Seniors pursue music in college

Annie Fogarty

After four years of learning and performing in the Redwood Music department, senior musicians Alison Wood, Sophie Keaney and Karl Tietze plan to extend their music studies further, and attend college for music. The three credit the department with providing support to pursue music in college and develop their love of music. Though the three plan to continue to master their instruments, each is attracted to different aspects of the music industry.

Alison Wood. Thornton School of Music USC

Senior Alison Wood has a diverse background in music, with passions for guitar, trombone, singing and songwriting. Though she loves the creative side of music, the business aspect grabbed her attention when she began professionally recording and releasing originals her sophomore year. Wood will be a part of the USC Thornton Music Industry program in the fall.

Wood was drawn to studying music industry over specializing in an instrument because she believes it could open the door to a viable career. She also plans to minor in songwriting and continue playing her instruments.

“It will be the best of both worlds,” Wood said.

Wood will be learning about the entire production process, from songwriting and production to the release of music.

“I looked at what you can do with music once you have recorded it. How to copyright it, where to do it, how to put it up. That got me interested in the music industry and I really really liked it,” Wood said.

She is particularly captivated by the connections that music builds between individuals.

Alison Wood will attend USC Thornton School of Music in the fall.
Alison Wood will attend USC Thornton School of Music in the fall.

“The main thing that has caught my interest recently is the way we listen to music—music platforms such as Spotify, iTunes and YouTube. I want to discover how we can optimize the connection between the listener and the artist,” Wood said.

Wood attributes support for her decision to both her parents––her father is a musician––and the Redwood Music department.

“I don’t know what I would do without the music department here. I love it and it has been kind of my little family here at high school,” Wood said.

However, Wood was mainly influenced to pursue music in college by her personal relationship with music.

“Freshman year I discovered my favorite band [Switchfoot]. At that point I knew I liked music but I never knew how much I would love music. I started listening to them and getting into the lyrics and something sort of clicked for me. I realized that if I was going to be happy, I was going to be doing some sort of music,” Wood said.

Wood has spent all four years in the music department. She’s been a member of Performance Workshop for two years, and Jazz Band and the Wind ensemble for four.

Sophie Keaney, Berklee College of Music

Senior Sophie Keaney has been playing violin and singing since she was 4 years old.  She will continue her studies in performance while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. However, she didn’t always plan to study music in college.

“I always saw myself probably going to a UC, but I got really into music and theater in high school. That put me on this whole going to school for arts [path],” Keaney said.

Keaney traveled to Los Angeles to audition for Berklee College of Music, where she was asked to perform practiced pieces and works that she was given only 10 minutes to learn.

“It was kind of crazy,” said Keaney, describing her audition process. “We had to sight read pieces, which is really hard as a singer because you don’t have the notes on frets or keys. You just have to know where every note is.”

Keaney said that, naturally, she was nervous about how she had performed in the audition.

However, all her fears disappeared when she received an acceptance letter in the mail.

“I fell on the floor and started crying,” Keaney said. “I was so excited.”

Keaney says that she is excited to be around people who have the same passion for music.

“Many of their science classes are related to music, whether it learning about the rhythm of your body or the way your voice works,” Keaney said.

Keaney plans to study her instruments and explore other elements of the industry.

“We cannot declare a major until the end of second semester, but I’m thinking of going with a primary in vocals and a secondary in violin,” Keaney said.

Keaney is also interested in studying production and songwriting, as she wants to be performing in her career.

“Performing is a way to express myself in a way that I can’t put verbal words to,” Keaney said. “I always want to be performing, just doing something that I love every single day.”

Berklee School of Music has produced some major stars including Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor.

Karl Tietze, Loyola University in New Orleans

Next year drummer Karl Tietze will immerse himself in jazz while attending Loyola University School of Music in New Orleans. New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, has a rich history of music that is reflected in the school’s atmosphere.

“Loyola’s campus is centered around music and there are many music students there,” Tietze said.

Tietze is hoping that being surrounded by a jazz culture, he will not only learn about the music industry and playing in ensembles but also gain real-world experience in the city.

“It’s appealing because New Orleans has a really great jazz scene, which will be great for making connections and playing a lot,” Tietze said.

Though he will be focusing his studies on the drums, Tietze is multi-talented. He plays the bassoon in the San Francisco Youth Orchestra and has recently picked up jazz piano.

Tietze has known that he would pursue music in college for several years. He has been a member of Jazz Ensemble for four years, Advanced Band for three years and Advanced Performance Workshop for two years.

“It’s been something that has been in the back of mind since around middle school. Both of my parents are professional musicians so it was natural for me to decide on that path. In the past few years it became real for me as I started looking at colleges and figuring out what I wanted to do,” Tietze said.

Tietze plans to continue his passion for music far into the future.

“I hope to make a living off of performing and teaching,” Tietze said. “Music has always been a big part of my life and the more serious I get, the more I like it.”