The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

Musician Spotlight: Jake Schettini

Photo+Courtesy+of+Jake+Schettini
Photo Courtesy of Jake Schettini

When senior percussionist Jake Schettini began playing the drums in third grade, he could not have fathomed being the leading man behind nearly every musical group at LHS 10 years later. 

Schettini’s musical journey began at Waverly Elementary School, where he started out on the snare drum. “My primary instrument was really snare when I was younger, but I think in sixth or seventh grade, I started playing the drum set, and that’s been really fun for me. Over the years, I’ve been playing other stuff too, like the timpani,” Schettini expressed. Although he can now play any auxiliary percussion instrument handed to him, Schettini’s main focus is still on snare. 

 Schettini’s percussion skills have scored him the spot as lead percussionist throughout the music wing. “I’m in Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, and Jazz Combo, and I play the drum set for Mixed Chorus, Treble Choir, Concert Choir, Show Choir, Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra,” Schettini explained. Additionally, Schettini is drumline captain of the marching band and plays snare in an outside marching pipe band. 

Schettini’s rise to the top did not come without tremendous work, dedication, and discipline. Daniel Kleffman, an instructor at Lynbrook Music Instruction, taught Schettini for five years from seventh through eleventh grade. “Jake started at the beginning…he started from zero. I’ve watched him meet all of the challenges with much care, focus, and determination,” Kleffman shared. From these humble beginnings, Kleffman watched Schettini grow: “I’ve seen Jake become relentless, almost obsessive, about his progression.” 

Schettini is an active member of the marching band. Photo Courtesy of Jake Schettini

Schettini’s music teachers have also witnessed his progression through his New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) auditions. At NYSSMA, musicians are required to prepare a solo on their instrument, and this audition determines admission either into All-County or All-State ensembles. Band teacher Brian White commented on Schettini’s jump from his All-County to his Level 6 All-State solos: “Just following [him] from eighth to eleventh grade, he went from playing little kid stuff to playing all pro-level stuff, and you can see that in everything that he did, not just snare NYSSMA. You can see how he became the lead drummer of the jazz band, and he really learned how to support a group from the drum set and how to drive them.… He became a real jazz drummer over the years.” White referred to Schettini’s ability to support the ensemble as “driving the bus”—when one gets a drummer or bass player that can propel the band forward, even though they are in the back.

Musicians develop great skill through regular practice, and Schettini has exemplified this principle. He found the key to his practice schedule has been repetition. “I really have to practice because if I’m off my game, then it throws everyone off. I have to practice enough that I can get to the confidence that I know I could nail the song,” Schettini remarked. In elementary school, Waverly band director Robert Collorafi taught Schettini the quarterback analogy—that he was the “quarterback of the band.” “Now,” Schettini explained, “I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like the quarterback of the music department.” All in all, he wants to give his fellow performers and audience the best show possible. 

When asked about what positive attributes Schettini contributes to the music department, the resounding answer shared amongst his teachers and peers was his determination. Sophomore percussionist Tim Neri shared, “Jake is a very determined drummer who can play any music given to him. He never gives up on a piece no matter how hard it is.” 

Chorus teacher Barry Wyner had a unique beginning to his relationship with Schettini. In his sophomore year, Schettini was given short notice that the former lead drummer was injured. However, as per Wyner’s request, Schettini rose to the occasion to play in the Senior Benefit Recital that year. From day one, Wyner commended Schettini’s outstanding musicianship and his first-rate work ethic. “As I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve seen that he brings a huge personality and a lot of humor to the department as well…he just seems like such a cool kid,” Wyner shared. 

Schettini in his younger years. Photo Courtesy of Jake Schettini

Schettini’s four years in the music department did not consist entirely of work and practice—there was room for fun as well. Going to Disney World last February and marching down Main Street was Schettini’s favorite high school musical memory. Additionally, not only is Schettini drumline captain, but he is also captain of all three track teams at the high school, along with being in National Honor Society, historian of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and a founding member and social media manager of the organization Students Gifting Music. How does he manage to juggle it all? “I have good time management where I can do the music, run track, and maintain good grades,” Schettini explained. 

A major part of Schettini’s musical journey has been his support system. “My parents and grandparents have never missed a concert of mine, and it makes me really happy that they care so much about me and my drumming,” Schettini shared. Schettini also found a source of support and inspiration from Walter Paskoff (Class of 2018), who tutored him through Tri-M in elementary school. “He was really good, and I always aspired to be like him one day, and now it happened. I’m the one playing in these concerts,” Schettini shared. 

In becoming the core percussionist, Schettini has also assumed the role of being a role model and source of inspiration to younger students in the music department. “The way he leads is that he walks into the first marching band drum sectional with a pro drummer and he already knows the whole [set]. It’s a different way of leading, but it tends to be the better way,” White explained. Neri agreed, “He has inspired me by his good teachings. He plays the drums with such intensity and emotion.”

Although Schettini plans to major in sports media in college, playing the drums will not stop once he graduates: “I definitely want to play in ensembles at the college level, whether it be in a pep band, marching band, jazz band, or a percussion ensemble.”

Gianna Longo

For musicians aspiring to grow to Schettini’s level of talent on any instrument, heed Kleffman’s advice: “Jake’s willingness to do what is difficult and timely even though it can be frustrating and challenging is one of his greatest qualities…This is the quality that should be developed.” As for Schettini’s advice, he said to be grateful for the opportunities given: “I do not take it for granted; it’s an honor.”

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About the Contributor
Gianna Longo, Managing Editor
Hey there! My name’s Gianna, and I’m a member of the Class of 2025, along with many clubs here at LHS. In my spare time, you can find me on the stage, in the music wing, at my dance studio, or writing and editing for Horizon. Happy reading!