Shimona Michelson enters in ISSMA competition

Clara Graham, Staff Writer

Optimist sat down with Shimona Michelson to discuss Michelson’s ISSMA accomplishments. Michelson plays the flute, piano, alto saxophone, French horn and clarinet. He played the flute, piano and alto saxophone for ISSMA, and entered into group 1, group 1, and group 2 respectively.  

When did you start playing instruments? 

 I started piano  when I was 6, flute I started in 6th grade, clarinet and French horn I started this year and alto sax I started in 7th grade. 

Do you come from a musical background? 

My mom plays the bamboo flute from China . My older sister plays piano and my mom encouraged me to play piano too. My father played guitar in a rock band and both of my grandparents went to Julliard. So yes, I would consider my background pretty musical 

Do you take private lessons? 

Yes, I take private piano lessons. I also take private lessons from a college student who helps me with flute, saxophone and clarinet depending on how I’m feeling.

Did you play more over quarantine? 

From 2020-2021 I really didn’t play that many instruments, it was really just a hard time for everyone and I didn’t have the brain power to put into instruments. But recently, in the last 6 months I’ve been really getting into instruments. And if we went back into online school I would be playing my instruments more often than I do now. 

Do you have a favorite piece? 

For my piano ISSMA I’m playing Chopin Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, but my favorite is this waltz I found when I was looking through my old piano books. It’s called Little Fairy Waltz. 

Do you have a piece you hope to or aspire to play? 

After I finish ISSMA I do want to play Chopin’s Etude in Ab Major, his Op. 25 No. 1 because I used to. Before I began practicing for ISSMA, I played the first page of that song, and I kind of gave up because it was hard. But I want to pick it up again.

Do you  have a favorite Instrument? 

You can definitely knock clarinet and saxophone off the list, French horn I am not too good at, so it’s between piano and flute. But I would have to put piano on top. 

Do you have any dreams of becoming a musician? Or going to Jacobs School or Julliard? 

That I would be a very interesting profession, something I would enjoy but I don’t think I will pursue in the future for many reasons, that I will not state at the risk of offending any aspiring musicians. 

Do you hope to, in 10 years, still be able to play instruments? 

Yes, of course. I will definitely continue music as a hobby. But I don’t know how far that dream will go because once my sister entered her junior and senior year she had to stop practicing because she got too busy. 

Is there an instrument that you want to learn to play?

I stated earlier that I played French horn, but I might have to put that on the list because I’m not very good at it. I can sort of play it, but I’m not superb. Otherwise I would really want to learn how to play either cello or bass. 

When you play music does it help your overall mental health? 

I think music is really good at not making me think about things that make me stressed. I know some people think that music is a way to vent out emotions- I’ve never been good at that if I’m being honest, or think of music in that way. But it is good when I’m feeling tired or stressed or just want to take a break from work. 


Michelson won gold in all three of his solos. Earning a gold in group 1 qualifies the performer for the state ISSMA competition. He will preform at the state competition for piano February 19th, and February 26th he will preform his flute solo.