The Summerglen Files

Music, Creativity, and Everyday Life at Summerglen Music in Raleigh, NC

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Music School, Seven Years Later

October 17th, 2009 · No Comments

Last night, Andrew and I took a random trip out to Greenville to visit my alma mater, the East Carolina University School of Music. The school has begun hosting an alumni recital each year, and we took advantage of our free Friday night and came to check it out.

The alumni performances were excellent–we heard a couple of really powerful singers, some neat piano four hands stuff, and a soprano saxophonist who knew how to bring out the delicate side of a difficult horn. But even more than hearing the performances, I enjoyed being back home at my favorite music school. Even though I’ve studied at other places since then, there’s nothing that compares to my years at ECU. After all, that’s where I built the foundation for the wonderful career I enjoy today.

There was a level of openness and encouragement at ECU that I haven’t found anywhere else…and I try to bring this atmosphere into my own teaching today. As a freshman, I sounded bad. I sat dead-last in every ensemble, and had some major physical hurdles to conquer before I could even think about musical artistry. Anywhere else, I would’ve been passed off to some grad student and drilled on technique until I was bored into another major. But at ECU, I got to work with the trombone professor, George Broussard, from day one. And he found ways to draw out my musicality and style, even before I had solid technique. He and the other professors guided me toward finding the joy in hard work, the beauty in etudes, and my unique place in the world of music.

Walking down the halls with the pea-green tile floors and half-burning fluorescent lights last night, I felt such gratitude for everything my teachers so freely gave to me years ago. I was so appreciative of every moment spent in those tiny practice rooms, going over this or that passage again, again, again. So happy to have experienced all those on-stage memory lapses and rotten judges’ sheets and eternities lost in chord changes. Because it. all. paid. off.

Tags: a day in the life

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