AnneMarie Cherry

From: Austin, TX

Age: 29

Instrument: French Horn

School: University of Southern California, DMA Horn Performance

Beverage Drinking: Large iced coffee with a 'splash' of milk, accompanied by traditional Madeline cookies...mmmm.

“Mostly I think it was because I did not have the slow build up of the typical six years of undergrad/masters--being that I did not declare my performance major until mid-way through my junior year--to know where I should be at the end of my masters degree. I think that is why I felt so confused after I graduated. I just put too much pressure on myself to win a job too quickly, which resulted in me working as an Academic Advisor for two years at the University of Texas, Austin. I ran a program for freshman music majors that taught them how to get the most out of music school, and of course I had my small, regional orchestra job as Principal Horn. But those two years of working as an Academic Advisor is where I really found my inspiration. I had 385 undergrads coming to me all the time asking me questions, actually a lot of the same questions I was asking myself, like, ‘why should I be a music major’, ‘what is there for me at the end of this’. I got to help them discover their own path and their own reality, and I had to answer their questions honestly, and not fluff anything over. I think in doing that, the combination of being a part of that conversation and having that privilege to be a part of so many personal discoveries, as well as spending eight hours behind a desk everyday, I remember thinking more and more about how I wished I was making music instead. It really helped turn the tide for me in realizing I was not meant to continue being behind a desk, and that I needed to go back to school and get my doctorate. And once I really found that inspiration, because I was an adult who had had a real job and lived in the real world, it was much easier for me to go back to school. It was a great self actualization because I really knew what I wanted. I knew what the other side of life was like, and I decided I did not want it.”

Advice to other musicians: "A lot of the times, the answers we seek for motivation, we already know-we've just forgotten them because we listen to things outside of ourselves. Much like when I was advising, students would come in and say, 'I do not know why I'm doing this anymore' and I would always try and ask them what it was that they wished they could be doing with music. But I do not know...I think when people struggle to find motivation, what they are saying is that they are overwhelmed by all these external stimuli. I think the answer is to turn off the voices that don't matter, which can be friends, parents, teachers, and even yourself. You just need to focus on the things that make you calm."

Inspirational Quote: "We're all pretty bizarre, but some of us are just better at it. That's all."-Jenny Lawson, writer for the Bloggess

Do you think Inspiration is important?: "I think inspiration is really essential in those bursts of growth we experience. But I think it cannot be entirely extrinsic. You cannot always wait for the conductor to inspire you, or a colleague to inspire you. You will have those moments, and they will be beautiful, but there have to be points of intrinsic moments of joy and inspiration that you find in your own process that keep you going. Because those moments are beautiful too."