Student Story: Jenny Young, Class of 2017

Hometown: Camas, WA
Music Technology

Choosing a specific major was actually quite difficult for me. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to do music, but I wasn't sure what emphasis to commit to. And committing was frightening. In my head it was jumping into a waterslide where you ride out the one decision you make until the end. So I put off making the decision until the end of my sophomore year when my entire Music Department family — from fellow colleagues to staff and faculty members lovingly encouraged me to decide…oh, wait, they’d been doing that all year. After a great deal of thought, I committed to the Music Technology major, and have been so happy with my choice! And I can't thank everyone who encouraged me to make a decision and take a chance enough! 

I actually wasn't planning on pursuing music in college at all. I wasn't even going to be in band! However, my mother saw the value of the music community that I'd had throughout middle and high school, and wanted me to at least try band in college. So, grudgingly, I registered as a flute player. Best decision ever. Thanks, mom! 

Majoring in music wasn't even on my radar. I was in the Communications department hoping to get an emphasis in film. During the first week of Wind Ensemble we discovered that we had too many flutes in comparison to our brass section--specifically trombone, which was a lonely party of one. We were going to have to audition flutes and cut people, which nobody wanted to do. I quietly mentioned that I'd sort of played trombone on the side in high school, and was wondering if that was something I could do in the event that I got cut as a flute player. Immediately, I was encouraged to pick up the old student horn I had left in the corner of my room at least six months ago.

Long story short, I gave it a try. And, while spending hours upon hours in the practice rooms trying to make myself a college level player, I fell in love. With music, with the trombone, with all of it! At the end of fall quarter, I switched over to the Music Department for good and jumped in!  

I’ve definitely had some low times where faith hasn’t been a huge priority. I also had some moments where questioned my music degree in the beginning. As a filmmaker, I had planned to bring Faith to the world through authentic Christian productions. What could I do with a music degree? How can I live my life for God if I’m not a missionary or pastor or something? In a conversation with my advisor and mentor, Dr. Brian Chin, he shared one of his philosophies of life with me, and it’s something I’ve kind of adopted. He told me that music is the language of worship. It’s how we can connect with God on the highest level, because the world was created with vibrations just as music is. Now, when I play trombone I think about how I am connecting with Creation with every note.

The relationships that I’ve made with colleagues and professors are definitely highlights of my time at SPU. The community is so incredibly strong, and I believe it’s because we’re sharing every part of ourselves with each other when we make music together. Music comes from the heart; it’s exposing. When you perform something with expression, you’ve got to be vulnerable. We come together through supporting others and being supported in the process.

Dr. David Krosschell has been my private instructor for just over two years now, and has encouraged me non-stop, built me up from square one, and has been the model instructor through his dedication to his students’ learning, wellbeing, and growth, and his unending support. Dr. Brian Chin has been a fantastic mentor, instructor, and instigator of a great deal of crazy amazing life experiences I’ve gained in just a few short years! From doing video production for his non-profit to my first official audio engineering gig, to encouraging me to chase the trombone with everything I have, his “just do it” drive has been the match I needed to light my fire.

Professor Danny Helseth believed in me before I even got out of the starting gate, and has been an incredible role model for hard work and determination. His support and philosophical talks concerning life, trombone, coffee, and everything in between have been much needed sources of encouragement and enlightenment. Professor Ron Haight has never failed to affirm and encourage me, and is an incredible mentor, role model, and blessing. This is just to name a few of the outstanding Music Department Faculty and Staff members that have changed my life for the better.

After graduation, I would love to attend graduate school. Continuing my trombone studies is definitely a dream of mine. Who wouldn’t want to hold the title Doctor of Trombone? I also plan to continue working in film and audio engineering, preferably at a studio that combines both art forms!

Sprezzatura Trio

Meet the members of the Sprezzatura Trio, a music ensemble comprising three SPU alumnae.

faculty spotlight

SPU’s Music faculty share their stories.