This is the forty-eighth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!


Name: Sophia Motai

Hometown: Alpine, NJ

School Name: Tenafly High School

Instrument: Violin

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I applied for this wonderful opportunity to achieve two goals. One is that I would like to challenge my potential as a fine violinist by playing with other good musicians from all over the country. The other is that I would like to become an independent and responsible young adult. This is a perfect opportunity for me to open myself up to a new environment and people. I believe it will be a precious experience for me to create and share music together in the ensemble.

What are three things you’ve learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. I’ve learned that you play best when you focus and get into the music.
2. I’ve also learned that the conductor is your friend, and that they will help cue you in so watch carefully.
3. Finally, I learned that orchestra is not about you; it’s about everyone as a whole performing as one.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
When Larry talked about his experience with music and life at the reception after the final concert, I was inspired and appreciated the whole experience at this national music festival.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I am involved in the chamber group and occasionally perform for elderly people at nursing homes and senior centers. I also belong to the acapella club and sing in concerts at school and outside of school. In the spring, I play softball.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I highly recommend “1984” by George Orwell, which gave me deep insight into human beings and society.

What’s your favorite song or piece of music?
Antonin Dvorak Symphony No 8. in G Major

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Green Tea

What’s your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy reading and watching “TED Talks”. I also like to play pool and ping-pong with my family and friends.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Just keep trying and looking forward.

What’s your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I would like to study psychology at college and also study abroad to widen my views.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have been struggling with myself internally and find it difficult to build a good relationship with others, but this experience made me realize that I don’t have to fear starting new relationships and I can live my life with the purpose of finding true happiness.