Timothy Ro of Garibaldi secondary has been accepted to the same music school that counts among its alumni singers John Mayer and Diana Krall.
After a rigorous application process, Ro is moving to Boston to pursue a career in the music industry at the Berklee College of Music.
Ro plays piano, guitar and percussion and will study songwriting, film composition and music production.
Despite being a trained classical pianist of 10 years and a self-taught jazz pianist, admission to the school not an easy feat.
Ro went through a live audition and an interview process that included a prepared piece, improvisation, sight-reading, ear training, exercises, rhythmic testing and a final interview.
Ro does more than read music well — he also writes it.
“It’s an intimate way to express myself and I think it says a lot about myself without having to talk,” Ro about composing.
“I think one of the challenges is thinking, ‘What if people don’t like this or don’t like that.’ But I’ve overcome that and I try to make music that I like.”
Ro said after the audition he felt “50-50.” He felt ready.
“But I also knew there was a huge competition at this school.”
Both of his parents are musicians, to whom he attributes his love of music. At Garibaldi, Ro was enrolled in the IB music program, played with the advanced senior ensemble, and was selected to play percussion with the B.C. Music Education Association Honour Wind Ensemble.
“Garibaldi has an excellent music program and an excellent music director, Ms. Bell. She really inspired me and she’s a great teacher,” said Ro.
His dream is to become a composer and songwriter. Ro enjoys playing any genre of music from classical to pop and jazz, but his favorite to play is his own work.
“I like to play my own compositions. It may sound narcissistic, but it’s the music I understand.”
One year of studying and living at Berklee will cost Ro approximately $50,000-70,000 U.S.
• A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Ro with expenses.