The following article is part of our Student Spotlight series, which highlights the stories and experiences of Real School students and their families.
Real School vocal and ensemble student and Burlington High School junior Emily Campagna shares her musical journey, advice for aspiring musicians, and hopes for the future.
Given her strong talent, hard work, and early achievements, Emily is super grounded. She has an inspirational message about how creating music can help you when you're down, who she admires and why, and how to make happiness your number one goal.
Leighann: You’ve been a big part of our community for a long time. You're in ensembles, lessons, and are very involved in our RealJams Advanced program over the summer. Tell us about your background a little bit.
Emily: I’ve been taking lessons here for about 5 years since the 6th grade and I’m a junior now. Wow!
Leighann: Yeah, that’s a long time!
Emily: I typically like to sing jazz music, I like to do it with a group of people because I feel like it’s really happy and I don’t like to perform alone.
Leighann: Why did you start coming here? What brought you to our school?
Emily: This is funny. I was in dance for about ten years and I kind of fell out of love with it. I still had a passion for music and I wanted to take singing lessons. It was a really hard decision.
I went to my elementary school carnival and my mom said, “here’s ten dollars, you can do whatever you want with it.” So, I bought a bunch of raffle tickets and The Real School had a raffle for a free lesson. I took that ten dollars and I put all of my raffle tickets into the bin and I won! I came here and just thought, why would I ever go back?
Leighann: Real School is like a family event for you. Your brother takes lessons here and he’s a senior. Your parents are super supportive and are at all of your events. You’ve even been interning with us as a mentor and as a photographer! What is it about our community that draws you in?
Emily: There’s really a spot for everyone. There’s a spot for my brother, who varies from me. He plays in a heavy metal band, I have my jazz. A little different! But he fits in just as well as I do.
Leighann: Everyone needs a space to do their own thing and express themselves. It’s nice that you guys get to do something together, but also stay true to yourselves.
Emily: it’s like a competition, honestly! We rival each other!
Leighann: What has been your most memorable experience with music so far?
Emily: I was in a band called Insight with some great people, and we got the opportunity to play at Canobie Lake Park. It was a step into the real world of music. We started at Real School, we met here all of the time. Bill Doss was our instructor and he coached us through how to network and everything. And, we ended up winning! It was so fun!
Leighann: That’s awesome! I bet you played for so many people!
Emily: Oh, yeah!
Leighann: How has playing music made a positive impact on your life?
Emily: As most people know, high school can be a little rough. I deal with anxiety, and as cliche as it sounds, music is my escape. It’s how I can get away. My mom knows that if I’m in my room and it’s one o’clock in the morning and she hears me playing my ukulele, she knows that I'm writing my way out.
Leighann: Have you thought much about what you want to do after you graduate from high school? What are your dreams and goals?
Emily: I get asked this so much being a junior in high school. I just want to be happy!
Leighann: That’s the best answer I’ve ever gotten from anyone! So, you should be doing things that you love and let the rest fall into place?
Emily: As long as it’s creative, I’ll be happy. Music, photography, just creating and sharing with people.
Leighann: When people say to you, “I’m really looking to push myself as a musician, I’m looking to improve myself and grow as an artist." What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Emily: I think it can be hard when you do things with a set goal. A lot of kids I know who do music say, “I want to be rich…. I want to be famous.” But when you do it for you, it’s so much more natural and so much more fun.
Leighann: Who or what inspires you?
Emily: Most people would say their musical idol (like Gwen Stafani for me), but it’s the people in my community like Bill Doss. He really pushes me and is still doing what he loves. And, my parents. They push me to do what I love and they’re very inspiring because they’re doing what they love.
Leighann: It’s been great talking to you and thank you for sharing your story! It’s great to have you as a member of our community and we love watching you grow. We can’t wait to see what the future holds and to watch you grow even more!
Emily: Thank you!
Like this article? Here are a few others you may enjoy:
- Live @ The Burren: RealJams Advanced Session 1 2017
- Real School Piano Student Zack Zahagian
- RealJams Academy: Real School's Premier Summer Program
- Student Spotlight Series: Burlington Guitarist and Vocalist Ashley Koman
- Student Spotlight Series: Andover Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist Dylan Walsh