Tell us about your time growing up, your family and high school, please: I grew up primarily in Fairfield IA, and also lived for a few years in New Mexico. I have a younger sister, and my parents are both public servants and active community members. All of them have incredible work ethics and at least some of that rubbed off on me.
What are you studying here at Kirkwood and why did you choose that path?: I am studying music theory, and have been involved in several ensembles here at the school, as well as taking a variety of general ed classes. I’m just about done with my AA degree. Music in school is a great way to make quality friends, it’s a networking opportunity. There are also music scholarships I have been fortunate enough to benefit from.
What instrument do you play and why?: Primarily guitar and trumpet. I was placed on trumpet in 5th grade, but then later on in high school I switched to playing guitar. Now I am playing some trumpet again. It’s nice to be able to play at least a little on a variety of instruments, so that you can get a grasp on what they’re capable of, and understand what, for example, the drummer is dealing with in a group playing situation. I love the ability the guitar has to produce a wide variety of textures, which can be enhanced by electronics. It is a good thing for any horn player to play a chordal instrument such as guitar or piano, because it teaches you about harmony. At the same time, playing a horn forces you to breath in your phrases, since you have to support the sound with air, and teaches you about melody.
What is it about music that makes you so passionate about it?: The rush that happens when good musical communication between members of a group occurs, and it all comes together sounding like more than the sum of its parts. This is the motivation to practice diligently alone in the practice room, so that when you are in a group situation, you can speak eloquently in the dialect of your musical cohorts. Also, music is such a multidimensional puzzle and trying to piece it together is a lifelong process. To me it feels like I’m just a beginner every day, and that is the paradoxically frustrating and motivating aspect of it.
What are your musical influences?: Who are your heroes?: Way too many to name. As far as guitar players John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Lenny Breau, Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins. I started listening a lot to Miles Davis around age 18, and that made me want to start playing trumpet again. I like Thelonious Monk and Debussy a lot too. Most of the musical groups I have played in before coming to Kirkwood were folk and Americana type music, I played dobro (lap steel guitar) in a bluegrass band for a while.
Who are your heroes?: My heroes are people to have the guts to really stick with something they are trying to do, anyone from Gandhi to Sylvester Stallone.
Where do you see ourself in five years? What’s your dream situation?: Hopefully finishing up a postgraduate degree. I would like to be creating music with people I like. Hopefully teaching music in some capacity, and playing gigs regularly.