Bao-Tich Nguyen, former student

“I hope you are doing well. I just finished high school last June and I’m enjoying a gap year at Plum Village, a Buddhist monastery in southern France, before attending George Mason University. I will be majoring in Medical Technology. I’m looking forward to my future studies in science and medicine. Senior year was both exciting and overwhelming. AP Calculus was among the toughest courses I took last year. During the previous school year, I have explored a new interest: music composition. Some time ago, I started hearing original melodies in my head and had a need to write the music down. I soon discovered that the simplest method for me to write music was with the piano so I began to take piano lessons at my local Music & Arts. Of course the lessons started after I completed the college applications! After learning to read bass clef and playing with proper fingering, I began to realize that music just flowed out of my mind and onto the piano. Sometimes on the weekends, I would play the piano for many hours. It feels so great to be able to play on the piano the unending melodies from inside. I’m also finding that translating visual images, especially things found in nature, into music are personally satisfying. Looking back, it’s very clear that I would not have experienced this wonder if it wasn’t for my dearest violin teacher who has taught me all the formulas that were necessary for this “musical awakening.” I’m quite sure the scales exercises and pitch work were crucial components that triggered these musical bursts of ideas. I am still practicing the violin, guitar, and piano. However, when I compose and arrange music, I use my keyboards and my computer. Attached are two of my most recent, complete compositions. The first is an adagio I wrote for my high school orchestra (flute, violins, viola, cello, and contrabass). I used a music notation software to convert my MIDI note inputs into proper music notation for members of the orchestra. We actually did not have a chance to perform the piece for the public but we did play it for the school last April. I opted to accompany the orchestra on the piano rather than being conductor. The second piece, written last May, is entitled “Dance of the Sea Stars.” The instruments in these two pieces are all keyboard/software-based voices. I do hope you enjoy them.”