Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Jazz pianist, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passion: jazz piano

“Music is a big part of my life. I played classical music for many years, but when I learned about jazz at a music camp I went to in the summer before 8th grade, it really excited me. The instructors there told us that if we loved music, we might consider pursuing it as a profession.
 
That planted a seed for me. I didn’t decide to be a professional back then in 8th grade, but eventually I did. I slowly began playing more jazz and learning more about music. I started to practice jazz more diligently in my sophomore year and developed an ambition to be a great musician. The end of that year, I auditioned for the American Music Program, directed by trumpeter Thara Memory. The first time I played for him, he took me outside and told me I didn’t know anything about jazz, and that I would have to catch up a lot to get into music school and get a scholarship. But he let me into the group. It’s a pre-professional program for high school students, and Mr. Memory starts from the assumption that we should be the best high school jazz band in the country. The group has won national competitions, including the Next Generation competition associated with the Monterey Jazz Festival, and Wynton Marsalis’s Essentially Ellington competition in New York.

I’m excited to be working on music and aiming for a career as a musician. My hope right now is to get into a good music school and get a scholarship. I want to develop my own musicianship, and I want to play with like-minded musicians who share my ambitions.”