Blog 5#: My Skills

As a violinist, my specific skills are being able to play and teach the violin. I have experience as a chamber musician and orchestra member, and I can sing. My skills, though unique, can always be improved. A musician should always be thinking of ways to improve his technique and his musicianship. That lifelong goal is what keeps me going and gives me the incentive necessary for developing my skills. I hope to become a better and more confident performer over the next few years as opportunities come up, and involve myself more with the musical community here at SMU.

Elevator Pitch

Hi, my name is Payton Andrews. I am a violinist with experience as a chamber musician and orchestra member, but I am very interested in expanding my musical interests and performing in a wide variety of venues. I hope to serve and develop the musical community and offer something for everyone interested in live music. If you ever know anyone in need of a violin teacher or performer, I would love to help. Here is my card, and I hope to see you around!

Blog 4: Motivation

Though I am motivated by my desire to maintain good grades and be a successful college student, my love of life and of music are what keep me going. If I failed to see a greater purpose for my education, it would mean nothing to me. Knowing how my studies will change my work habits and prepare me for a passionate career in music has motivated me to achieve things I never thought were possible. Simply, music brings me joy. Finding that joy is my biggest motivation. Whether rehearsing in the concert hall, practicing my scales for group piano, or notating intervals in theory class, my development as a musician is always my foremost concern. Though I haven’t always been able to see clearly, my development of those self-imposed goals has helped me through many tedious assignments and given me a greater sense of purpose. -Payton

Blog 3#: My Values

I could list all of the virtues that make good artists good people as well, but the truth is, there are far too many to address in a single blog. There are many things that go into making a good artist a good person. On the whole, I think that the best artists are those that are passionate about what they do, dedicated to perfecting it, patient with themselves, and open-minded. They treat their colleagues and crafts with love and are good at working together. They are not only open to criticism, but they actively seek it. They perpetually evaluate themselves and their progress toward certain goals, and are willing to try new things. These are all values that I strive to maintain as I progress as a musician and as a human being, and they will help prepare me for a successful career in music. -Payton

Blog 2: My Work Habits

My way of working or accomplishing tasks, whether the task is musical, academic, physical, or practical, is predictable and disorganized. My work habits are predictable because I usually recognize the course of action that is most advantageous or most likely to fully utilize my abilities. They are disorganized in that they are subject to whatever whims my needs dictate (or my tasks necessitate). Often, the ways I prepare myself as a musician are to rest, repeatedly listen to a given piece of music (perhaps following the score), play the music in my head (while imagining how it might be executed or interpreted), and practice my part. Apart from those key elements of preparation, the rest of my time is stolen by other demands. Yes, I listed my musical tendencies first because, as a music major, they are most important to me -now back to those other demands. If I have clearly not slept enough and am unable to concentrate on a musical passage, math problem, or essay, etc., I will lay my head down for a nap and resume my work when mentally prepared. If my workout routine and practice schedule are causing my forearm to hurt or putting me at risk of injury, I will take a yoga break. I will stretch, indulge in some cookies, meditate, or do anything that seems to help me recover. As artists (much like athletes), we must know when to flex our artistic muscles and when to let them rest -when to play and when to think. Sometimes even the thinking should stop. We are not machines and cannot be expected to work hard without playing (or resting) hard as well. As for my disorganized work habits, they could certainly benefit from some reform. Particularly organized people like to create detailed work schedules. I would like to organize myself so that I can be more aware of both short term needs AND long term goals. Though it is easy to neglect one or both of these (goals/needs), it is very dangerous. I look forward to working with all of my fellow musicians and seeing how our work habits develop over the next few years at Meadows!

My History

My musical journey started when I was 6 years old. As a young boy in East Texas surrounded by the instant thrills of baseball games, fishing with the boys in town, and my new Nintendo 64, the role that the violin would begin to play in my life never crossed my mind. Years passed as poor practicing and dispassionate screeching persisted. I neither understood the joy of real accomplishment nor cared about honing my craft. My mother sat at the piano bench, desperately trying to accompany my half-hearted Suzuki pieces as I glared outside at the neighbors, whose reindeer games never ceased to steal my attention and make me feel as though I was the one missing out. Soon, I began to realize that I not only enjoyed playing my fiddle, but possessed a deeply rooted passion for music. Every morning, my Mozart symphonies would wake my brother and sister long before they desired to be woken. Some evenings I would hear my mom’s knocking on the wall, meaning that my new favorite piece was keeping her up. As a preteen, I began looking for ways to surround myself with great music. I applied to Kinhaven the summer before my freshman year of high school (2008), and was surprised to be admitted so effortlessly. Little did I know that the musicians I was about to spend my summer with would push me to new limits. When I arrived, I quickly distinguished myself as the violionist who didn’t belong, and the one that didn’t know what it meant to practice.  After attempting to sight read as excerpt from a Beethoven symphony, I made a fool of myself trying to perform a piece that I had started just weeks before. That summer, I was stretched and brought to a much deeper understanding of the value and merit of true artistry. I played De Falla, Shostakovich, Elgar,  and Beethoven all for the first time in my entire life. I was not excited -I was obsessed. Drowning in a pool of musical opportunities and talented colleagues, I had now begun my love affair with music. Music had taken an unique presence in my heart. I spent the following summers throughout high school attending Meadowmount and Brevard Music Center, and the schoolyears studying with a wonderful teacher to whom I owe most of my musical progress and development, Dr. Jennifer Dalmas. I participated in All-region and All-State orchestras in Texas throughout high school, and took my passion for music even further my senior year, when I flew up to attend Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City, Michigan. I had the immense joy of playing  under the batons of maestros Keith Lockhart, Larry Livingston, Ken Lam, Gene Moon, and Duilio Dobrin. As i grew as a musician, I learned this irrefutable fact: music changes lives. When someone hears a great piece of music, he learns something about the composer, the performer, himself, and the human experience as a whole. This is because each piece of music tells a unique story about something very real and very human. In the works of composers like Mahler, Shostakovich, Mozart, and many more, each’s passions and struggles are evident. My goal is to someday provide that understanding -that love of music and it’s complexities -to those who have not or cannot experience it. This is my unmistakable calling and my highest aspiration. My insatiable need to share my passion for music with my community and with the world informs every decision I make. I am willing to do whatever it takes to reach toward this goal, and I very much look forward to all of the artistic encounters in my future, whether as a Meadows student, professional orchestra member, performer, or simply a passionate patron of the arts.

First post!

Hi! My name is Payton Andrews. I am an incoming freshman at SMU and a violin performance major. I started playing both the violin and piano at age 6, and as a young teenager, my love for the violin and for orchestra became evident. I spent my summers at The Meadowmount School, Brevard Music Center, and Kinhaven, and my senior year at Interlochen Arts Academy. I have had the joy of participating in All-Region orchestras, the SFA Orchestra in the Pines, and as concertmaster, the 2012 Texas All-State Philharmonic Orchestra. Though I have much to learn, I am excited about Meadows and about the opportunities that await. Can’t wait to meet you all and share your unique and precious love of music. If you are a Meadows student and are interested in playing some chamber music for fun (string quartets, piano trios, etc.), talk to me about it!