What year are you at Columbia?
What are/will you be majoring in?
I'm majoring in Mathematics and concentrating in Jazz Studies.
How long have you been a participant of the MPP?
Since freshman year!
How have you benefited by MPP programs and performance opportunities?
Through the MPP I get to learn from outstanding faculty and guest artists, both in ensemble and classroom settings. By playing in small Jazz ensembles that meet throughout the year I have been able to grow as a performer, work on new compositions, and develop musical relationships with peers. I've also taken history, transcription and composition classes that expanded my knowledge of the music as a whole. The MPP has also been incredibly supportive of my efforts to establish and direct a new student-run big band by providing us with rehearsal space, faculty workshops, and performance opportunities.
Any tips on how a student might be able to fully take advantage of all the musical offerings at Columbia?
Start by taking ensembles and classes that interest you. Participating in the MPP does not have to be a huge time commitment, and you really do get out as much as you put in. It's also extremely important to ask questions and take initiative with whatever you want to do — if there's an ensemble or performance opportunity you're interested in that's not currently available, there are always the resources to put it together yourself!
How do you balance the busy academic schedule with practice time? any tips?
Honestly, it's difficult to practice very much with such a busy schedule. I practice when I have a little extra time and am not already burnt out, and usually prioritize any form of playing on the weekends, whether it's jamming with friends or transcribing in the practice room.
What was the most memorable musical experience in your life?
In high school my Jazz ensemble had the opportunity to perform at the Essentially Ellington Competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center, which opened my eyes to the Jazz community that existed outside of my area. Being able to perform for such a large audience and meet so many peers that were equally as enthusiastic about the music really inspired me to continue doing what I love regardless of where I ended up for college.
What does making music mean to you?
As a soft-spoken person, music acts as a way for me to get ideas across that might be difficult to communicate through words. It gives me a creative outlet and allows me to be confident in who I am. Through music I have met some of my closest friends, started and participated in some incredible projects, and taken on leadership roles that I never would have imagined doing otherwise.
Anything you would like to share with the readers? (favorite food, summer activities, favorite quote, etc)
I laugh at my own jokes harder than anyone else.