In pre-kindergarten, Alessia fell in love with the cello when she watched students play the instrument in Ellis’ Candlelight Recital. She picked it up right away because she has a knack for figuring out how things work.
Now, as a fifth grader, she uses her mathematical mind to discover ways — like transposing any song she hears — to improve her cello chops.
See how Ellis drives Alessia to perform her best
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Taking advanced math with sixth graders pushes her to grow. “Math makes me happy because it doesn’t feel like work. In advanced math, I get to do something a little bit more challenging and make friends in higher grades.”
How Ellis builds her confidence:
“I used to be really shy, not wanting to speak up. But now that I’ve been at Ellis so long, I trust my classmates to support me.”
How her teachers make learning fun:
By turning class lessons into Quizlet or Kahoot! competitions with her classmates. "You have to try to hit the correct answer the fastest. If you hit it the fastest, you move up to the big leader board and podium. So we're always competing to be the winner there, because you have to be really quick."
How she expands her repertoire:
She uses her keyboard to transpose music for cello. “When I hear a really catchy song, I Google how to play it on the cello. Most of the songs can be translated with something like a guitar or a banjo but can't really be put into cello music. So I have to make it on my own."
“When I get my eye on something, I have to first make sure that I can translate the music to the cello. The cool feature about the keyboard is that you can turn it into other instruments. So I'll play cello songs on the keyboard using the cello tone to see what a song is actually supposed to sound like and see if my cello is out of tune. Then I try to match that sound with my own cello.”
How she uses her voice:
“Everybody here is so confident. When we’re sharing answers to homework, or anything really, we know that it doesn’t matter if you get it right or wrong. What matters is that you’re sharing and adding to the community, not just sitting there listening to everybody else’s answers or copying off what they have to say.”
How she wants to change the world:
By encouraging friends and family to make eco-friendly life changes, like walking instead of driving and using renewable resources. “If each of us does our own part, that’s going to make a bigger difference than if you try to stop everybody from doing this big thing. You can start with the friends around you, or the community around you, instead of going after the whole entire world.”
On her horizon:
Performing Yo-Yo Ma’s "Simple Gifts" and music from Star Wars with the Ellis Orchestra. “I’m excited to be in the first concert of the year and see how it works out. Another song I’m working on is "Sonata in C Major" by Breval. It’s four pages long, and my songs are usually one or two pages. But I really like how it goes. The melody is soft and fast at the same time.”