July 16, 2024

San Antonio College Student News

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The Trumpet Player: How Music Became a Student’s Reason for Living

trumpet player
SAC music student Megan Barrientos plays the piano, bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar and ukulele. She also sings and writes her own music, and she believes music is a universal language. Photo by Steven Howard.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Megan Barrientos spent nearly a month quarantined alone in her garage. The 19-year-old SAC music student spent her days playing her trumpet and obsessively feeding her knowledge of music. 

“I felt so alone,” Barrientos told The Sundial. “I used all my time and the small amount of energy I had and played my trumpet. I can truly say that music has saved my life.” 

Barrientos, who struggles with depression related to childhood abuse, has been playing music since the sixth grade, and she believes music is a universal language for humanity. 

“That is what people usually rely on when it comes to anything: happiness, sadness, anxiety,” Barrientos said. “Music is something a lot of people use as a coping mechanism. Although many people don’t fully realize it, music plays a big part in the whole universe.”

“My trumpet got me through it. Although it was a distraction, it was a healthy one. Although I was alone, I was not because I had music.” — Megan Barrientos

Barrientos has studied many musical genres and can play the piano, bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar and ukulele. She sings and writes her own music, and she wants to teach people the great comfort music can bring to their lives. 

“Music can evoke a great many emotions,” SAC Music Professor Cynthia Sanchez told The Sundial. “Every movie you see demonstrates that. Every commercial you see uses music to persuade the viewer toward the product it is sponsoring.”

Music can also help lower the impact of depression and anxiety, according to the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit focused on emotional health and suicide prevention for teens and young adults.

“When COVID happened, it made my depression 10 times worse,” Barrientos said. “COVID made me feel so lonely, and I had nothing but my trumpet and music to rely on.” 

During her month of quarantine, Barrientos searched for challenging music and spent her days breaking it down note by note. Finding songs to fit her thoughts and emotions made her feel like she could talk without opening her mouth. It made the month go by fast. 

trumpet player
SAC music student Megan Barrientos plays the piano, bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar and ukulele. She also sings and writes her own music, and she believes music is a universal language. Photo by Steven Howard.

“My trumpet got me through it,” Barrientos said. “Although it was a distraction, it was a healthy one. Although I was alone, I was not because I had music.”

Barrientos said the experience helped her grow as a musician and made her realize that she wants to spend her life spreading positivity with music and composing film scores. 

Throughout Barrientos’ life, music has been a source of comfort and strength. 

The summer before she entered eighth grade, Barrientos attended Harlandale High School’s Band Camp, where she made many friends and earned a position as drum major. But after she was targeted by bullies, Barrientos began to isolate herself. That’s when playing the trumpet became a healthy distraction and coping mechanism. 

“I always told myself that no matter how much they took away from me or said things about me, they could never take away music,” Barrientos said.

trumpet player
SAC music student Megan Barrientos plays the piano, bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar and ukulele. She also sings and writes her own music, and she believes music is a universal language. Photo by Steven Howard.

Barrientos worked hard during her senior year of high school, making good grades and advancing to the finals of the University Interscholastic League’s State Mariachi Festival. She also represented her school as a herald trumpet player in a battle of the bands. 

“I pushed myself to the limits as much as I could,” Barrientos said. “I don’t like settling for less.” 

Sanchez said she appreciates Barrientos’ work ethic and attitude as a student. 

“Megan is a delight to have in class,” she said. “She participates fully and is funny, talented and kind to her peers.”

trumpet player
SAC music student Megan Barrientos plays the piano, bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar and ukulele. She also sings and writes her own music, and she believes music is a universal language. Photo by Steven Howard.

Music has impacted Barrientos’ whole family. Her mother played the flute and the violin in high school but stopped playing after she graduated. She pushed her daughters to try music. 

Barrientos said her mother, a nurse, did not understand her daughter’s depression until she began working with people who suffer with mental health issues in Bexar County jail. She eventually realized the need to confront her family’s mental health challenges. Barrientos said being musically inclined brought her family members closer together.

“Music brought me to where I am today, and that is why I’m doing what I’m doing now,” Barrientos said. “God has blessed me with so much, and I’m eternally grateful. Waking up every day to see my family reminds me I can make a difference — not only in my life but in other’s lives. Life is so beautiful, but we must find the beauty in all the small things. I know that someday I’ll be able to express myself more with my music.”

Read Next: Music Student Who Taught Himself to Play Is Burgeoning Artist

Julissa Luna

Julissa Luna

Julissa Luna is a freshman majoring in journalism at SAC. She enjoys reading, writing and challenging herself, and she likes to hear various perspectives and elaborate on topics. She enjoys noticing the small things that people miss. She plans to transfer to Our Lady of the Lake University and study psychology.
Julissa Luna

Julissa Luna

Julissa Luna is a freshman majoring in journalism at SAC. She enjoys reading, writing and challenging herself, and she likes to hear various perspectives and elaborate on topics. She enjoys noticing the small things that people miss. She plans to transfer to Our Lady of the Lake University and study psychology.