By Rogelio Alvarez
In spite of financial struggles, music student David Jesus Ybarra, remains driven to overcome his struggles and accomplish his goals.
Growing up, Ybarra’s family struggled financially.
According to him, his mother, Micaela Ybarra, has been his greatest example of perseverance. Ybarra received his first guitar on Christmas after his family had barely managed to pay off the guitar on layaway.
Ybarra has played in coffee shops, backyard shows and small venues under the name “Borderline Promises.”
His debut album, “The Silence Between Heartbreak,” is scheduled for release later this year.
The music program, along with the instructors, have had a major impact on Ybarra’s musicianship.
Auditions for the East Los Angeles College Applied Music Program are held every semester.
To become a student for the Applied Music Program, applicants are required to audition in front of a music instructor for about 10 minutes. Only about 20 students are accepted.
Ybarra recalls his first semester in the music program.“The Applied Music Program brought me to the realization that I do not know everything there is to music, and at the same time, the program taught me to enjoy the experience of learning and incorporating that knowledge to my love for composing and performing music,” said Ybarra.
Some of the professors that have inspired him include Dr. Chie Nagatani, who lead him to play classical guitar, and introduced him to Dr. Ken Nagatani, who Ybarra credits as the reason why he’s majoring in classical guitar music performance.
At ELAC, Ybarra has obtained his associate degree in general studies with an emphasis in arts and humanities, music and after the summer, in liberal arts.
Ybarra is set to graduate from ELAC’s Applied Music Program this June and has been accepted into Cal State University, Los Angeles, where he will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance as a classical guitarist.
“If you are pursuing a career in music, it is important that you get used to working hard,”said Ybarra. “The Applied Music Program gets you in the right mindset.”
His hour-long solo student recital on March 23 was not the first time Ybarra has performed in front of an audience.
Ybarra has previously played in the recital hall as part of the music program’s mandatory student recitals.
According to the ELAC Music Department, the Applied Music Program requires students to participate in two or three student recitals each semester.
“I really try to show my soul through my music, and I think anyone who takes the time to genuinely listen to my music will see glimpses of my life experiences and also come to realize they have similar experiences,” said Ybarra
Ybarra has played shows at Airliner Nightclub, the Whisky a Go-Go, Love and Hate Rock Bar and Corazon del Pueblo.
“I think my journey as a musician is tough financially, but my love for music drives me to become a music teacher someday,” said Ybarra.
“I hope to accomplish a lot through my music. Who knows, maybe someday one of my songs will be on the radio. That would be a great honor.”