Name: Minna Stelzner, '16
Hometown: Redmond, WA
Instrument: Alto saxophone (also plays flute, clarinet, some piano)
Major: Bachelor of Music in Music Education
Residence: Off-campus house with other music students
Musical Involvements: Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band (alto and baritone saxophone), Symphony Orchestra, saxophone quartet, Pep Band (librarian) Sigma Alpha Iota, Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble (coach), Tacoma Concert Band (substitute)
Involvements Outside Music: Lab worker for Technology Services

On why I chose Puget Sound: I chose Puget Sound because I felt an instant connection with two of the faculty members here - Fred Winkler (saxophone professor) and Gerard Morris (Director of Bands). I first met both of individually off campus (in a saxophone workshop in Vancouver and at my district's honor band, respectively)  before I had ever heard of University of Puget Sound . I remember being blown away by how casually brilliant they both are. That's how all of our faculty members are here - casually brilliant. I kept thinking, "Wow, how have I never heard of Puget Sound before? I want to go there." Then I visited campus and just fell in love with it.

Favorite thing about Puget Sound and the School of Music: I am always amazed by how singularly committed the professors here are to their students' learning, in a way unlike any other school I've visited. They pay attention to you and your ideas, and their office doors are always open for questions. They are constantly ready to help you stretch your artistic and academic muscles in new ways, and I've had so many fantastic learning experiences here after only two years. Also, the sense of community here is incredible. I'm always meeting new people, but I feel as if I know most of the people in the music building. In a small school, that's priceless, and I believe that we can learn from everyone, regardless of their instrument or discipline. You don't get that experience in a large school with hundreds of music majors.

Favorite Classes:

  • Advanced Instrumental Conducting (MUS392) with Dr. Gerard Morris - Conducting has really changed my perspective on all aspects of my music-making. You have the power to influence so much on the podium. We've had the opportunity to conduct some fantastic works for winds, like the "First Suite in E-flat" by Holst and Stravinsky's "Octet for Wind Instruments." Dr. Morris is an incredible teacher - he connects on such a personal level with all of his students.
  • The Classical Tradition (CLSC230) with Brett Rogers - I took this class to fulfill a core requirement and it was the best non-music class that I've ever taken. Brett Rogers is the kind of professor that is always asking questions (which in turn generate more questions) and his style of teaching really opened my mind to critical thinking and looking at issues through variety of lenses.

Favorite musical memory at Puget Sound (so far): Going on tour with the Wind Ensemble was, hands down, the most fun I've had here so far - even over our performance of Maslanka's 4th Symphony, although that was beyond incredible, too. We visited Oregon and northern California, played for the California Music Educators' Conference and a handful of high school groups, and saw the San Francisco Symphony perform. I especially loved having the chance to share our music with the high school students and work with them; we were received so kindly and it kept reminding everyone involved that creating art from music is what unites us all. 

Favorite Place on Campus: My favorite spot (especially when it's nice out) is the balcony on the side of Weyerhaeuser Hall. It has the best view on campus, and it's a great place to sit in the sun or listen to some music and relax. Another wonderful place to hang out is the music lounge, where you can always find some friends and a good story being told. 

This summer and next year, I'm looking forward to:
This summer (2014) I will be conducting for the Orchestral Recital Series here on campus. It's a fantastic opportunity for young musicians in the area to play a concerto, or part of a concerto, with an orchestra that's made up of high school and collegiate members. I just took advanced instrumental conducting this past spring, so I'm excited and humbled to be a part of it and learn even more. I'll also be attending a saxophone workshop with Frederick Hemke in Maine for two weeks, and teaching middle and high school students and Lake Samish Music Camp in Bellingham, WA. Next year I hear we have some amazing things in the works and I can’t wait to see how we’ll achieve those new heights together!

 

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