What do you dream of doing when you grow up?
I’m only 12, but I dream of making music through the clarinet and through composing. I also dream of sharing that music with others. I want to follow my passions and convictions.
What do you love about music?
I love how music can describe feelings, colors, pictures, and textures. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
What drew you to the clarinet?
Both of my parents are musicians, so I grew up immersed in it. I started off by playing the piano when I was around six years old. My mom taught me piano and I enjoyed it. But I had always wanted to play some type of woodwind instrument because my dad was (and is) a classical Saxophonist. I wanted to play an instrument like the saxophone, and I decided on the Clarinet. I studied with my dad for my first year of playing. He was (and is) a great and inspiring teacher, but there is only so much a Saxophonist can teach a Clarinetist. My family and I, then, started researching clarinet teachers in our area, and we found Dr. Margaret Thornhill. That first lesson with her inspired me so much, I came straight home listening, playing, and reading about the clarinet like I never had before. Her teaching has transformed my playing, made it extremely fun to play, and has inspired me further than you could imagine.
What kind of music do you like to play?
I like to play all types of classical music. From Bach (of course Bach that is transcribed for the clarinet) to Carter, and from Mozart to Boulez. But, I particularly enjoy playing contemporary (or modern) classical music.
What inspires you as a composer?
I believe that once music acoustically finds its way to a human ear, then freedom to interpret the sounds into visual images, colors, and ideas is experienced. Some music is fairly easy to hear, but it usually gives less freedom to the listener’s personal interpretation. Oddly, though, (I think) the music that seems to be the hardest for the ear to accept is the music that gives the most freedom to the listener. But when one studies and spends time listening to the, at first, “hard to listen to” music, expansion of the ear’s universe of interpretation occurs, and one can then more fluidly understand the aspect of this music, and later music generally. All of this, to me, concludes that, as a composer, I must give freedom to the listener and performer. The great composers who made music that stretched the margins inspire me.
How long have you been composing?
I’ve been composing since I was nine years old.
What do you enjoy doing outside of music?
Outside of music, I enjoy doing Tae Kwon Do, spending time with my friends, my dog, my family, my garden, being at the beach, and going to my youth group. I also love reading and researching on the clarinet (I guess that doesn’t count for this question, though). Thanks for this blog!
Andrew's mother, Shannon:
When did you first realize that Andrew had a special gift for music?
Andrew grew up listening to music in our home, as both his father and I are musicians. We realized very soon after he first picked up the clarinet that there was something unique and special there..... he just loved it!! He seemed to ‘come alive’ when playing. He connected with the instrument in a rare way, and he seemed to have a passion for music that was both surprising and beautiful. That passion began (and continues) to run ahead of us! He loves it.
What is it like being the parent of such a talented musician?
We’re humbled and so thankful to have the privilege and joy of parenting Andrew!
How much does Andrew play each day? Does he do it all voluntarily?
We have to literally tell Andrew to STOP practicing! He does it ALL voluntarily.