Sean Carey


Expected graduation date: May 2014

Degree objective: BME in Music Education (Instrumental) and BM in Music Performance (Violin)

Instrument: Violin

University highlights, achievements and awards: 2010 President’s Scholar; Member of the President’s Scholars Association; Recipient of the Art D. Hill Scholarship; Member of ISU’s Pi Kappa Alpha Honors Music Society; Performed at the 2012 President’s Concert; Music Theory/Skills Tutor; Member of the ISU Student String Quartet; President-Elect of CNAfME; Treasurer of International Student Organization.

High School: Munster High School

Hometown: Munster, Indiana

Family ties to ISU: I do not have any family ties to ISU.

I chose to attend ISU because... There were many factors that played into my choice of ISU. First off, they offered me the President’s Scholarship, so it was hard to turn it down. Also, I came down for a lesson with Dr. Bill Davis the summer before my freshman year, and right after I knew this was where I wanted to go. The small campus really helped my decision as well. The music buildings were all in one area, and I knew the class sizes would be small, which is the ideal learning environment for me.

When I have free time, I like... In my free time, when I magically acquire some, I like going rollerblading and watching movies. Horror movies are my favorite! I really enjoy watching movies with my friends and just hanging out in general when we get time.

My favorite places on campus to study are: My all-time favorite place to study on campus is in a practice room in the Fine Arts Basement! It’s the ideal place for me to go, because I can bring my books to the practice room, as well as my violin. I like going in the middle of the night with no one there, just switching off practicing violin, piano, and then studying for my other classes. I can spend hours being productive in one practice room. If, in fact, I should just study or write a paper, then I usually find myself going to the library, because I would just practice violin or piano (much more appealing, right?)

My favorite professor is... This list is endless! I love all of my professors at ISU, but I will pick 4 so I don’t ramble on for days.

Dr. Bill Davis is definitely one of my all-time favorite professors. I just knew I’d get along with him after our first lesson the summer before attending ISU. Funny story, he was actually my ISSMA State Solo and Ensemble judge 2 years before I even came to college! Small world, right? I’m in my second year at ISU and I am still so grateful to be working with such a fantastic professor. As my violin teacher, piano teacher, string quartet coach, orchestra director, and just mentor in general, he has inspired me so much in just the 2 years I have been here, and I know he will continue to help me progress as a violinist and educator.

Dr. Terry Dean is also one of my favorite professors. He is extremely knowledgeable and helpful in general. Taking the world music course with him was awesome! I learned so much in that class, and he worked very hard to make sure we understood the material. He really cares about his students and wants them to succeed, which is what I love about him. I am excited to work with him in the music history courses next year, and I know I will learn so much on the Europe trip as well!

I have to mention Dr. Christine Boone as well. It is her first year at ISU, but already she has made an impact in my education, so much so that I am now considering teaching in music theory and aural skills in the future. Her methods of teaching are extremely effective, and I am learning so much about theory and aural skills, while at the same time learning great pedagogical approaches.

Finally, I cannot leave out Dr. Greg Bierly. Freshman year, he was very helpful in making sure that everything went smoothly for me as an honors student and a music major. And still, he is a fantastic mentor to me today. He has come to support me in my musical performances, as well as aid with my academics. I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with him.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with... Hands down, it would be Fritz Kreisler. He is well-known in the violin world, and I would probably pass out if I had the opportunity to meet him. However, he’s dead so I guess I don’t have to worry. Just to talk to him about his techniques and approaches to his own pieces would be amazing, and I feel I would learn so much! I really enjoy performing the pieces he has composed, because he was violin god and composed masterpieces!

If I knew I could not fail, I would... If I knew I could not fail, I would begin an effective orchestra program in inner-city Chicago or New York public schools. I would love to be an orchestra director for elementary/middle/high school while at the same time teaching music theory and skills at the university level. I realize that this is probably enough to put someone over the edge, but this is if I knew I couldn’t fail, so I’m going with my dream! It would be AMAZING to make a difference in the lives of students of all ages!

After graduation, I plan to... After I graduate, I intend to get my Masters in Music Theory with a String Pedagogy Certificate from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. And after that, I hope to go for my doctorate in music education, but that is a long time from now!

The one ISU experience I will always remember is/will be... There are so many to name! I really enjoyed playing at the President’s Concert recently. All of the performers were just fantastic and it was an overall amazing evening. Playing on recitals in general are always memorable, I really love playing for anyone who will listen and ISU allows me to do that often!

If I knew then what I know now, I would… I would begin as a Performance major as well. I added it in the spring of my freshman year, just because I didn’t know if I could handle it with my education degree. As of right now, I am handling it really well, but I have lost a semester in the performance part of my degree that I wish could get back. But other than that, I don’t regret any decisions I have made! ISU is just a wonderful academic and musical environment!

If I could serve as a mentor for future ISU music students, I would tell them/suggest that they… Practice, practice, practice! Or at least get used to the idea of practicing! It’s extremely important to practice for your lesson and any ensemble you are in. Also, I would encourage incoming students to go outside their comfort zone, because you may actually enjoy doing something different. I have been in Masterworks Chorale for 3 semesters, and I have never sung before I came to ISU, but it turns out that I enjoy it immensely. Also, I would advise students to really get to know the music majors in your class, because, especially for freshman year, they become your second family. You make some of the best friends of your life at school, and these friendships cannot be ignored! sm

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