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Niagara: Alyssa Shanghavi

The 21 year-old Brock student wants to break away from expectations and become a successful trombonist.

Photo credit: Myling Pak

Alyssa Shanghavi has always been drawn to music.

"I feel like I've always wanted to play music since I was a kid," said Alyssa. "We had high school bands and stuff come visit the two elementary schools I attended to promote music education and just playing instruments in general, but my parents were never down. Ever, ever, ever. I have pretty severe asthma, and I wanted to play the tuba- they thought I’d die from an attack since they were kind of overprotective."

Although passionate about her career, Alyssa grew up as the black sheep of her family.

"Neither of my parents can even hold a tune," said Alyssa. "They actually disliked it, listening to it would give both of them headaches, even to this day."

Photo credit: Divya Iyer

Alyssa chose trombone after watching a high school teacher perform with the instrument.

"In highschool, our band teacher- the second trombonist in the NSO, led a trombone ensemble called "Tubarama"- basically we covered rock tunes on trombones- it was so cool," said Alyssa,

"I wanted to be in the group so I learned how to play the trombone too."

The trombonist went through multiple musical phases.

"When it came to listening to music, I really just went with the flow growing up," said Alyssa. "I thought that you had to listen to what you were fed socially. So at the time, around high school, everyone was into Taylor Swift, Mariana’s Trench, Hedley, just super popular artists. It wasn’t until University that I had actual inspirations and was proud to listen to what fit my own musical taste."

Photo credit: Myling Pak

Alyssa finds current inspiration in everything from electronic artists to classical jazz musicians.

"For inspirations, it's pretty wide," said Alyssa. "Daft Punk- they’re so unique, Manteca- I listened to them a lot in high school since our music teacher had a connection with the group, and I still love them so much. Foster the People, they've always been fantastic in my books. Also multiple professional, classical trombone players and other instrumentalists who I like seeing when they perform locally. The inspiration I draw from the above musicians exists because there’s something I especially love about their music that makes me want to share how it makes me feel when I create, if that makes sense."

When Alyssa pictures her future, she sees herself making a living off of music.

"I honestly had no idea that professional “classical” musicians were a thing until I got to Brock University," said Alyssa. "Being a late bloomer, it took me until my second year to realize that nothing else mattered to me in terms of a career other than being a professional trombonist. The idea of being amazing at my instrument, and then playing it to make a living is such a desire."

"We can all want something really badly, but I think the biggest challenge is just staying on track and remembering just how important it is to achieve the goal you’re working toward, because you can make it happen if you really want it."

For now, Alyssa plans on creating, practicing, and teaching from home until her craft becomes her career.

"All I know is that I want to be a professional trombonist someday," said Alyssa. "I guess that means practicing my ass off, which I’m more than happy to do as always- networking, teaching, and just focusing on the end goal as hard as I can. It would also be cool to play in some local bands because I’d like to get my feet wet. I usually only play classical music, and playing with others- regardless of the style, is something that I really miss. So it would be nice to switch it up once in a while."

Upcoming gigs:

Apr. 8th 2019 Graduation Recital @ Concordia Lutheran Seminary

Apr. 9th 2019 @ FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines, ON

May 5th 2019 w/ Momentum Choir @ FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines, ON


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