Employer: New York University, Bridge Arts Ensemble, Norwegian Cruise Lines, New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Centralia Improvisation, and many others!
Finding Mount Union
Mount Union welcomed me with open arms when I desperately needed to feel welcome. When I finished high school, I needed a place to improve my musicianship, but I also needed a place where I could grow and mature as a person. UMU was that place for me.
Music Program Development
The curriculum allows room for someone like me, who doesn't quite fit in a single academic discipline, to study and develop a diverse set of skills. I was able to study classical music, jazz, rock, theatre, and conducting-- but I also studied public speaking, pedagogy, leadership skills, and calculus(!). Most importantly, though, the faculty encouraged me to work professionally as a music director and musician in Cleveland and Akron while I was a student. I was able to make connections with dozens of professional musicians and artists that are still in my life and sending me work to this day. Of course these experiences make me more marketable; they also make me a happier, fuller person than if I had chosen another school.
I was extraordinarily lucky to work with diligent and caring professors, including Dr. Maira Liliestedt, Kevin P. Kern, Amanda Abbott, Dr. Grant Cook, and many of the other performing arts faculty members. They are, of course, excellent practitioners in their fields of study — but they are also great teachers, which is without a doubt the most important quality in a professor and mentor. When the music faculty truly works together towards a goal, they can accomplish amazing things for their students.
Life After Mount
My education and experiences at Mount Union prepared me to work as a music director and pianist at NYU in particular. I am expected to play and teach in a wide variety of styles with very little prep, but I'm also expected to be knowledgeable about history, science, current events, and socio-political intersectionality. That's the liberal arts! Mount Union made me more than just a piano-playing automaton, and that depth has helped me to navigate difficult situations throughout my career. I'm so thankful that I chose to study at UMU rather than a large conservatory; it was the right choice for my mind and my soul at 18 years old.