When Jacob Smith, a junior choral music education major, joined the choir in fourth grade, it marked the beginning of his lifelong journey with music.
In high school Smith participated in two different choirs and musicals each year. By his junior year he realized he could see himself as a music teacher for the rest of his life.
“Music is really the number one way I can communicate my feelings and who I am,” Smith said. “It’s also the number one way I can connect with God.”
It was the encouragement of those around Smith who really pushed and inspired him to develop his singing skills, specifically from his parents, elementary school teachers and middle school teachers.
“They were a huge encouragement to me because when I was growing up, when I sang I would enjoy singing, but they really gave me the drive, the ‘Hey you can really do this, don’t stop singing,’” Smith said. “If I didn’t have that influence in my life I may not be where I am today.”
Since coming to college, Smith has been a part of the concert choir and gospel choir. He had the opportunity to perform in the Longakers Honor Recital and the Concerto Winners Concert, both events which required auditioning before a panel. He performed with the theatre company in their production of “Guys and Dolls.”
This semester he gave a junior recital, for which he prepared 30 minutes of music in a variety of styles and languages. In a typical school week, Smith estimates he spends approximately 16 hours in the Merillat Centre for the Arts.
“If I could say one thing to incoming music majors it would just be to warn them that it is going to be a lot of work, but it is incredibly rewarding when you stick it out,” Smith said. “It is such an awesome feeling to be able to not only be on the stage and perform in front of people, but also, if you’re an education major, to be able to teach students and have that experience; it’s just an incredibly rewarding feeling.”
Smith said he desires to bring his journey full circle once he graduates by teaching music at a high school. He also aspires to go on to graduate school in the future in order to teach at the college level.