Today's Student Spotlight Interview features Alyssa Prichard, a recent graduate of Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson, AZl. Alyssa first joined my studio in 2016 and is currently a participant at the renowned Brevard Summer Music Festival in North Carolina. It has been remarkable to see Alyssa's musical growth over these past two years. Her numerous successes and accomplishments have proven that hard work and dedication will always prevail! It's been an absolute privilege working with Alyssa and I'm wishing her the absolute best as she begins her musical journey at The U of A on a merit scholarship this Fall!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your recent accomplishments: My name is Alyssa Prichard, I’m 18-years old, I just graduated from Ironwood Ridge High School and I will be attending The University of Arizona's Fred Fox School of Music in the Fall. In high school, I was center snare and percussion section leader of the drum line. I was also accepted into Regionals and All-State my junior and senior year, All-Nationals my senior year, and The Brevard Music Center this summer.
How long have you been playing percussion? I’ve played percussion (mainly snare drum) since the 5th grade.
What was the most challenging part of preparing for the regional, all-state, and all-national auditions? Were there any similarities or differences between the three? What about your audition for Brevard? The most challenging part for preparing the regionals audition and all-state audition was figuring out the nuances and "tricks" in the etudes. I tried making both auditions as perfect as possible. I really tried to get every single dynamic change, accent, and accidental in the etudes. The etudes required a ton of focus and I needed to know them like the back of my hand. The hardest part of the All-Nationals audition was the recording of the audition and the snare etude. The snare etude was really tricky. Recording was hard too because I was really nervous. I’d never recorded an audition before so the whole experience was weird. The most challenging part about the Brevard audition was also recording because I was all by myself and I had a ton of issues with the audio getting deleted, videos getting messed up, etc!! It was stressful!
What are your plans after high school? Where would you like to see yourself in the next ten years? I’ve just recently graduated high school! In the fall I will be attending The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music as a percussion performance major. In 10 years I see myself playing in an orchestra and possibly becoming a percussion educator.
What are you looking forward to working on and improving as a percussion student this year? This year as a student I’m looking forward to improving my timpani playing. I’m also looking forward to learning how to play the vibraphone because I think it’s such a beautiful instrument.
How did your private lessons prepare you for all the auditions you took this past year? What was it like transitioning from in-person to virtual lessons when I moved to Georgia back in 2017? The lessons with you really helped me with my auditions because you have so much experience with taking auditions and know exactly what the adjudicators are looking for. Transitioning from in-person lessons to virtual lessons was actually easier than I thought it would be. I sent videos during the week to make sure I understood the concepts we discussed in lessons.
The benefits of FaceTime lessons were being able to send those videos throughout the week and then discuss them in the lessons.
Anything else you'd like to add about your overall experience as a percussionist? I’ve been playing percussion seriously for 2 years now and I’m so glad I decided to start learning how to play instruments other than the snare drum. I’ve enjoyed playing all different styles of percussion and in different ensembles. I’ve also made so many new percussionist friends through all of the different ensembles I’ve been in which has been great because I love meeting and talking to new people. The percussion community so far has been super welcoming and I love being a part of it. I look forward to learning and playing more music in the future.