A passion for music

MARSHALL – After she got a postcard in the mail about a seminar where she could work with Broadway percussionists, Meghan Carmody of Marshall decided to take the chance.

Carmody, a junior music education major at Southwest Minnesota State University, with an emphasis on percussion studies, spent four days in June working with Broadway percussionists at a seminar hosted by New York University.

Carmody is a part of the Percussion Arts Society, which is how she learned about the seminar.

“They send out things like emails and postcards to people,” she said. “This was one of them I got, and I was like, ‘eh, why not?'”

Percussion has been a part of Carmody’s life since the fifth grade when she took up band.

“It really started out when I was in high school and marching band,” Carmody said about her interest in music and percussion. She played in the pit – marimba for three years and xylophone for one. After being in marching band, that’s where she developed her passion for music. At SMSU, she mainly plays percussion all over the board, she said.

Carmody had to send in an application for the seminar and an audition tape, which she did in March. For her audition, she performed a duet with another student.

“The biggest decision about going was the tuition fee,” Carmody said.

For the seminar, she stayed at a NYU dorm and had to play for summer residency and a plane ticket.

“So it wasn’t a cheap trip,” she said. “Once I was there, it was totally worth it.

On the Sunday she arrived, Carmody said she had orientation for three hours. Monday was the official first day of the seminar, starting at 9 a.m. for a three-hour session. There were two more three-hour sessions after lunch and dinner, she said, and the schedule was the same on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Carmody went to Broadway shows. She went to “Rocky” and got the chance to work with Javier Diaz, one of the percussionists, sitting in the pit with him. After dinner at the local music union, Carmody was in the audience for “Beautiful:?The Carole King Musical.”

Thursday’s schedule started out with a three-hour session in the morning. After lunch, there was a roundtable discussion with all the presenters and Broadway contractors at the seminar, where attendees could ask questions of them and hear about their experiences, Carmody said.

“It was a full four days, but it was a lot of fun,” she said. She also learned about the music union, gained experience working with professional percussionists, saw what it was like to perform in the pit at a Broadway show and saw how music tracks are recorded for music.

The biggest thing she learned, Carmody said, was you have to be humble.

“And let your music speak for you,” she said, and be respectful.

Another thing Carmody found interesting was the Broadway industry, which includes on Broadway, off Broadway and off-off Broadway, creates more money than all of the sports teams combined.

“That shows that music and theater is a very important part of the American lifestyle,” Carmody said.

Carmody, who plays with the SMSU/Community Concert Band and the Symphonic Band and has played with the jazz band and pep band, also gives private percussion lessons, works at the Note Gallery and helps out with the Marshall High School marching band.