Defining Music as a Universal Language: Interviewing the 2016 Tri-M Scholarship Winner

October 27, 2016 Tori Cook

Hi, Lydia! Thank you for taking the time to interview with us today. The Encore staff thought your essay on "defining music as a universal language" was incredibly profound and we are proud to present you with the award for the 2016 Tri-M/Encore Tours Scholarship. To get started, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What year are you in school, what instrument do you play and how long have you been playing?

I'm a senior and my primary instrument is Euphonium. I've played this instrument for around 7 years.

How long have you been a Tri-M member and do you hold any officer positions?

I pledged when I was a sophomore, so I've been a full member for two years now. I am currently my chapter's sergeant-at-arms. 

Thinking back, how did you decide you wanted to be a musician?

Well, if we're talking just joining band in general-- back in 5th grade, where I live, it was the cool thing to do! Over half the school was either in choir or band. All my friends were in it, so I tagged along. I'm glad I did! My initial childish reasons turned out to be beneficial in the end. 

Band is definitely the "cool" thing to do; there's no harm in a little peer pressure to join a music program. We're certainly glad you did! What are your future career goals? Does your future involve music? If so, in what way?

Yes! Music will definitely play a role in my future. I'm majoring in music education in college. This summer I'm planning on interning for a marching band summer camp in Florida and Illinois, as well as working as a staff member for at least one high school marching band in my area. Then I'll hopefully graduate from the university of my dreams before securing a job as either a high school band director or an elementary school general music teacher. 

That's amazing! We wish you the best of luck with that. Your essay talked a lot about the universal connectivity of music and how music exists within us. Do you think that learning the universal language of music should be a part of everyone’s education and why/why not?

Yes! This is definitely a point I can't seem to stress enough. Even if you attempt to go a whole day without hearing music, it'll still find a way to creep into your life. Music is on TV, it's online, you'll hear it as you walk down the street. Why not make a point to hear it in our schools? A lot of this argument I touch on in my Encore Tours/Tri-M essay. Music is an outlet. Like I wrote in my essay, most students learn their English alphabet through song. Music should be involved in everyone's school because it's a way to enrich education through culture, and even language, since it's universally used. Music is an important learning tool that we simply cannot overlook. 

Thank you, Lydia! We are excited to share your beautifully-written essay with our readers.

Read Lydia's essay on "Defining Music as a Universal Language."

About the Author

Tori Cook

Having grown up in a military family, Tori traveled the world at a young age and has visited over 25 countries to date. She is the former Director of Marketing and Business Development at Encore Tours and her passion for travel is matched only by her love of music. She holds bachelor degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Theory and currently performs with Chorus pro Musica in the Boston area. She also directs the Harborlight Show Chorus, a small barbershop chorus in the North Shore.

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