Ian’s passion for piano


Senior Ian Givens is an accomplished musician, lighting up the KO community with his musical pursuits. Ian has been a member of both the Middle School and Upper School jazz combos during his time at KO, and in his spare time, he takes private piano lessons outside of school. 

Ian started taking lessons when he was six, and since then, he has developed into a versatile pianist. Ian has experience playing both jazz and classical music – two very different styles. Ian feels that his jazz experience has helped him be a more creative pianist. “In jazz music, you follow the form and follow the basic structure of the song,” he said, “but you also get to branch off and make it your own.”

What Ian loves most about jazz music is the multifaceted role the pianist has in the performances of jazz pieces. “You can be more of like an accompaniment when someone is singing or soloing [by] playing the chords underneath them,” Ian said, “but then you can also take more of a lead role, whether it’s through a solo or the melody.”

Upper School creative arts Chair and jazz combo Director Todd Millen believes that Ian’s enthusiasm and hard work has helped him mature as a pianist and as a musician. “Ian has always been highly enthusiastic about music and about jazz,” Mr. Millen said. “He really wants to be good at what he does, and he puts in the time.”

Mr. Millen also noted that Ian has greatly advanced and progressed as a pianist since his time at the KO Middle School. “He’s really mature as a pianist in understanding the difference between knowing when you’re supposed to accompany and knowing when you’re supposed to solo,” Mr. Millen said

Ian has also developed into a vocal leader in the jazz combo. “He adds ideas and input into everything, and he is really thoughtful in the way that he approaches his art and the way he approaches ensemble and music making with others,” Mr. Millen said. “He will be missed terribly.”

Ian plans to continue playing the piano throughout his college career and beyond. “I definitely want to continue getting better at it,” he said. “I truly enjoy it. It’s one of those things [that] is relaxing and brings people together.”