Zachary Huff


Expected graduation date: I am unsure. I may graduate Spring 2014. I transferred to ISU so my credit situation is a bit strange.

Degree objective: My long term objective is to secure a Ph.D. in music composition. At the moment I am completing my Bachelors.

Instrument: My primary instrument at ISU is percussion. However, I spent a lot of time working on piano, guitar, bass, and tactile responsive digital instruments.

University highlights, achievements and awards: I've made Dean's list 6 semesters in a row. I received the Paul W. Hagan composition prize in 2012. In 2013 I received the Minerva Pepinsky Memorial Award and I was initiated into the Pi Kappa Lambda National Honors Music Society. There may be other things that I missed, but I do not generally put much stock in accolades!

High School: I went to South Vermillion High School. It's a small school about twenty minutes north of Terre Haute.

Hometown: Clinton, Indiana

Family ties to ISU: My late mother went to ISU, but that did not factor in my choosing

I chose to attend ISU because…ISU is close to home. Many of my close friends attend ISU and the small size generates an intimate class room setting, which is ideal for lecture scenarios.

When I have free time, I like…To compose, produce, record, work with 3-D animation, play piano/drum set, gig with my progressive metal band, and most of all, listen to music. I love listening to music.

My favorite places on campus to study are…I'm not on campus much unless I have class. You can usually find me in the percussion studio! The 3rd floor of the library is another good place. I love browsing the shelves for new music books!

My favorite professor is…This is a tough question. I have to say Dr. Finnie is my favorite professor. I believe he has had a greater impact on my future than just about anyone I know. I am so thankful to receive incredible instruction from him both on a musical level and a personal level. Dr. Finnie has so much applicable, experiential wisdom that I find myself drawing from at every new gig situation.

I also have to mention Dr. Dean, whose challenging classes are infamous throughout the student body. Dr. Dean has introduced me to so many great pieces, new ideas, and cultural perspectives. Both inside and outside of his music history courses he cares about his students' successes. I've never been turned down when seeking guidance from Dr. Dean.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…My sister. She passed away in 2002 when she was 16 years old. Alternatively, Debussy, I'd love to chat with him about harmony.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…I live my life looking forward. Failing is not an option as I determine my future with my present actions. If I thought there was room to fail, I would have stayed away from composing! Haha.

After graduation, I plan to... Attend graduate school. Also, ask me this question when I graduate because my band seems to be doing well right now and after another one or two years of growth it may be a sustainable business. Only time will tell, but, regardless, I want to go to graduate school.

The one ISU experience I will always remember is/will be…I don't live on campus so I don't get a lot of "ISU" experiences. The Contemporary Music Festival is always a great experience. I'll always remember my MUS 351 (Music History II) class too. Jake Dowling cracks me up!

If I knew then what I know now, I would…I would have listened to Scriabin's first piano concerto. It's a true beauty and it's a shame I just discovered it! It's like Chopin with good orchestration!

If I could serve as a mentor for future ISU music students, I would tell them/suggest that they…Don't skip class. People pay thousands of dollars (and often go into debt) for schooling, so why the hell would you skip a class? In addition, we are studying an arts degree which means our future security is less insured than someone studying a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degree. Which means we have to work extra hard to ensure we develop the skills that allow us to compete in the industry. Skipping class is the quickest way not to do that. Anyone can learn music without studying it in a formal setting, but it's the general, well-rounded knowledge we learn in a pedagogical system that sets us apart from the hobbyist musician. Go to class!

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