That certainly applies to Aidan Chodorow, a jazz guitarist and soccer and surfing athlete at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla.
During an interview about his many talents, he picks up one of his guitars and plays a short bit of Latin music with a 2-5-1 progression. It comes in the middle of his describing the connection between what music he plays and his feeling at the time.
“I play very, very, very different things based on how I feel,” the 16-year-old junior says. “I can play elevator music... .” (This is where the Latin interlude comes in.)
“It’s very hard to play very fast, uptempo music if you’re not feeling that way,” he explains. “The converse of that is that if you are not feeling calm and relaxed, it is very hard to play music of that mood.”
This student athlete suffered season-ending injuries to his ankle and his neck his first two years on the Knight varsity soccer team as a center midfielder emphasizing defense. His ankle has recovered, but he says his explosiveness has decreased and that its full recovery remains to be seen.
In his current relaxed mood, he isn’t feeling a lot of frustration over his star-crossed freshman and sophomore seasons. When a visitor comes to the front gate, he’s busy strumming a guitar — his guitars are arranged on their stands inside the house near the front door. He talks about his love for music and the ability to just “pick up the guitar and play it for five minutes” when he’s feeling tense.
“It’s a relief,” says Chodorow. “I love it. I’m a person who gets stressed easily. At Bishop’s, you get lots of work.”
His guitar playing is an outlet for relaxation – yet these days he is also concentrating on the intricacies of jazz guitar with a private instructor.
“I worked with my teacher on playing a jazz standard, ‘Misty,' a ballad,” he shares. “Playing solo, it’s hard. You have to understand the intervals and relationships between notes.” He admits the jazz theory he is learning is “complex,” yet he thrives on this rather than being stressed further.
As he sits overlooking the La Jolla Shores palms below, he compares knowing the intervals – the relationship between notes – to his work on his surfboard. “It’s kind of like in surfing, you have to read the wave, to turn or to nose-ride... to do what you want to do on the board.
“It’s very mentally challenging (learning the intervals)” in jazz guitar, he continues. “The frustrating thing is because everything in jazz is based on intervals, you really have to know the intervals to play the music.”
As a sophomore, Chodorow thrilled to advanced placement European History, because 1), his instructor, Melinda Hennessy, provided an outstanding learning environment and 2), because of the Renaissance. “I love the Renaissance, studying art and the creative explosion of the time,” he confides. “It really appealed to me.”
He is one of the 10 members of the Knights’ jazz band. He also keeps his hand in the rock music he began learning in the seventh grade by playing in a reggae/rock fusion band with fellow musicians from Parker, La Jolla High and Mesa College.