Tommy Militello

From: Thousand Oaks, CA

Age: 20

Instrument: French Horn

School: University of Southern California, BM Horn Performance

Beverage Drinking: Dark Chocolate Ice Blended Coffee

"Sometimes when I’m practicing or having a really rough day I think to myself, ‘I shouldn’t do this. There’s no way I can make a living sounding like this.' Whenever I feel like that though, I remember how far I have come in the last year and a half and how many people have actually enjoyed what I have to offer. I actually used to volunteer at a senior citizen residency, and I would play for them every week. There was this man who was always sleeping, could not talk, could not do anything. But one day I played a song that he recognized and he woke up. And everyone in the house was amazed. He actually started to sing the words of the song I was playing. The staff told me later, they said, “we hope you know he has not talked or opened his eyes in a long time, and you just made him wake up.” It was amazing. He died shortly after, which was really sad, but I feel like I gave him one last moment of happiness just because I was playing my instrument. I definitely hold on to that feeling whenever I’m having a bad day. That at one point in time I had an influence on someone’s life. That and the feeling that there’s something about music that, when it’s well executed, it gives you this feeling inside, almost like when you’re a little kid riding a roller coaster and you’re about to go down and your heart comes up into your throat and you go, ‘ahhhh!!’ That’s how I feel about it."

Advice to other musicians: "If it was easy, it would not be worth it. Stay passionate, stick with it, and it’ll be worthwhile for sure."

Inspirational Quote: “The difference between Champ and Chump is ‘u’.”- Dr. Lou Holtz

Do you think Inspiration is important?: "Definitely. If you don’t have any inspiration, then what are you really doing? I’m inspired to move people with music, and I want to be the best I can possibly be to have an impact on people. If I have no inspiration to be a great musician, then what am I really doing? Just remember why. That’s all."