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Name That Tune: Jaya Ramineni

Pooja Salhotra
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Jaya Ramineni

Jaya Ramineni, 10, is a talented musician who has been reproducing popular songs on the violin and sharing them through her Instagram account, @jayaandherviolin(Photo: Shubhra Ramineni) 

This week’s Name That Tune is brought to you by Jaya Ramineni, a sharp 10-year-old who has an unusual skill: reproducing pop music on the violin. Jaya is not one to boast, but in talking to her, it became clear that she has perfect or near-perfect pitch: a rare ability to hear a musical note and then immediately identify it. Read on to learn more about Jaya, who also happens to be a talented visual artist, a loving big sister and an avid cook. 

Age: 10 
Profession: Rising 5th grader at Roberts Elementary 
Instruments: Violin

When did you start playing the violin? 
I started playing the violin when I was five years old in kindergarten. [Jaya’s mom Shubhra explained that Jaya asked her mom if she could start learning the violin when she saw that some classmates at school were taking lessons. “It was all her own initiative,” Shubhra says, explaining that she didn’t want to overwhelm Jaya with too many extracurricular activities.]

I checked out your Instagram account and you’re playing lots of pop songs. How did you started doing that? I think that’s unusual and different from what most violin students learn in their lessons. 
At my school, we have this thing called an International Festival. You can do a little show, and I do violin so one year I played an Indian song, and then I did a pop song the next year. A lot of people really liked the pop song. So then this year during the coronavirus, I’ve been doing a little bit more pop songs. I just decided to make my own Instagram account of me playing pop songs. 

How do you learn the pop songs? Does your teacher help you? 
For [the pop song she played in this week's Name That Tune], my teacher helped me. For the other ones I learn them myself.

So you purchase and then sight-read sheet music? 
No, I just listen to the song and then I just figure it out. 

Wow, that’s really impressive. I have a cousin who has perfect pitch. I wonder if you have that. Can you tell me a little more about how that works for you? I can’t imagine what it’s like to be able to hear a song and then play it!
So, I just would listen to a song and then I just hear it over and over again, and then I just figure it out along the way. 

How long does it take you to pick up a new song? 
On my Instagram account, I don’t do the full song, so that just takes five minutes. If I want to learn the whole song, that probably takes a day or two – to memorize it and everything. 

That’s awesome. Do you want to keep playing violin, and do you have thoughts on what you want to do in the future?  
Yes, I want to keep playing until I’m a grownup, but also, I like to draw and animate, so when I grow up, I’m thinking of being an animator [of films]. I also have a drawing Instagram account.

Cool. Do you manage these Instagram accounts yourself? 
Yes, but my mom looks at them every now and then. She looks at my followers and stuff. 

What else have you been up to during quarantine?
I’ve been going bike riding with my friends, and me and my family have been doing movie nights, and I’ve been playing with my brothers. Just hanging out.  

That’s great. Is there anything else you want to share about what you enjoy about playing the violin? 
I really like the sound of the violin. I picked violin over piano because piano is really common, and violin is not as common. I wanted to do something a little different. 

Editor’s note: Hear more of Jaya’s music by following her on Instagram @jayaandherviolin. Check out her drawings and animation at @jayaramennoodles. If you play a musical instrument and would like to participate in Name That Tune, email [email protected]

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