Well-Rounded Eighth Grader, Olivia, Talks Piano and Music


Olivia is an artist and musician. She loves her weekly private art lessons and Suzuki method classical piano lessons, and is also a member of the School of Rock Gilbert Performance Group, where she sings lead and back-up vocals and plays keys. She has been an avid reader since preschool and fell in love with Roald Dahl in 1st Grade. (Matilda is one of her all time favorite books!) She also loves to transcribe her favorite video game music on the piano.

Olivia is a member of the Willis STEAM Academy, National Junior Honor Society and Fellowship of the Reader. She works very hard to earn good grades. Her favorite subjects are Social Studies, Language Arts and Art. She is a graduate of Knox Gifted Academy and has been a CATS kids since Kindergarten. Olivia is also Twice-Exceptional. She is gifted and ADHD. Sometimes it can be difficult for Olivia to stay on task, but she is aware and works hard to self advocate and most of all, to never give up. In the gifted program, she has learned grit, that failure, (design and redesign) is part of the growth process and that patience and kindness goes a long way.

Olivia also loves Japanese culture and loved visiting her Japanese family in Japan a few years ago. She is proud of her Arizona and Japanese heritage.

Q. How long have you taken piano lessons? Can you tell us about the Suzuki method?

A. I think I was about eight when I started the Suzuki method, and I was about five when I started in the first place. From what I can tell, the Suzuki method is much more heavily focused on good body posture from the way you sit all the way to the sliding of your fingers on the keys. When I play piano in front of others for the first time, they tend to say that I have a very nice way of playing, which I can assume is all thanks to the Suzuki method.

Q. What did you love most about your trip to Japan?

A. I think I loved almost everything. There was great food, and there were really interesting places to see. I really loved this type of gummy candy that was exclusive to Japan, and it felt cold outside rather than the average we seem to have of 100 degrees. It was a very surreal experience the entire time- even though I ended up having severe jet lag after both trips there and back.

Q. Can you tell us about your involvement in the School of Rock?

A. My brother started participating in it, and I decided to try it out. I ended up being a part of a multitude of seasons, or shows. I would play the piano and sing, but in the beginning I would only play the piano due to being too shy. Right now, I’m taking a break so I can focus more on other things such as homework and having more free time.

Q. Coming from a family of dentists, do you plan on following in their footsteps or doing something different?

A. Even though I’m in 8th grade, I’m still not sure whether I should try being a dentist or not. I worked at my Dad’s office as a volunteer, and I’m pretty capable of doing the simple things such as cleaning rooms and replacing bottles of soap or mouthwash. I’m honestly just not sure.

Olivia Gibbons is an eighth grader at Willis Junior High.



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