What Walden Means to Me…

  • Never have I seen such an amazingly thorough, enlightening, and fun learning situation as I experienced at Walden.

    – Jennifer Higdon, composer

A letter from Alex Christie, YMP Alumnus & Faculty Member

Christie web-resI have been involved with the Walden School as a student, faculty member, and administrator for many years and I have found that my experience in each of these roles continues to shape all aspects of my life. As a student, Walden let me discover my passion for music and develop a work ethic that set me on my artistic and career path as a composer and educator.

I would not currently be pursuing a PhD in composition if it were not for my time at Walden. I would not have taught music at a university for 5 years, traveled to Paris to study electronic music, or made most of the friends I have if Walden had not helped me realize my passion. It was the supportive community of inspiring people that led me that way. I try to create this environment in every musical, educational, and even personal part of my life.

What is particularly special about Walden is that it doesn’t just teach music. The people at Walden teach each other how to build and care for creative communities full of diverse perspectives. We just happen to do this through music. As a former student and current faculty member it is a privilege to be a part of this community, but it is not something that everyone gets to experience. The power of such a community is special and something worth creating in every part of our lives and sharing with the people around us.

There are plenty of musical programs and organizations that want to “make the world a better place.” This is, of course, a daunting challenge and something that sometimes feels intangible or even unreachable. My time at Walden, however, has shown me that, under the right circumstances and with the right people it’s not so out of reach. I have witnessed time and time again how Walden creates creative, vibrant, and supportive environments for all of its participants. These environments are new worlds and by creating these worlds we also learn how to care for them and share them with others.

This is the most important lesson I’ve learned from my time at Walden and it is a lesson that can be applied to any field. Walden students, faculty, staff, administrators, and supporters all create this community and are able to take this perspective into any other aspect of their lives. I think about it and live it every day when I meet with my students, when I design classes and curricula, when I collaborate with other artists, when I perform and compose, when I am in class, when I am with my friends and family, and when I think about what it means to be part of a community that is bigger than myself and bigger than music.

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