Six students from The Master’s University recently traveled to 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles to play violin during the recording of three orchestral pieces for a series of YouTube videos.
Music majors Sebastian Salazar Perez, Gabrielle Gans, Katelyn Williams, Emily Mildner, Sophia Holdorf, and Anna Berry all participated in the recording session, which was conducted by Iranian-American composer Shardad Rohani.
The students were connected to this opportunity through Michael Ferril, a graduate of The Juilliard School of Music and an adjunct violin instructor at TMU. Ferril is well-connected in the film industry, having recorded for over 750 movies.
Even still, opportunities like the one TMU’s students recently enjoyed are hard to come by.
“To get people in the door at 20th Century Fox recording studio is almost impossible,” Ferril says. “You could go to Harvard or Yale or Princeton and never get inside that place. The highest salaries in the country for musicians are in Los Angeles.”
Because of that stiff competition, the opportunity for TMU students to gain experience with professional recordings and to meet people in the industry is invaluable.
“Something like this is a way to break in and establish yourself professionally,” Ferril says. “And the most important part of it was the education. Now they know what it’s like to take part in a professional music recording, and so the next time when they’re hired for something like this, they know what to do. There’s no way I can teach that part myself. It’s something you have to learn through firsthand experience.”
Perez, one of the participating students, was thrilled by the opportunity.
“It was one of the best moments I’ve had in music,” he says. “As students, we all knew that we were there to learn. And I think that the experience has made us better musicians. I would recommend that experience to anyone, one-thousand percent.”
Holdorf, another student in the group, was struck by the unique gospel opportunity that the recording offered.
“An opportunity of this caliber, in this industry, is a powerful ministry opportunity,” she says. “We hope that through our professionalism, excellence in music, and level of personal maturity we can plant seeds of curiosity as to why we are the way we are. We want to be a light.”
TMU’s Paul T. Plew School of Music exists to glorify Christ through the passionate pursuit of musical excellence. Learn more, here.
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