"Your flaws make you as unique as your talents."
I will always be amazed by the amount of amazing talents that I have come across in this school. I have seen them come in all shapes and forms. I know people with a staggering innate musicality, flawless perfect pitch, improvisation skills that I could kill for and, most of all, a commitment to high-level discipline and work that has been acquired through years of training of the highest caliber. Needless to say, I have none of these qualities, but instead of feeling sorry for myself, I have learned that one of my greatest strengths has been to find reasons to say this with a slight pinch of pride. My biggest challenge as a musician has been the fact that many things in music simply come slower to me and I really have to practice things before I get them right. I am well-known for being terrible at doing things the first time.
I have said before that I was brought into music especially late since my parents were not musicians, which is a disadvantage if you want to pursue music as a career, but a trick I have learned is to look at disadvantages not as a hindrances but as challenges. So yes, my parents were not musicians, but they are highly intelligent people with an honest appreciation of music, and as a composer I came to realize at one point that they were in fact the perfect audience to show my music to.
Once I knew that I wanted to make music that was highly influenced by popular music, I knew that it had to be music that could be appreciated by musicians and music lovers, so my family became a solid first audience. This also helped me develop my skills in explaining my artistic vision—I had to sell myself as an artist to convince my parents to support me in this quest. These years of training in perfecting my artistic pitch would come in handy later during my Juilliard audition interviews, and I have my strange musical beginnings to thank for that.
Another artistic challenge that I have found during my career as a composer is my lack of ability to concentrate easily. Like many of my millennial peers, I have a remarkably short attention span, and since I don't have the years of training in concentrating on the nuances of concert music that I’ve seen in other musicians that I’ve come across, I simply don’t have a very fine ear for things like interpretation and appreciating music that I'm not familiar with. However, my tendency to become obsessed with many things at different periods during childhood (among them fish, dinosaurs, Spiderman, The Godfather, the Beatles, and more) helped me become very conscious of what my tastes were and things that kept my interest. As my obsession with music grew and I became more knowledgeable about the repertoire, I began to identify the little details in each piece that really spoke to me and put them together to craft my own music. Since I know how easily an average Joe like myself can get distracted, I have been very careful to write music that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats
Since I know how easily an average Joe like myself can get distracted, I have been very careful to write music that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats as much as possible and make my art a sort of spectacle. I make music that I know I could find shocking on the first hearing knowing at all times that if the music is to keep the attention of someone like me, it will certainly have a big chance at remaining interesting to other people. I have also learned that a strong visual component to accompany music is always an easy way for me to get invested, so that is an aspect that I plan on incorporating to my art soon.