been playing for just as long.

“When I first started playing trombone,” said Curtis, “the first day I brought it home, I was trying to practice and my older brother came down and told me that I wasn’t good enough at it and that I should just quit because I sounded terrible and that it would never amount to anything. And in a couple weeks I proved him wrong!”

“I grew up with him, so I kind of know what he’s capable of,” said older brother Colton Curtis, junior. “I was surprised but not as surprised as my parents were with it. Jesse and I, growing up, everyone thought we were twins, we’re actually a year apart, but we’re really close so I know him really well and he knows me really well and my parents–since they have 6 kids–they can’t focus on one kid all the time, so that’s why it came as a surprise to them a whole lot, but not so much to me.”

Although Jesse was the first of his family to really immerse himself in instrumental music, it was due to his older brother’s influence that he found his love for choir and vocal performance.

His schedule jampacked with music classes (Jazz Band, Concert Band, Men’s Chorus), Jesse converses music on a daily basis, but not just in a classroom setting. In addition to averages of 30-40 hours of practice time each week, he has begun to write and produce his own music.

“The first time I got the idea to write,” said Curtis, “to create my own songs… I was just going through the three yearbooks during the summer and these words kept coming to me and so I wrote it all down and it became a song.”

With this newest endeavor, and inspired by favorite artists such as Christ Daughtry and Josh Turner, Jesse hopes for a future in the music industry. “[I’m] trying to get as many songs as I can recorded and written, as many albums as I can get out there, and then just try to be a musical artist that helps people,” said Curtis. “I don’t want my music to mean nothing.”

Such ambitions drive Jesse to act–and not just musically–despite potential impossibilities, “I like to make plans, design machines that can help–right now I have the blueprints drawn up for an exoskeleton that you see in video games all the time that will enhance speed and strength,” said Curtis. “I like to design machines like that that’ll help and I love engineering. Just creating things, it makes me feel like I can actually do something that’ll help.”

Propelled by big ideas, he plans for a bright future. But he doesn’t stop there. “I want to change myself and be a better person than I was…I want to help people out more,” said Curtis. “I actually started changing myself that way and lost quite a few friends because they didn’t like who I was becoming.”

Since the day his two year-old fingers rapped metal spoons against a makeshift drumset of food storage, Jesse Curtis has gravitated more and more towards music, until it is no longer just a means of stress relief.

“Music is,” said Curtis, “to put it as simply as possible, music is my life.”