Taylor Benson: Young Composer

Taylor Benson: Young Composer

by Maris Laughton

A freshman composing music for a school play is almost unheard of until you meet Taylor Benson. His love for the piano and improvisational style result in musical arrangements that amaze everyone who listens.

Benson has always enjoyed playing the piano for people. When he had the opportunity to play for Emily Snyder, director of The Tempest, he was thrilled. He simply sat on the piano bench and improvised. Snyder immediately offered him a position to compose the music for the play.

“I never thought I would be composing music this young,” said Benson. “When I practice, I have always only improvised.”

Though Benson is composing the music, he doesn’t write it down. He remembers the music by thinking back to how he was feeling when he played it and which character he wrote it for.

The cast and crew treat him like family and are amazed by his talent.

“Taylor’s music is wonderful and really helps everyone get into their characters,” said freshman cast member Teddy Waszazak. “One of the first things he played is now The Tempest theme song,”

Benson attends every rehearsal and said it feels like a “breath of fresh air” when he is there. Everyone is friendly, and meeting new people is great. He loves playing during rehearsals, but said, when performance time arrives, he will be nervous before the show.

“Once I start to play all my worries melt away,” stated Benson. “And if I mess up during the performance, I’ll just improvise. It doesn’t matter that much because I’m the only one who knows I made a mistake.”

Band Director Jason Caron has had a huge impact on Benson and helped him realize it is okay to make mistakes. He is impressed with Taylor’s improvement and achievements in music over the past year.

“Taylor is self-motivated, inspired, and passionate about music,” said Caron. “And the fact that he is so willing to share that with all of us is a gift that we should appreciate and respect.”

Having first-rate music teachers and, specifically, piano teachers over the years has been wonderful and finding his first teacher was a challenge.

“I was six-years-old when I started piano lessons and finding the perfect teacher for my brother, my sister, and me was difficult,” Benson said. “We started at a keyboard store where you could take lessons but the guy running the store wouldn’t let us touch anything.”

It was obvious to Taylor that wasn’t the place for him. His mother took him and his siblings to another place with a female instructor. Immediately she was welcoming and started teaching them the correct keyboard fingering.

“We knew right then she was the teacher for us,” said Benson.

From that point on, music has played a significant role in Taylor’s life and will continue to do so. His passion let him take his talent to the next level and he knows he will never be without the piano.

“When I’m away from the piano it’s like I’m holding my breath, but once I start playing it’s like I can breathe again.”

Fun Facts

He was 6 years old when he started playing piano.

In sixth grade he started playing the oboe.

Favorite piece to play on piano: Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven

Favorite Band: Dream Theater

Favorite genre of music: doesn’t have one

Favorite song: Far From Heaven by Dream Theater