From: Dexter, MI
School: University of Southern California, MM Clarinet Performance
Beverage Drinking: Medium Roast with low acidity with cream and a hint of sugar
"I think that my teacher (Yehuda Gilad) has really been a great source of inspiration for me. Before I came to USC I was pretty serious about the clarinet, but after getting into the studio here I took it way more seriously. But, one thing that he has definitely been inspiring with is that he's helped me change my perspective on what makes 'sound' good. He basically said, 'screw making a good sound. Having a rounded sound, or having a good tone is not what a good sound makes. If you are able to have a working relationship with your instrument, like working with it instead of working against it to make it sound a certain way, then this is what truly makes a good sound.' I definitely had never thought about it like that before, because the way the clarinet sounds was what made me ultimately choose it-I thought it sounded really cool. But, I think having my concept of what a good sound is, and having it been changed is what I think has been most inspirational, especially in the last year."
Advice to other musicians: "If you're having trouble continuing to be passionate about music, just play something you love. For me, everything Bach is what I love to play (specifically the Bach Cello Suites and the Violin Partita). I honestly think Bach's music is perfect music. And it doesn't have to be for a long time-just take a few minutes out of every practice session and just play what you love."
Charity/Cause to raise awareness: Poverty levels in the United States
Do you think inspiration is important?: "Absolutely. Without a doubt. It does not make sense to me why someone would continue pursuing music as a career if they were not passionate about it in any way. Like Yehuda says, if you can't draw inspiration or music from within yourself to extend through your instrument, then there is no point. At that instance, you should do something else."