Garrett Waters follows long-loved passion for music

Tina Bardot, Beat Editor

Not many people leave high school with a strong idea of what they want to do with their lives. However, for those who have figured out their life plans, being able to get a head start on their passions in life is helpful to the accomplishment of their goals.

The exception to this the idea that high schoolers cannot pursue passions from a young age is Senior Garrett Waters. He plans to work toward a musical career he has been shaping from the young age of 11. To fulfill the passion he found in middle school, Waters plans to study the saxophone and clarinet and get a degree in music.

“I have been playing the saxophone since sixth grade, and I picked up the clarinet last year.” Waters said. “After high school I’ll be attending the University of Montana as a music major. I’ll be studying tenor saxophone and clarinet. My hope is to get a masters from there. I want to be a teacher, whether that will be as a high school/college teacher or as a private instructor is undecided.”

Many people do not follow the path towards music because of the challenges it imposes on musicians. Being a professional musician, meaning pursuing music education, musical study, and/or musical performances, is a daunting task, but knowing this did not scare Waters.

“I pursue music despite possible setbacks because I would rather pursue what I love now than look back on this time 20 years from now regretting how I had not take the chance,” Waters said.

Band teacher Jared Tanner is aware of the difficult journey ahead, which is why he encourages pursuing music but does not expect it.

“Music is a hard thing to pursue, and anyone who feels they are passionate enough to do it should go try it,” Tanner said. “If you really need to do it, you’ve got to try it, and I’m totally happy if a student of mine wanted to do that. But I also don’t have any expectation that they do.”

A survey from the performers at the Sydney Symphony in Australia put the top influential factor in the pursuit of music as having inspiring teachers and strong high school programs. Being in band for so many years has strongly influenced Waters toward pursuing a musical occupation. Tanner has also played a role in this musical formation.

“In band, I have always really liked performing and playing with a small group of musicians. I like how Mr. Tanner really emphasizes professionalism and taking pride in your music. That really has encouraged me to do the same,” Waters said. “I decided to pursue music because studying music is really its own reward. It’s not just playing the right notes and rhythms, but performing something that people really respond to.”

Having strong high school programs such as the band program encourages students to find talents and interests and follow them beyond. As the band grows next year, there may well be an increase in musical prodigies, or simply music lovers, with the hope of following their passion and aiding the growth of the band’s musical prowess. The importance of the arts programs is displayed by the passion they breed within students, which ultimately helps to shape students’ lives.

“The buy-in and the program in both band and guitar is really high, people want to come in a work hard,” Tanner said. “Generally when you get more students, more is better. I know I’m getting a number of really talented people. We’ll just keep getting better and better.”