Give a little general information about yourself: How did you become interested in music?
I am a non-traditional, first-generation college student. I spent several years working, traveling, and experiencing life in the Midwest, West, and deeper South before making North Carolina my home. Shortly thereafter, I auditioned for the music program at UNC Charlotte and was accepted. I have been naturally drawn to music, music writing, and singing since I was a young child. I recall writing my own songs as young as 10 years old. I also started playing the violin around this age. I desired to use my musical gifts and continued to build upon them over the years.
What kind of career do you hope to have?
I hope to have a career that allows me the creative freedom to write, arrange, produce, and perform music. I would also like to teach children and young adults musical concepts, in addition to other concepts, such as healthy eating, living, and relating to others.
What is your favorite thing about the Department of Music?
My favorite thing about the Department of Music at UNC Charlotte is the helpful and encouraging attitudes of the professors. The Music Department is a growing one here on campus, but in many cases, the professors have made it clear that they personally care about me and my future in music beyond their classroom.
Do you participate in any community activities or work in the Charlotte arts community?
I have an internship with the Charlotte Symphony as a teaching assistant with Project Harmony.
What is Project Harmony?
Project Harmony is a free after-school music and leadership program for children in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. The program has been catered toward offering students the option to learn to play a musical instrument, as well as how to navigate respectfully and honorably in a community of other children doing the same.
How is Project Harmony benefiting the cultural community?
Due to the racial and socioeconomic disparities that exist in Charlotte, many children do not have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument or work together in a musical ensemble. Musical instruments are expensive, and many families need to use their resources for general education expenses, food, and other daily and weekly costs instead. Project Harmony bridges the financial gap between students who desire to learn to flourish in a community/musical setting and those who can afford to do so. Fortunately, there is no cost to parents/students to enjoy the program. This allows the benefits of learning music to extend to more groups within our community, who deserve the chance to have such a life-changing experience.
What do you want people to know about Project Harmony?
I want people to know that Project Harmony is a program that is all about the growth of the students in more ways than just musically. Students come to us after school, and many times, they may feel troubled about school or personal, family situations. The teachers, coordinators, volunteers, and interns/coaches (like myself) make ourselves available to be a safe haven for the children. We teach music, but we also teach respect, listening skills, personal responsibility, and support.
What’s it like working with the children during your internship?
Working with the children here is challenging and rewarding at the same time. The children come in very high energy on some days. I try to take that energy and redirect it toward learning, excitement about musical concepts, and eagerness to try new things. When I witness a student grasping concepts as well as feeling excited about learning their instrument, I'm reminded of how powerful my role is in that moment. It feels great to see a student make progress musically, as well as personally.
When you are not in class, studying, or working, what do you like to do for fun?
When I'm not in class, studying or working, I enjoy spending time with my family... eating good meals, getting outside in the sun, and laughing together. I also really enjoy making music, learning more about psychology, nutrition, and wellness. Lastly, sleeping in and taking my time to get up is a nice highlight to some of my weekends ;-)