SHO Member Since: Fall 2016
Current job: Director of Operations – Al McCree Entertainment. Freelance graphic designer.
Degree/college attended: BS in Music Business, Master of Music in Performance. Lee University.
At what age did you start playing flute and when/why did you decide to pursue music as a career:
I started playing flute in 5th grade at age 10. It’s something that came naturally at first, and was more fun to practice (to me) than other instruments I had tried. I had amazing band teachers and musical mentors who poured into me at an early age. I attended a summer music camp for 9 years and there I was surrounded by musical heroes who taught me that practice and experience was just as important if not more than natural talent. I can honestly say that I am probably at my happiest when I’m playing in a room of talented and dedicated musicians. I loved and still love being one little puzzle piece among many that create the final beautiful sound. If you’re sitting in the audience and you get goosebumps from a symphony, it’s because everyone was making something beautiful, not just one person. I love that.
Who is your musical hero or inspiration: Definitely my family. My mother grew up in a musical family and she raised me in the same way. Our house was filled with music and instruments and I’m so glad that it was my “normal.” I also owe a lot to my first flute teacher/band instructor Paula Humphreys. She stayed after school and gave me extra instruction and pieces to work on when I ran out of things to play in the band book. She was always incredibly encouraging and I’ll always appreciate the time and thought she put into my life.
A funny musical experience: At my first solo and ensemble band competition, my stand partner forgot a page from one of our pieces and we didn’t realize it until we were playing, in the concert. We froke out for a second but I kept playing, and at that moment I realized that I had memorized the piece. My band director said I had really excellent eye contact, and I said explained later why that was and he couldn’t stop laughing. That experience always stuck in my mind and lead me to do research in grad school on muscle memory and how our brain processes short term and long term information during practice sessions. Memorization comes easier to some people, and I wanted to learn how to teach it to anyone.
What was your first orchestral experience: I played in my church orchestra in middle school, and I remember being terrified. This wasn’t music camp, it was a bunch of adults who knew their stuff and for some reason they were letting me play long with them. It taught me to have confidence to play in the “silence.” Church orchestrations can be kind of sparse, so sometimes there’s only one flute playing at a time and if you’re too scared to play… nothing gets heard. It taught me to play loud and strong even if it was a wrong note, being too scared to play feels worse than a mistake.
Favorite composer: I love a good moody composer, so I’m very fond of French and Russian/czech music. Guys like Dvorak, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich wrote music that seemed so full of angst. In some cases it felt like their way of protesting political or personal issues, pouring all of it into music. And then Debussy and Faure are wonderful, they’re like stepping into a dream.
What music do you listen to in your free time: I listen to a lot of everything. Anything I listen to ends up getting a little analyzed so I appreciate artists like Ben Folds or Jack White who seem to know how to make every instrument sound the best. I love a lot of Classic Rock, Alt 90’s and singer songwriter styles. You’ll find anything from Metallica to to Simon & Garfunkel on my playlists. I’m also weirdly fond of Skrillex. He makes sounds that are almost alien, it can be a little mesmerizing.
Other: I’m big nerd. I can waste a lot of time talking about Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or the timespace plot holes in the Terminator franchise. I loathe running, but I’m very into fitness and eating healthy. I’ve been told that I know more about planning a Disney vacation than the average adult should know. I love to read and I love to cook. When I’m stressed, I make an absurd amount of baked goods, mostly Cake Pops. That’s about it. Oh and coffee. I drink a lot of that.