Putaski finds joy in creative outlets


Submitted by Ellie Putaski

MEANINGFUL MUSIC. Ninth-grader Ellie Putaski has found comfort in music since she first learned to play at six years old. “I’d say music is probably the main way I express myself,” she said.

Upper School students may remember ninth-grader Ellie Putaski’s performance in the Upper School Council’s House Cup Talent Show before Spring Break, in which she combined two of her many musical passions: singing and playing the ukulele.

Despite some nerves about the performance, Putaski shined in the Huss Auditorium. After earning high marks from each of the judges, she won the competition and earned House Cup points for the class of 2025, putting her grade at 500 to finish the year.

While the performance may have been her musical debut to many members of the community, Putaski is no stranger to the stage. “I really got into music-writing and playing other instruments in fifth grade, maybe when I was 10, because I remember I played a song I wrote in an assembly in fifth grade,” she said.

Putaksi mainly plays the piano, ukulele and violin, which she began learning from a young age. “I’ve been playing violin for eight years,” she said. “I started right after I turned six.”

She was taught how to play using the Suzuki method, in which there is no reading music, only listening to it to learn each song. Additionally, Putaski dabbles in a variety of other unique instruments, including the dulcimer and gourd flute.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Putaski had to stop participating in her orchestra at Minnesota Youth Symphonies, which was a difficult transition. “I was concertmaster right before COVID,” she said. The concertmaster holds the honor of being the leading first violin player in the orchestra.
Still, music continued to be extremely significant in Putaski’s life, and helped her through the challenges of the past few years. “I’d say music is probably the main way I express myself,” she said. This year, she plans to audition for the orchestra again to bring that extracurricular and creative outlet back into her life.

Music is probably the main way I express myself.

— Ellie Putaski

Being surrounded by a family of creatives, the arts and other forms of expression have always inspired and motivated Putaski. Alongside her older brother, she is trying something other than music and writing a fantasy story. The two were originally writing separate stories, but then realized how similar they were and decided to merge their magical worlds together. The project is still in the works, but Putaski enjoys collaborating with her brother and writing for fun. And, of course, it all ties back to music: “[writing] is a big part of songwriting, to write lyrics,” she said.

From playing instruments, to singing, to writing stories, Putaski clearly has a knack for creating beautiful things and has found what makes her heart sing. Check out a picture from her talent show performance here.