Student Spotlight: Scott Little - future music educator, oboist and composer

Future music educator, composer and oboist Scott Little (BM ‘19) has led a varied college career while at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. During his time as a Music Education major, he has studied oboe with Prof. Danna Sundet as well as composition with both Dr. Adam Roberts and Dr. Frank Wiley. Scott’s also managed to squeeze in some extra lessons, such as voice lessons with Dr. Jay White. As an oboist, he has performed in numerous ensembles and, as a composer, has had works premiered by notable ensembles, such as Kent State’s own Black Squirrel Winds and Kent State Opera. He’s also had works performed by the Cleveland Chamber Choir and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. 

Currently, he’s working with the Kent Blossom Music Festival as a Student Administrative Assistant for the second summer in a row. He’s also preparing for his final semester of college and will be student teaching with Mrs. Jennifer Culver in Cuyahoga Falls this fall. 

I recently had a chance to catch-up with Scott and talk about his time here at Kent State, his role with the Kent Blossom Music Festival, and what’s the on the horizon. Excerpts from our conversation are below. 

Question: You’re currently finishing up your degree in music education major here at Kent State. What attracted you to that major and Kent State in particular?

Scott Little: When I was perusing programs, I was disheartened that other schools in the area seemed to track students into more narrow degree programs. My relationship with music is far from narrow. I liked that Music Education at Kent State is a varied degree program. Also, I was already taking oboe lessons from Professor Danna Sundet. I trusted her judgment that Kent would be a good place for me, and I wanted to keep studying with her – good choices.

Q: Even though the music education major can be very demanding, you’ve also found time to pursue studies in music composition and have had many of yours premiered right here at Kent State by the Black Squirrel Winds and Kent State Opera.  What have those collaborations been like?

SL: I’ve been very grateful for the generosity of Kent State professors. The Black Squirrel Winds didn’t have to play my woodwind quintet, and the Kent State Opera definitely didn’t have to put on my opera. But those professors were willing to give my work a chance and to see value in trying something new. I think it helped that before I collaborated with those professors, I took their classes seriously. 

Even beyond my composition work, the Kent State faculty have been welcoming. Last fall, the voice division had over 140 students, but Dr. White was still open to me taking lessons in his packed studio. I’m grateful for that.

Q: This fall, you’ll be student teaching with Jennifer Culver in Cuyahoga Falls. What are some things you’re looking forward to doing and learning while you’re there?

SL: I’m most looking forward to observing and being mentored by Mrs. Culver. The next step for me is to learn to apply the academic knowledge I’ve gained from classes. From my meetings and observations of Mrs. Culver, she’ll be a great model – and she’ll know how to whip me into shape! It’s wild that, for all 4 years I spent taking Kent classes, my locker was directly left of the studio of Professor Culver, Mrs. Culver’s husband. That’s a musical power couple if I’ve ever seen one.

Q: Right now, you’re working for the Kent Blossom Music Festival. What brought you back for your second summer and what are some of the things you’re looking forward to?

SL: Being an Administrative Assistant for the Kent Blossom Music Festival is a fantastic job. The leaders of the festival – Ricardo Sepúlveda, Tahira Habeeb, and Danna Sundet – are great at what they do and fun to work with. The job duties are perfect for me – scheduling, running concerts, communicating information, working with music and musicians, etc. Exactly what someone with 88.89% of a music degree is qualified to do! 

This year, I’m excited to see many of the concerts, but I’m especially excited to hear Margi Griebling-Haigh’s “Triskaidekaphilia” for 3 Violins on a Young Artist Recital at the Hudson Library at 2:00 p.m. on August 3. I heard that piece at a concert in Cleveland years ago, and I’ve thought about it ever since! That concert is free and open to the public, just like all KBMF’s Student Concerts!

Q: After you finish your degree, what does the future look like?

SL: Directly after graduating, I want to teach. I foresee some more schooling down the line, but I need to get out into the real world for a while so that I can continue to appreciate learning and avoid burnout.

Q: Any advice for future music education majors?

SL: Don’t have a limited perception of yourself or your musical abilities. Some of the extra work I did on the side, like composing and taking piano lessons, was really terrifying. Still is. But now I know that I could handle a job where I have to teach choir, or piano, or jazz. And starting from scratch on an instrument is a great way to understand what beginners are feeling when you teach them. Also, I found that well-crafted emails are like golden tickets: If you ask for extra help or a collaboration, people will surprise you with their willingness to work with you. Oh, and I used to be proud of my lack of sleep like it was a badge of honor. I’m over that idea now, and I think we all need to move past pretending being an unhealthy college student is cool.

Learn more about our Music Education program

Learn more about Scott

Written by:
Andrew Paa, Marketing Assistant
Hugh A. Glauser School of Music

POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 4:11pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 4:29pm