We have some amazing percussion students here at WP, and this page is a place where you can get to know them a little better.
Meet Isabelle Thomas, a Music Education Major:
What’s your favorite thing about studying percussion at WP?
My favorite thing about studying percussion at WP is the growth-promoting environment. At WP you can explore all aspects of the percussive arts. The professors encourage us to go outside of our comfort zones and are always so supportive of any ideas or musical ventures we decide to take. Whether it’s composing, conducting, or performing you can do it all at WP Percussion. There are no limits or boundaries to what you can accomplish in this program!
What’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me at WP is usually very busy. As a Music Education Percussion major, we are six days a week morning to night. This may sound like a lot, but the amount of fun we have doing what we love makes it all worth it. At this point in my WP career, I am taking only degree-focused classes, so all music all the time. I’ll usually have on my busiest day five classes, Orchestra or Concert band rehearsals and then Percussion and/or New Music Ensemble rehearsals. And somehow in there, there’s time for weekly private lessons, homework, and time with friends and family.
Where do you want to be in, say, five years?
At this point in my music career, there are so many things I want to do. Right now I am focusing on looking into graduate schools to pursue a Masters and a PhD in Music Theory. In five years, I would like to be a college professor teaching Music Theory and finishing up a PhD program. While also actively performing and pursing other musical ventures.
What has been one of your favorite experiences a WP so far?
So far at WP my most memorable experience would have to be playing the percussion book for the Spring 2021 Opera, Orpheus in the Underworld. Due to covid, the pit orchestra was very small and consisted of only four people. It was a big honor to be asked to play especially since I was the only student in the orchestra. It was an amazing learning experience to perform amongst professionals.
How did you first get into percussion?
My journey to percussion had a few steps along the way. I started playing piano when I was about eight years old and joined my elementary school’s concert band in fourth grade, where I played the trumpet. I was not very good at trumpet and was devastated because I thought I would have to quit the band. My music teacher at the time, Mrs. Michelle Hughes, had shown me the bells when I sadly expressed that I would have to leave the band. Ever since then I have been playing percussion, especially mallet percussion. She had introduced me to the rest of my life and I didn’t even know it. With her guidance, I have gone on to play with the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps Front Ensemble and have had many other amazing mallet percussion opportunities throughout my education.
When did you know that this was really your path in life?
I knew pretty early on I wanted to pursue a career in music, more specifically playing percussion. I was in middle school band rehearsal teaching the other kids how to play the xylophone and read treble clef when it hit me that I could really do this for a career. Ever since then, I have continued to practice and study percussion. This has led me to the amazing program at WP and the ever-evolving career I want in music.
Any advice for new students?
A piece of advice I would give prospective and first-year students is to boldly, courageously, and full-heartedly try everything that you have a passion for. There are a million different things you can do with a degree and career in music. If you find something that makes you want to be better and makes you happy, just go out and do it. The worst thing that happens is someone tells you “no” and you start again. There is no failing just trial and error.