Feeling through her fingertips

Junior expresses her emotions and stress through music


Kelsey Jones

Joyanna Bracken plays viola at orchestra concert. Joyanna plays viola as well as piano.

Junior Joyanna Bracken drives herself through life with music. She began playing the piano at 5 years old, and started playing the viola in seventh grade. Bracken says that she started to play the piano because of her mother, a piano teacher, so music has always been in her life. 

“Music to me is a form of self-expression,” Bracken said. ”It’s also an outlet for you to express your emotions.”

Bracken continues to play for her own sake, letting her emotions and feelings flow out of her fingertips. If she is stressed, she’ll play different songs on her instruments to release that stress. When internal conflicts, personal problems or life overwhelms Bracken, she says her preferred pieces to play are usually slower, with comforting outward expressions.

Along with playing music, Bracken enjoys listening to music to ease the conflicts of life. She listens to music in other languages such as Korean, Japanese and Spanish. She also says listening to Spanish songs helps her in her Spanish class. However, to relax she usually likes to enjoy R&B with a slow, chill and emotional vibe. 

“When I’m stressed out, especially if it’s school, I sometimes don’t have time to practice or really sit down and play just for enjoyment, so I listen to music,”  Bracken said. 

Her mom, a professional pianist, taught her starting at a young age, along with senior Jade Germann, who is one of Bracken’s friends. They’ve known each other for years and have been collaborating and learning with one another since the first time Germann saw Bracken’s mother’s piano. 

“Her mother was my piano teacher, so we’d go in and play duets for recitals,” Germann said. “It was always something fun to do with her and I loved playing piano.”

Bracken’s talent didn’t only stay within her friends though. She says Orchestra teacher Thomas Wright has been one of her inspirations throughout high school since she’s been in his classes since freshman year. Wright made a decision, choosing Bracken to be the first musician to go into Honors Orchestra without an audition.

“She already had the technique and tone development of somebody much more advanced,” said Wright. “…I knew from the first day that I heard her play that she would have to go in advanced orchestra right away because she had accomplished a lot in her viola playing already.”

Germann also admires Bracken’s orchestral abilities, joining her in duets and trios. 

“It’s inspirational,” Germann said. “It’s gorgeous in every way… (Music has) always (been) something she’s loved and I think it’s really brought us together.”