My Music Life History
From a young age, it was apparent music was influential for me. In fact, one of my first birthday presents I ever received included a toy snare drum and toy piano. When I turned five, my mother put me in piano lessons, but unfortunately a child’s interest only lasts so long. The only piano we could afford at the time was a plastic Casio keyboard (without weighted keys) with less than 61 keys. After exploring the sound bank and demo songs, it was easy to get bored with the instrument. Regrettably, after about 3 years of piano, I stopped taking lessons because I didn’t want to practice. However, my parents still saw my talent and love for music, and convinced me to join band in middle school, which is where I picked up the trumpet. The school I attended in sixth grade was very small, so the entire band program consisted of approximately twenty or thirty kids, and the director was fairly young and inexperienced. When I moved schools in seventh grade, however, the band was just over 90 kids in my grade alone. I remember the director mentioning to my parents that I was almost two years behind many of the other students in my grade. I felt that many of my peers looked down on me for not being a better trumpeter, so I made it my goal to, at the very least, catch up. By the end of seventh grade, I went from last chair to second chair, and by eighth grade I was section leader. Looking back on that experience, I’ve realized that I have an extremely competitive nature. I’ve also become a strong advocate for equal opportunities, and that instead of focusing on a person’s weaknesses, it’s more important to recognize their strengths to help redirect their efforts and motivate them to improve in other areas.
High school marching band was another influential experience for me. My band director was a strong believer in following through with a commitment, no matter what it takes. I had sprung my ankle in my junior year during semi-final’s competition week, but I put on a brace and pushed through rehearsals and the competition and was proud of myself. Our band advanced to state finals, but my ankle was still feeling pretty sore. I did not want to sit on the sidelines while everyone else was working hard; so once again, I suffered through the week and performed at the competition to the best of my ability. Although I would not want to repeat that experience again, my band placed fourth out of ten bands, which I was very proud of. I was proud of myself for following through with my commitment, despite the tremendous amount of effort it took for me to muddle through rehearsals. Experiences like this one have shown me that commitment and hard work always pay off.
Ball State University has also made a deep impact in my career and life choices. When I first came to BSU, I was unsure about whether or not I wanted to be a teacher. I had auditioned as a Music Education student, but I switched to a double major in Music Media Production and Music Composition just weeks before my first semester began. I eventually came to the realization that teaching was my true calling and returned to the major after my freshman year. Despite being a music education student, I found success in many of the school's top performing ensembles. Many of these ensembles opened doors for me to explore many other teaching and performing opportunities, such as leading a trumpet studio in Green Bay, Wisconsin, performing "Taps" at Veteran's Day Ceremonies, teaching at various summer camps for everything from jazz improvisation to marching band, performing nationally with the BSU Trumpet Fanfare Ensemble, and more. I have also had the privilege to meet some of the most influential brass pedagogues, performers, and entrepreneurs - such as Michael Sachs, the Canadian Brass, and Dan Gosling - as well as ground-breaking and forward-thinking educators. My student teaching experience ensured my love for teaching and music making, and provided me with the skills needed to become a professional educator. Not only did it allow me to gain teaching experience, but it taught me how to interact with parents, advocate my program to administrators and the community, collaborate with teachers outside of my discipline, fundraise for a program, and much more.
The connections I have made and experience I have gained through performing, teaching, and attending conventions and clinics have inspired me to continue developing my craft. Furthering myself as a professional musician and teacher not only serves me personally, but it also ensures that my students get the best possible education from me. Though most of my training at BSU has been geared towards teaching instrumental and general music in a public school setting, I hope to continue performing professionally, writing music, and working in the music industry in some form or another.