Through The Lens is our weekly series where we highlight current students and faculty, capture them on campus and ask them about their inspirations, advice and beyond.

Which tapes and records influenced you the most in your life?

The most influential records in my life would be Second Helping from Lynyrd Skynyrd, which first instilled in me a limitless passion to pick up the guitar every day, and The Extremist by Joe Satriani. Hearing Satriani’s track “Summer Song” for the first time, was the defining moment which perpetuated me on my quest for professionalism in music; specifically on guitar.

Which artist, band or composer would you most want to meet and collaborate with? Why?
I would aspire to work with artist Brad Paisley, or at the least be like him. His singing, songwriting, and guitar playing mastery has always inspired me, and really pushed the boundary of what I originally perceived great musicianship to be. That’s why as a musician, I really look up to him, and not just as a guitar player.
If there is one piece of advice that you could give to other [area of study] students, what would it be?
My criticism to younger musicians and students is that too many never push themselves outside of what is comfortable to them. That’s why my best advice is to work on the skills OTHERS will appreciate in you, in addition to what you want to work on as player. I was fortunate to have been surrounded by great people who always pushed me as a young player so I could be as marketable to the world as possible. In the words of my first serious instructor, it is to be “the complete package”. That’s what I strive for, and what I believe to be a crucial first step for any dedicated musician. There really isn’t any other way to go about it.
What the most important lesson you’ve learned at MI so far? What has surprised you the most about MI?

Everything in moderation! Music is like a well balanced diet, and you get out what you put in. That being said, what has surprised/impressed me most about MI is the instructors’ dedication and expertise. Their ability is on an entirely different level, and really exhibits professionalism in what they are doing. One thing is certain, the instructors are definitely getting out what they have put in; which is a lot!

Where do you find the inspiration to pick up your instrument /practice everyday?

 The more you learn about music, the more you discover how much you really don’t know. It’s the dedication to repeatedly pick yourself back up after you fail, again and again. It’s wanting to get better for yourself. That’s truly where the motivation comes from. If you’re doing music for any other reason then forget it. The best musicians look at music in this way, because that’s what music is about. You and your journey. Everything else is a distraction.