Profiles in Youth Exellence: Vishnu Patel

Young people are capable of AMAZING things.  When young people find something they are truly passionate about, they often push themselves above and beyond their peers to pursue their passion.  Profiles in Youth Excellence is a new series of blog posts where I'll be highlighting young people who exemplify personal excellence in some way.

We begin the series with Vishnu Patel.

Vishnu is self-taught musician and a 12th grader at Berlin High School (BHS).  Over the last year and a half, in addition to taking a full load of honors and AP classes, Vishnu TAUGHT HIMSELF how to play guitar.  We asked him a series of questions to learn more about his story:

  What do you do:

I practice karate, sing, hang with friends, go to school, work and play guitar.

I started singing at a young age, younger than I can remember, and I started karate at the age of 6.  About a year and a half ago I begged my parents to let me get a guitar.  I  just love music and I always wanted to play an instrument.  I figured that I better learn how to play NOW while I have time because once I start college things will get too busy to learn.  I used to stay up late into the night trying to master the finger positions for various chords using a book and a dvd my dad got for me. Once I built up the calluses on my fingers, I started to get the hang of things and learned a few chord progressions.  Once I could play a bit I started learning more and more about guitars and playing techniques. By senior year (this year) I could play pretty decently so I got involved with acoustic club at school and it's been a lot of fun.  My friends and I will sometimes just roam the halls after school.  One of us (usually me) will play chord progressions while someone else takes a random book and reads aloud in song.  It's really funny (to us anyway).

What were the top 3 challenges in pursuing this activity:

Finding the time to practise was hard at times.  My parents wouldn't let me slip on grades because of a hobby, so I had to get my work done and then practise.  In playing guitar, your fingers can really hurt until you build up calluses.  That just comes with time and playing a LOT - there's no shortcut for it.  Now that I can play, my biggest challenge is low funds.  I want to be able to record my music, and to help my friends who play instruments record music.  I need a decent computer and the right software to do that.  I have a minimum wage job, but it's really not going to add up any time soon.  I hope to put a MeritBooster project together soon to raise funds for the equipment (hint hint everyone).  But right now I have to focus on school for a couple of months.

What other activities or hobbies do you have:

Playing sports with friends, and photography.  I love going out and taking photographs of nature and of things I find interesting.  I like looking at the world from different perspectives by choosing unusual camera angles for example.


What does Excellence mean to you:

It means achieving your goals, and achieving them by working hard - not by cheating.

Who are your role models and why:

I cant say it's one specific person but I try to take traits from many people to mould an ideal person I strive to be like.

What are you future goals and aspirations?

this fall I am starting at the University of Connecticut. I want to double major in education and chemistry. I hope to teach at either high school or college level. I am thinking about a future in medicine but haven't fully made up my mind yet. I know that I want to make music a greater part of my life. I
would like to use music as a means to express myself and share with the world so I definitely want to pursue it further.

What is your advice for someone starting out in this activity:

Have a positive attitude and be persistent. You gotta have a drive for achieving what you want.  Practise everyday if you are trying to learn an instrument.  Stick with it for a while.  You'll sound terrible at first, but in a few months, you will start to get the hang of things and then it gets to be really fun.


Do YOU know of a young person who exhibits youth excellence?  Contact Us to nominate them.

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