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The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

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Senior guitarist picks a future

Sam Bode
Belkin plays one of his guitars outside of his house.

The deafening sound of the guitar rattles the floor. As senior Evan Belkin plays his electric Fender, the rest of the world melts away until all that is left is the music.

The first time Belkin ever picked up a guitar was to complete his sixth-grade fine arts credit, but he was reinspired to play at the beginning of his junior year. His main inspiration comes from one of his favorite rock bands, Blink-182.

“I started listening to a lot of Blink-182,” Belkin said. “They’re very guitar heavy, and I wanted to learn some of their stuff. They have new music that’s coming out, but most of their popular stuff is from the early 2000s.”

Belkin is teaching himself how to play the guitar, and he learns in a variety of ways. He will listen to the music and try to follow along with the song to figure things out on his own, but he also watches YouTube videos and uses online websites to help. 

Ultimate Guitar has an app and a website,” Belkin said. “It’s helpful because it has tabs, which is basically reading music for people that don’t know how to read music. I can see how different songs are laid out and how they are played which really helps me to learn the guitar itself.”

Belkin started off playing his only guitar, an electric Fender, but over the last year, he’s gotten an electric bass and an acoustic guitar. While he plays all three, he favors his electric Fender the most.

“My favorite is definitely my electric Fender,” Belkin said. “I use a lot of distortion when I play and that is the easiest to have distortion with. Distortion is loud and rough, and it’s better for rock music.”

  When Belkin is playing the guitar, his favorite feeling is when he is so focused on the music that the rest of the world disappears. His determination has led to some memorable moments of success.

“My favorite feeling while playing the guitar is when I can really zone in and feel like I’m playing on a stage,” Belkin said. “Nothing else seems to be happening, and it’s just me and the guitar and the sound. I can just picture whatever background I want. The best kind of memories I have are when I figure things out on my own, kind of having a lightbulb moment, because I feel like that’s just me getting one step closer to actually being good.”

Even though Belkin doesn’t regularly play for an audience, his progress is very clear to the people around him. His parents, Morry and Rachel Belkin, have heard his progress even when Evan thinks no one is listening.

“His bedroom is above my office,” Moory said. “So if I’m working I can hear him play easily. When he first started, he’d just repeat the beginning of the song until he got it down. You could hear all the mistakes as he not only tried to learn the song itself, but how to hold his hands, etc. Now I hear him play complete songs. Or if I hear a song he’s never played, even then he can generally play the whole song right away. He really sounds like a guitar player now.”

For the most part, Evan has been playing guitar by himself, but he occasionally plays with his brother, sophomore Noah Belkin, ever since he taught Noah how to play the bass.

“We basically listen to the same music,” Noah said. “When he got a bass, he taught me how to play, and I have played a little bit. We’ve played All The Small Things by Blink-182.”

Along with Blink-182, Evan draws inspiration from Green Day, Bowling For Soup, and Modern Baseball. Their music style has even sparked Evan’s interest in writing his own music, solo and with other musicians.

“I want to do something a little pop-punk or casually emo,” Evan said. “If I were to do softer songs, I’d want to do something in the midwest-emo genre. I have a lot of ideas planned out by myself, but when I actually start creating them, I’d do it with other people.”

Alongside his aspirations of making music with other people, Evan wants to play with other musicians, too. He has already connected with others over their shared interest in guitar, and he is excited by the idea of one day playing in a band.

“I have not played with others yet,” Evan said. “I would really like to. My end goal is playing in a band on stage. Guitar has helped me build relationships with people that also play guitar because I can talk about that with them and I can learn from other people that are more knowledgeable than I am.”

Wherever the guitar ends up leading Evan, his triumphs have already been noted by his family and friends. He has support from the people around to make the choices about his future in guitar, whether that is to turn music into a career, or if he wants to keep it a private hobby. 

“I’m really proud of Evan for teaching himself how to play the guitar and sticking with it,” Rachel said. “Evan could have a future in playing the guitar, if he decides to continue. I could also see him playing for fun at college or for his friends.”

Belkin has multiple guitars both acoustic and electric. (Sam Bode)
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