May Student Spotlight – Sawyer Kooyman


Every month we highlight one student and put them in the “spotlight” to show off their achievements and passion for their art!

May: Sawyer Kooyman

Sawyer is a 13-year-old one man band! He plays more instruments than most musicians his age. He has been at Melody Makers since he was in 6th grade.

“Sawyer was born loving music,” says his mom, Susie Kooyman. He received his first drum set at age three primarily for therapeutic reasons. Sawyer was born with a serious arm injury that causes his left arm to be partially paralyzed. “Playing music early on helped [Sawyer] with the recovery of some of the movement,” says Susie Kooyman. Sawyer had back surgery at age seven and had to quit soccer and baseball due to a birth defect that caused a tethered spinal cord. “He had a pretty physically painful childhood since it took a long time to diagnose, music has helped him get through it all. Thank goodness he had a love for something that didn’t involve too much physical activity,” recalls his mom.

He started drum lessons soon after he received his first set at age three and was playing full songs before preschool graduation. “He announced at preschool graduation that he was going to be a rockstar when he grew up,” remembers his mom. The hobby continued and he received his first electric guitar in 1st grade. Because he was still so young and not many guitar teachers would take on such a young student, he taught himself to play guitar. During this time he taught himself to play his dad’s acoustic guitar. In 5th grade, he expanded his self-taught ability and took up electric bass.

Finally Sawyer made it to Melody Makers! He had his first lesson with Dave, his current guitar coach, in 6th grade and began vocal lessons just a year later with owner and director of Melody Makers, Melanie Andrews. “Sawyer is a truly gifted young musician with an amazing ear for music. He blows us away with his ability to play so many different instruments well,” says Melanie Andrews. His list of instruments in his repertoire didn’t stop there. Sawyer took up violin for a year and then trumpet for three years. In school he played the stand-up bass and was a member of Jazz band and Orchestra. Outside of school he was an avid member of an OC Youth band for a year and a half.

Sawyer recently auditioned and was accepted into the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana for his Freshman year in the Commercial Music Conservatory.

He continues to grow with us at Melody Makers. As a Pre-Production student, Sawyer records weekly at our recording studio in Newport Beach. He has written an original song, on which he played every instrument, and released an official music video – showing this talent!

“Sawyer loves to live in the moment, playing and writing music daily. He seems to be working towards that announcement he make at pre-school graduation,” says his mom.

Keeping that classic rock genre alive, Sawyer is continuing his recording sessions at Melody Makers. His original “Just Wait” has the feel of some of his favorite bands – but with originality and impressive playing (off all instruments). At the pace he is at now, he’ll run out of instruments before he’s 20 years old!

Melody Makers is honored to have such a talented and passionate student of music. “We are so excited at Melody Makers and MDI to be assisting Sawyer with his journey into the music industry,” says Melanie. We look forward to his bright future!

Check out his music video here:

By: Melody Makers OC Student Spotlight Program