Music is everywhere in life – and for junior Derek Schafhauser, music is everything. 

As someone who has played many instruments since a young age – including snare, bass and electric guitar, piano, and drums – music has taken over Schafhauser’s life – but in the best possible way. 

“At this point in my life, music has really become a way of life,” said Schafhauser. “I express my beliefs and thoughts through the music I listen to and write and express my emotion through the music I play. I find it as an outlet in my everyday life.”

Schafhauser’s interest in music was sparked at a young age. In 2022, he decided to challenge himself further and pick up another instrument. “I went to go see the Plainfield 2022 Winter Band Show ‘Rules’ and thought it was super cool. I decided it was something I wanted to do and thought I was capable of,” said Schafhauser. This led to him playing snare, and he is now a leader and role model to other members in band

“My role in band with the drumline is as the main section leader,” said Schafhauser. “My title is ‘center snare,’ which means I am responsible for timing for the entire ensemble, and also making sure my section is achieving at the highest level we can.” 

Being a section leader has shown Schafhauser many aspects of leadership. His growth has led him to offer advice to future leaders. “I would encourage people to make kindness a priority in leadership,” he said. “Nobody wants to listen to you or accept a critique without them knowing it’s because you care about them and want them to be better.” 

As the leader, he is also responsible for keeping the order in the section if conflict arises – but he has no problem with this. “Conflict can typically be shut down pretty easily,” he said. “We have too many things to accomplish in a limited time within the season, so I like making it a priority to resolve any issues within our section.”

 It certainly doesn’t hurt that he has a great relationship with his fellow band members. “I wouldn’t be able to spend tens of hours every week with people I don’t like,” he added. “They’re the reason I came into band and they’re the reason I plan on staying and taking it further.” 

While Schafhauser does not plan on pursuing band professionally after high school, he does have plans to continue with his music. “I am working my way into some world-class ensembles that I may participate in after high school, but it’ll probably just be a hobby when I grow up,” said Schafhauser.

He enjoys his role in band for a multitude of reasons. “I really enjoy pushing myself to learn a lot of challenging stuff,” he said. “I don’t entirely love learning and reading music, but once I can just play through it, I really enjoy it.” 

Other than the great relationships and the challenges, a variety of things keep Schafhauser motivated in his musical career. “In writing music, it’s literally everything:  nature, emotions, beliefs, crazy thoughts, dreams and so many more things,” said Schafhauser. “In performing, it’s also a handful of things. It’s partially the people around me, knowing they rely on me to be successful, as I rely on them as well. It can also just be life.” 

Music has become a way for Schafhauser to escape and express his emotions. “Bad days call for finding an outlet through music and good days call for a celebration of the work I’ve put in and the enjoyment of performance,” said Schafhauser. 

Story by Rosalina Sheldon