Musicians Pursue Musical Careers


Abby Grace, junior, practicing the flute in symphonic orchestra.

Milo Laux, Class of 2018, walks onto a stage in a dimly lit room. Hearing a few people shout out their name and guitar in hand, Laux approaches the microphone in front of them. This begins the 45-minute performance of the musical artist known as Roses!Hands!

“I’ve been writing music since I was a sophomore in high school, and no one would produce it,” Laux said. “So I learned to start producing it myself this past year.”

While attending Webster University, Laux has spent the past year performing across Saint Louis under their stage name Roses!Hands! Since August, Laux’s performance venues have included Fubar and The Firebird.

“The first show is super nerve racking, but then I realised that no one cares. If you mess up on stage no one’s going to know but you,” Laux said. “After the first show I sort of let go, and then it was really just awesome to have people who pay money to see things that I’m creating.”

Using the revenue from Laux’s shows and the income from their job as a manager at Wetzel’s Pretzels, Laux is slowly paying their way through college.

“It’s been a conflict between work and performing, but I took some advice that I heard once,” Laux said. “It was ‘take every show you can.’ I always prioritize that over anything else.”

Similar to Laux, several current students are also planning to pursue careers in music.

Jeremy Slobodzian, senior, plays the guitar and concurs with the importance of performing, but he said the money is just an added bonus.

“The thing is when you perform, you can still walk away with $200 in your pocket, get some food, fill up on gas, invest that money in new equipment, t-shirts for the band,” Slobodzian said.”It’s just really nice.”

Slobodzian estimates that with his band, the Underground Lemon Experience, he has performed from 60 to 70 shows at such venues as Fubar, Firebird, Skybar and the Sacred Grounds Music Festival. Besides providing him with performance opportunities, Slobodzian said his knowledge of the guitar helped secure him a job at Guitar Center. Making money off of commissions, Slobodzian uses his experience to advise customers on their guitar equipment setups.

“One of the ways music has pushed me into the more generic sense of growing up, having a job, getting kids kind of deal is that I was able to get a job at Guitar Centre at only 18 years old,” he said.

Next year, Slobodzian will be going to college in Florida to study music, hoping to learn jazz chords and expand his knowledge of the guitar.

“For me, the Underground Lemon Experience is all about having fun. I’m in high school, it’s a high school band,” Slobodzian said. “I think that this is not the end all be all of my music career.”

Abigail Grace, junior, who is a flutist is also planning her musical career after high school. She thinks she’ll go to a music conservatory after receiving her Bachelor’s Degree, preferable either attending a school such as Boston Conservatory at Berklee or the Juilliard School.

“Playing the flute what makes me happiest, so that’s why I started to pour more time and effort into it,” Grace said.

Grace said  she practices four to five hours a day, being what she’s “most committed to in life.” Other than practicing with MHS band and symphonic orchestra as a flutist, she is also a member of the Saint Charles County and Saint Louis Symphony orchestras.

“Those orchestras are probably the most impactful for me on a week to week basis, because I’m getting to play with really phenomenal players – it’s really stretching me beyond my horizons,” she said.

Though Grace’s career ambitions are to be a member of one of the country’s major symphonies, she intends to keep her mind open to the prospects of conducting or teaching music.  

“It’s so hard to tell where in music I’ll end up,” Grace said. “You could ask a hundred different musicians where they thought they would end up, and probably at least half would’ve not expected to be where they are today.”

A flutist for the last seven years, Grace confides that a performance can still get her nervous.

“Along with the nerves though, comes realising how much you love it. I just feel so energised when I perform,” Grace said. “The performance is just a release of emotion to the audience.”