Music, Performance emphasis
CCU provided the spiritual and emotional foundation that sustained me through graduate school and prepared me for the work I am now doing in music. When I entered graduate school at USC, I suddenly encountered many guitarists who were playing at very high levels, making recordings, and winning competitions. It was, to be honest, quite intimidating. Knowing my identity in Christ, being certain that my worth did not come from how well I played compared to others, was essential to my survival in this new environment. Being found in Christ disarms envy and jealousy and frees one to simply learn, and to be willing to share knowledge with others to build them up, rather than to intimidate or to be intimidated by them. At USC, I grew a lot musically, but CCU provided the stability I needed to stick with my calling under the competitive pressure.
One of the most important things I learned at CCU is integration - the amalgamation of faith and work. This was hammered into my head from the first day of Freshman Year Integration to the last day of Senior Integrative Seminar while I was at CCU. By the time I finished my last class, I thought I'd had enough of that word! But as I see it now, that was the most significant part of my experience at CCU. Every class, whether English, philosophy, or Dr. Schantz's Musical Perspectives, in some way prepared me to serve God with integrity through my work in music. Beyond musical technique (though that is important in the temporary realm), humility, character, and a life surrendered to God are the qualities that really matter. The professors in the music department modeled these traits to me in their instruction and their patient encouragement of my development both as a person and as a musician.