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Alumni Spotlight: Lilah Hernandez

Lilah Hernandez is a prime example of early creative paths leading to a creative future. A native of East Los Angeles, Lilah’s journey as an instrumentalist and a vocalist at LAMusArt started when she was just 10 years old. Her dad, who supported her interest in music, brought her to the organization to audition for the orchestra which was then directed under Dr. Gideon Rubin.

“I remember he just asked me what number Suzuki book I was on, and I told him, and he was like “Ok, I can work with that!” And from there, he just helped me absolutely flourish as a violinist.”

Lilah continued her commitment to music in the Tuition Free Music Ensembles as a member of the orchestra and later as a vocalist in the Jazz Band. Rubin would feature heavily in Lilah’s tenure as a student at LAMusArt. Not only was he her favorite teacher, but an inspirational musical director.

“Dr. Ruben was my favorite teacher there. He was a wonderful director. He really made me a better musician, a better instrumentalist. He made me more confident in my abilities. He was having me play some crazy stuff. Things that when I looked at it on paper, I was like ‘There’s no way I can even come close to playing this,’ and he’d always tell me ‘Yes you can. You can totally do it,’” she says.

Unsurprisingly, one of Lilah’s favorite memories of LAMusArt heavily features Dr. Rubin. When she was in middle school, she introduced Dr. Rubin to one of his icons, Richard Meyer, who happened to be a music director at her middle school.

“Seeing him totally gush over the fact that Richard Meyer came to one of our concerts was really cool for me because I was able to do that for him. It was nice for me because I really admire him as a director so to see him admire one of my other directors like that was just crazy to me.”

Since leaving LAMusArt, Lilah has continued her artistic studies at Cal State Fullerton. She’s currently working towards her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. In addition to her formal studies, she participates in an Opera program. Although Lilah knew she wanted to pursue music from a young age, she admits that musical training is not always easy.

“Music is not an easy thing to stick with. Oftentimes, it doesn’t come with a lot of pros. It comes with a lot of cons. And it’s hard to stay dedicated. So I can definitely think of quite a few people [at LAMusArt] that helped me stay dedicated.”

When asked what impact Lilah believes the arts can have on students, she said “I think it makes people more empathetic. Specifically through music, you can make people feel something that maybe they haven’t necessarily felt before. It can be a very humbling experience.”

And any advice for young artists?

“As an artist you’re gonna go through a lot of rough times, and you’re gonna hear a lot of nos. Especially a lot of nos from yourself, and there’s going to be a lot of self doubt, but you’ve got to push forward. That’s always been my philosophy. Just keep going. Keep trying.”

Check out some of Lilah’s performances with LAMusArt here.


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