Q: How has COVID-19 shaped your plans for this project? Is flexibility something that comes easily for you?
Meredith: I think given the nature of my major and career
field, the pandemic has helped me in many ways for my composition. Of
course there have been endless hardships in the past months, but more
than anything I have had time to sit with my computer, piano and
trombone and write some quality music. I have always thought of myself
as being very flexible, and I’m very glad that my musicality and
creativity were able to adapt well to being quarantined.
Q: What are the possible real-world applications for your study?
Meredith: I have structured the pieces I am writing in a very
specific manner. Each of the nine can be performed as their own
individual pieces; however, they can also be performed in three separate
trios of pieces, each circulating around their own programmatic themes.
Lastly, all nine pieces could be played in sequence to create one long
but balanced program, much like a nine-song album. Colleges and
universities all over the world have trombone choirs and other studio
ensembles, and trombone choirs are always looking for new repertoire,
which not only helps educate the players on the principles of playing in
the ensemble, but also is well-written, interesting to listen to, and
exciting to program. My project is attempting to check all these boxes.
Q: How would you explain your work to a fifth grader?
Meredith: If each of the national parks were movies, my music is what you would hear when you watch them.
Q: What advice would you give younger kids (middle school or high school) with similar interests?
Meredith: All of the arts (music, literature, painting, dance,
etc.) are more influential than most people are willing to believe. If
your first inclination is to avoid drawing, writing or singing because
you’re “not good at it,” I implore you to not think about the quality of
the end result but rather the enjoyment of the process. The arts are
rarely ever just a projection of skill but are truly a form of release
and expression that you can’t get from just a verbal conversation. You
may not sing in front of your peers, but chances are you’ve sung alone
in the shower, and you probably enjoyed it. Art can be a personal
experience. You certainly don't have to share everything with the
public, but when you do voluntarily share that experience with others,
that feeling is unparalleled with anything else I have done in my life.
Once you stop worrying about “how bad you are” at whatever it is you’re
doing, you’re about to enjoy the process more and develop skills over
time and through practice, all of which has the potential to be
Q: Have the changes required by the pandemic changed your perspective on anything? Would you share an example or two?
Meredith: Throughout my life there have been a number of
moments where I have felt most impacted, influenced and inspired by
music. I find when I’m most busy or stressed, remembering those special
moments is either the easiest thing to do or impossible. The pandemic
changed a great number of things for me, but honestly being isolated for
so long has really grounded me with my creative side. My perspective on
my career and being a composer has definitely developed from finding
financial stability in adulthood to now knowing how large a role being
artistic and musical is going to play in my entire life and all aspects
of my health. The pandemic has given me seemingly endless time to
self-reflect, for better or for worse.