Area of Study: Music Education
Current City: Duluth, MN
Graduation Date: 2003
Current Occupation: Professor of Music, University of Minnesota Duluth; Composer, Quey Percussion Duo (member); Solo Artist
Why did you choose WCU and/or the School of Music?
I first attended WCU as a high school participant at a summer marching band festival. While this introduced me to the university, I fell in love with the location and beautiful campus. The university has a great reputation and after meeting Dr. Chris Hanning (my future percussion teacher) the decision was easy!
How has the quality of education you received from WCU and/or School of Music prepared
you for life after graduation?
My foundational skills in the areas of music theory, history, aural skills, piano ,voice, and music education were all developed at WCU as I had very little previous knowledge in these areas in high school. More importantly, my experience in the percussion program was absolutely fantastic. Dr. Chris Hanning was (and continues to be) a wonderful teacher and mentor to me. Dr. Hanning is an absolute gem of a person and I cannot even imagine where I would be without my time with him at WCU. My experience with him took me from a very raw high school musician to a true artist who was able to enter graduate programs and subsequently the professional world. Dr. Hanning is too humble to ever agree, but he is largely the reason I do what I do, and how I do it.
What is a typical day like for you?
The typical day is fairly atypical, and that's what I love about this career. I enjoy that every day offers new and exciting opportunities to teach, perform, and create music. Even though each day is similar (practice, teach, perform, compose), it is always with a varying intent (ie. different students, different repertoire, different upcoming performances/tours, etc) and often in different places in the country and throughout the world.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter your field?
I advise students that are serious about creating a career in music to dive deep and work hard - show a serious level of commitment to the art. Don't react to the noise of those that say "it's too difficult to be successful in the music field." If you are truly great (and passionate) at your craft you will find a way to carve out a career for yourself.
What advice would you give to our graduating seniors?
Stay in close contact with your friends and classmates. Often times, these are the people that may provide you with career opportunities.
What makes the WCU School of Music standout to you?
The location and diversity of offerings at WCU are wonderful, but it's really the faculty and students that make the program shine. While it has been some times since I was a student, I hear often of the wonderful things coming from WCU alumni and faculty. ...and wow, how about that music building?! I'm so disappointed I missed that!
What is your favorite memory of being a student at WCU and/or School of Music?
Recording a Christmas CD with Mike, Aubree, and Phil (the "For Four" Quartet). I still listen to that every year!
What's the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn't learn from your resume
I am a strategy board game fanatic, owning nearly 200 and playing with various groups as regularly as possible.