There’s music beyond Westminster?! Who would have thought! As students we get so lost in our own studies and daily choir rehearsals that we sometimes forget that there are communities and environments of music that stretch far beyond Princeton. Are the skills we are training going to help us in the future? Maybe not. Students often focus on one aspect of music, and that may work in school, but in the ‘real world’ that is far from the truth. You must have many skills in order to succeed. A perfect example of this is Mark Laseter, a recent graduate of Westminster Choir College, whom I had the privilege of interviewing. He graduated with a degree in Voice Performance but is now working as the accompanist for the American Boychoir. He is not singing. He is playing the piano. A skill he learned on his own throughout his studies and during his musically upbringing as a child.
Many musicians begin studying as a child and continued through collegiate study, often with roots in the church music world. This is how Mark began honing his craft, through work in the church setting, along with community children’s choirs. It is within the church that musicians must use many skills, from conducting and accompanying to singing. To become a great musician, you must have the will to do and learn what is necessary to get the job done. Many skills are not going to be taught in school, they are going to be learned on the fly. This is a crucial part of being a sought after and job-holding musician. It is a wide musical background that will make you valuable. Through my interview with Mark, I was able to gain a better understand of how the musical world outside of Westminster works and the skills and attitude needed to succeed.