Biddeford High School senior Ethan Paquet practices one of his compositions during a music class at the school. Paquet has written numerous compositions that have been played by the BHS band and at the University of Southern Maine Band. GRACE LAVERRIERE/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — Planning harmonies and melodies, drafting general rhythms, and perfecting every note. This, along with a prolonged editing process, is what it takes to compose a sheet of music.

The art of writing music is where Ethan Paquet has found his fascination.

A Biddeford High School senior, Paquet discovered his passion for musical composition from years of practicing music and learning to play six instruments and counting.

“When I was around 10 years old, my parents gave my younger brother a keyboard for Christmas,” said Paquet. “He wasn’t really into music like I was, so I just started to figure out how it worked and learned to play.”  

From a young age, Paquet has enjoyed all aspects of music. He said he plays the piano, clarinet, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, accordion, and the synthesizer, an electronic musical instrument similar to a keyboard. He started seriously writing music within the past couple of years and that is where he’s found his true passion.

“It’s really fun to be able to play with the different elements of music,” said Paquet. “It’s creating an experience.”

Paquet’s talent for composition hasn’t gone unnoticed. He has written pieces that have been performed by the Biddeford High School band, and last April he had the opportunity to write a piece for the University of Southern Maine’s band titled “The March Home.”

“It’s quite the accomplishment to hear a band playing your piece,” Paquet said.

When writing music, there is a very long editing process.

“I never really feel like a piece is done,” said Paquet. “I’ll always hear more things to fix.”

While Paquet writes his songs independently, he still is guided by one of his major mentors at the high school, band instructor Pat Bolin.

“Ethan is entirely self-motivated,” said Bolin. “I’ve had him in band for all four years of high school. He has the ideas for the harmonies and melodies, I just help him to adapt his piece so it’s easier for the high school band students to play.”

Paquet’s current project is more personal.

“I’m working on writing a song to be played at (my) graduation,” Paquet said.

With a project so close to him, he’s nervous.

“I am excited, although there are definitely nerves that go along with that,” said Paquet. “(The piece) has to be presentable, hopefully it will sound good in the end.”

When looking for inspiration for new sounds, there no science behind it, he said.

“Inspiration, it’s an interesting thing,” said Paquet. “I keep a little notebook on me most of the time, when I’m sitting in an area and I hear something (I like), I’ll write it down.”

Paquet intends to continue his musical work and studies after high school. He said he would love to attend either Berklee College of Music in Boston or the University of Southern Maine to further his music composition career.

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