By Hannah Lemmons
There is more to Alex Youn than meets the eye.
The 17-year old resident of Saratoga, California is the classic jock to many who know him. He’s an avid basketball, baseball, football and soccer player. His dream job is to become a sports doctor for the LA Lakers.
However, this athlete often gets in touch with his creative side through his love of classical guitar.
The Harker School
Youn picked up his first instrument, a ukulele, when he and his family were vacationing in Hawaii when he was five.
“Obviously, I didn’t know how to play it, but I started strumming randomly,” he said. “My mom asked me, ‘Would you like to learn how to play guitar?’ and I said sure. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. But it turned out to be a long, grueling (and) extremely rewarding experience.”
Youn has since honed his musical talent and uses his classical training as a foundation to explore other genres of music.
“When learning something like classical guitar, you learn the theory behind [the music],” he said. “Building off of your skills as a classical guitarist lets you more easily expand into other guitar areas, such as banjo, such as church music, such as jazz.”
Youn also plays in his high school’s jazz band and in the music ministry at his church.
His greatest musical experience in his 12 years of playing was the summer he spent at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp in Michigan. Youn’s guitar skills earned him a spot in the prestigious six-week long program.
Youn said it was difficult to adjust to the new environment in the beginning.
“It was the longest time I had been away from home, so I was pretty homesick at first,” he said. “But after a while, I was able to appreciate the fact that we’re all here for one purpose: to communicate with each other in a way that transcends words on a page. [Music] is truly a profound gift we have.”
Music will definitely be a part of Youn’s life despite a desire to find a career in athletics.
“I love sports, but I also love music,” he said.