Majoring in Jazz Performance to maximize potential as an artist

Nathan RauscherMajoring in Jazz Performance meant overcoming fear. When I began planning for college, I didn’t know what to study. Music was my passion, but the whole starving artist image terrified me. I doubted I could make it as a performer, but performing was all I wanted to do. For a while, I considered studying health care like my parents and maybe playing in a band on the side. Although I never had much enthusiasm for that idea. I wanted to attend a college with a good school for my major, but without a major I was stuck. No way forward.

Even with my parents’ help, I couldn’t make a decision. Spring of junior year I was still stuck. Then my mom asked me, “Nathan, where do you see yourself in ten years?” And I thought it over. All the years learning music and all the joy of performing. My accomplishments and my potential. The terror of the starving artist faded away. I saw myself ten years down the line. A musician.

Jazz Performance is more than playing music. Teaching, marketing, and group leading have all been vital to my success as a performer. When I became the leader of a jazz combo called Groove Atlas, there were only a few experienced players available to me. I had to quickly create an extremely efficient method to teach the younger musicians how to play jazz. We performed together all year.

Leadership is as challenging in music as in any other discipline. Booking gigs. Organizing rehearsals. Providing sheet music for everyone. It is an exercise in patience as well as time management. Biting a saxophonist’s head off for missing rehearsal is a sure-fire way to lose a saxophonist. Sometimes difficult decisions have to be made. The pianist was very young. Not ready for a certain performance we had planned. As much as I wanted to keep the band together, I had to take her off the roster that day and call in a more experienced player. I felt awful, but it has prepared me to face similar dilemmas in the future.

Learning to advertise the brand is imperative. If nobody knows about the gig, nobody comes, and nobody gets paid. I had a wake-up call. Groove Atlas was performing regularly at a restaurant called Talayna’s, and the owner wanted us to bring more people. Social media became a valuable tool for advertising. I even dealt with other artists, promoting their shows in exchange for help promoting mine. Friends of mine offered services like flyer design and recording that gave me more content to spread around.

Jazz Performance means having the skills to work on a bandstand. In my case, it also means adopting these additional skills to maximize my potential as an artist. Jazz Performance is working with others, leading, and listening. When I graduate, I will be fully fledged Jazz Performer. A musician.

We are proud to announce Nathan Rauscher is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for his essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘heart’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • Denny

    Nathan is driven. Nathan is talented. Nathan understands how to set goals, then work to achieve them. It’s been fun to watch his passion for music unfold from his freshman year in high school to this point. I can’t wait to see what comes next. Wherever he goes, he will be successful, because he is willing to put extraordinary amounts of time, energy, emotion and effort into his pursuit of excellence. Good luck, Nathan!

  • Kevin Rauscher

    Nathan is an amazing musician. More importantly he markets himself as a bandleader, a sideman, and a private teacher. He has developed a very interesting, simple jazz lesson plan. I am as a result of seeing his approaching re thinking how i run my music endeavors. The child is teaching the father!

  • Dominique Price

    Nathan Rauscher is a hard working individual and singular artist. He is a valued colleague and a beloved friend of mine whose work ethic is nothing short of inspirational.

  • Kyle Anderson

    As one of Nathans classmates, I see all of the hard work he puts into his craft. Nathan is a dedicated musician with a great work ethic and a positive attitude. He is always there to help someone in need or be a friend to talk to– he is overall an incredible guy! I believe Nathan deserves this scholarship for his hard work and dedication to something he loves so much! Best of luck, Nathan! What an incredible essay– I really enjoyed reading it.

  • Adrian E

    Nathan is a great friend, performer, and teacher. He has drive, passion, talent, and intellect. He is determined to succeed, and destined to as well.

  • huberje

    As the Department of Music administrative representative at the university Nathan attends, I know him very well. Nathan and I have worked on projects together. Nathan is dedicated to music and is also dedicated to all aspects of creating the resources of a successful musician. His work ethic is stellar. He is open to new ideas and is gifted at creating new procedures and strategies to reach his goals. Nathan is eager to learn everything he can in order to be the best person he can be. I find that Nathan inspires me to be the best person I can be! I totally and without reservation recommend Nathan Rauscher for a scholarship!

  • Jaylen Clark

    Wow, this is really great! Here’s hoping that you win this scholarship and be able to be in Jazz Performance!

  • Nikki collier

    I am a friend of Nathan and let me tell you something he is very hard working

  • Steffanie Rauscher

    I am very supportive of Nathan and his efforts to pursue his life long dream of being a musician. Please like and share to support Nathan’s dream!

  • Hannah Decker

    I love the relatable aspect to this entire piece! I also want to major in music, and the whole starving artist scares me too, but with what you’ve presented and the points you’ve made, it’s completely inspiring to future musicians like myself, it helps give the courage that it’s not impossible, and even with the risk you should follow your passion! Super inspirational essay Nathan! You completely deserve this scholarship for the courage and hard work you’ve put into this!