Student Spotlight: Kaylee Sroka

Brianna Sloop, IV Leader Staff

Student musicians are typically held to a very high standard. They are expected to keep up on their studies, attend every rehearsal, attend every performance, and practice their instruments daily. Similar to student-athletes, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be a student musician. Although it may be difficult to keep up with everything sometimes, most of those students involved do great in school and succeed in what they do.

Kaylee Sroka, a freshman at Illinois Valley Community College, is a perfect example of what a hard-working student musician looks like. She was born and raised in Streator, Illinois where she started band in 5th grade. In the beginning, Kaylee started playing the clarinet, but by the end of high school, she learned how to play several instruments including percussion, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, baritone, tuba, bass trombone, and piano.

During her senior year at Streator Township High School, Kaylee was not only the section leader for the clarinet section but also the president of Tri-M. She was starting to learn how to play the flute and oboe for a musical but due to the ongoing pandemic, the musical was halted.

Although Kaylee has succeeded greatly as a musician, she stated that since her junior year, she had been struggling with health problems such as “low blood pressure making it hard to play for long periods without feeling lightheaded and almost passing out.” According to Kaylee, “I’ve had to pace myself while playing.” She also stated that sometimes she “struggled to switch back and forth between bass clef and treble clef depending on the instrument.” She overcame these issues by practicing more often and gradually becoming more fluent.

Kaylee has been a musician for years. She originally started because she knew her grandma enjoyed listening to the band. As her music education continued, Kaylee was inspired to play by Mr. Rice, a retired band director who helped out with the band in his spare time. She has multiple favorite pieces that she has played over the years including, October composed by Eric Whitacre, A Hymnsong of Philip Bliss, and Heroes, Lost and Fallen composed by David Gillingham. She hopes to continue her musicianship and music education at Illinois Valley Community College.

So far, Kaylee is enjoying Illinois Valley Community College, although almost all her classes are online due to Covid, she does attend in-person piano lessons. Kaylee stated that “all of the teachers have been nice and they understand how difficult times have been and empathize with their students.”

Her plan while attending Illinois Valley Community College is to major in music therapy. Music therapy is the use of music to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of an individual or a group. Later on, she hopes to earn another degree in music education because she found that she has a passion for helping kids find their own passion in music.


“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything” -Plato