Let’s Groove! Lunch with a Side of Guitar


Isabella Lagarto, Design Editor

A familiar experience for many: sitting in class and waiting for the clock to strike a time ingrained in their heads — lunchtime: some peruse the halls, some socialize and catch up with friends, while others use the precious 40 minutes for studying or test cramming. However, for those select few, lunchtime provides a time for different passions.

During lunch, Miami Palmetto Senior High freshman Kymani “Kai” Lizot, sophomores Antonio Casco and Samuel Jaime and junior Lucas Benelli reside around the 5000 building or 3000 building, playing tunes on their guitar. What started as the pursuit of a hobby became an opportunity to create new friendships through a shared interest: a love for music. 

“Playing guitar in school impacts me in my social life, finding other people that are like me that share the same passion in music and art,” Casco said. 

Each student began bringing their guitar to school for different reasons: difficulty playing in front of a group, wishing to connect with others through music, or for inspiration from one another. The end resulted in the same for all –– the group of guitarists grew, allowing each person to bounce off ideas and experience new learning opportunities. 

Among this group of guitarists is Lizot, who befriended Casco after an encounter at the “Pawvilion.” 

“…At the [Pawvilion] at school, I was playing acoustic guitar with my other friend, Eddie, when Antonio [Casco] randomly pulled up and started playing mad good, and shocked us with his voice too. Sam [and] I met near the beginning of school near the [5000 building] but really became true friends when we all started to play guitar altogether,” Lizot said. 

What started as an interaction by chance blossomed into a connection founded by each other’s enthusiasm for music.

“The thing I like about music, well, music connects everyone. [Samuel, Kai and I] kind of like the same kind of music, and it’s become a moment where we learn off each other’s different songs and show each other what we’re learning, or something we wrote,” Casco said. 

Jaime became intrigued by the guitar and the culture behind it. Eager to learn the history of guitar and skate culture, Jaime quickly picked up the guitar and practiced consistently. At school, Jaime had seen Casco play his iconic acoustic guitar, and the two quickly bonded. 

“I started bringing my guitar to school because, well first, I saw my friend Antonio [Casco], he had brought his acoustic guitar a couple of times…I didn’t know if [administration] were gonna call me out for it and tell me to turn it off. So, I just did it, and instead of getting criticized for it, I got support for it. People were like ‘Yo, play this, play that,’ and some people actually wanted to see it. Some people were actually telling me, ‘How do you play,’ and they actually sat down next to me and I taught them how to play a simple song or two…this one kid…he actually bought a guitar the next week and he started learning because of that interaction that I had with him a couple of days ago,” Jaime said. 

Through these guitar lunch sessions, students helped each other improve their musical skills and created profound relationships. After countless conversations about guitar, music and motivators, Casco and Jaime took a significant initiative –– they created a band: “Desensitized.”

Jaime took inspiration from Deftones, Pierce the Veil, Human Tetris and Glare, while Casco was inspired by Green Day, Misfits, Sublime and Nirvana. Originally, Casco began his guitar journey after going to a Green Day concert –– an event that helped him recognize his undying passion for music, especially rock. With many model bands in mind, Casco and Jaime followed their incentive to create their own music, one of their favorite concepts that accompany the guitarist culture. 

“The best thing about playing guitar is when you can play the songs that you like. It’s like, ten times better than listening to the song itself. You’re actually the one making the sound of it, [making it] come out of your amp. I think it’s just super cool when I get to play with my songs,” Jaime said.

In the future, Jaime hopes that “Desensitized” may perform at Tea and Poets. 

Similarly, Benelli held determination to learn the ins and outs of the guitar, but he felt an instant spark once he heard the song “Neon” by John Mayer. 

“The first time I picked up the guitar was on August 28, 2022, which is a day I will never forget. This is the day I discovered an artist named John Mayer playing a song called ‘Neon.’ This song was incredibly impressive to me to the point [that] I spent all day researching it. I quickly found out that this song is considered to be one of the hardest riffs ever played, so I had only one thought: I need to learn it,” Benelli said. “This was the first song I started learning, which obviously isn’t ideal for the [average] beginner, but with enough commitment and dedication, I was able to fully master it and also incorporate my own little twists [into] it. This was a huge achievement for me since it provided the fundamentals needed for almost anything you can learn on guitar.”

Benelli was determined, but he recognized what he needed to help him stay consistent: a positive mindset. Through his mindset, Benelli told himself that he was good, but not the best. With this thought process, Benelli challenged himself to improve his guitar skills. 

Like other guitarists, Benelli enjoys creating his own melodies, yet he has an appreciation for the therapeutic feeling that playing guitar provides him.

“The thing I love most about music and guitar is the sense of euphoria you feel when you are able to produce a sound just by the touch of your finger. This feeling almost acts as a sedative for stress, sadness, anger or even as a stimulant for those happy times where the music just makes your day that much better,” Benelli said. 

Along with creating music, guitarists have a wide array of options: a fretboard. Guitarists can also create alternative sounds using pedals, capos and more. Such liberation with an instrument and the extensive bounds of creativity contributes to the relieving sensation that the guitar may provide. 

“What I like about playing guitar, [is that] it’s very [diverse], there’s a lot of things you can do with it, you can just play simple things, or you can play fast things, you can play normal melody stuff, it’s endless possibilities with the guitar,” Jaime said. “So, I think it’s pretty cool that there’s endless things that you can figure out. You just shift an octave, or a note, or a pitch even, and you create a new sound. It’s so many things you can discover.”

Becoming a guitarist has helped each of these individuals appreciate and express themselves through music. 

“Music is important, it’s more than just a good song or if it sounds good. It’s about, you know, connecting with what they’re saying and that impacted me into playing guitar and writing my own material about what’s going on in my life because we all feel the same way, and I find that we connect best in music,” Casco said. 

With the significance of music in mind, these guitarists advance in their musical experiences, all while helping others improve. 

Next time one goes to lunch, keep an ear out for melodies strummed by MPSH guitarists –– one might just come across Lizot, Casco, Jaime, Benelli and the growing community of passionate student guitarists.