For Michelle Brannon, her start at the University of Colorado’s School of Music has been all about making connections in the tight-knit music community that she has found in Boulder. Michelle Brannon is in her first year studying as a Flute Performance major with a minor in Computer Science. She studies under Christina Jennings in a flute studio that connects students of various degree levels. She is very appreciative of the other musicians in her studio, who welcomed her into Boulder and are able to advise her through the first year of study.
CU Boulder has a new music building with 24/7 access for the music students. Michelle notes that she enjoys the practice rooms with temperature control and the CAML lab, a music technology lab where she is able to learn more through a music technology class that she is taking and explore new sounds and ideas on her own time.
Michelle lives in a dorm on campus that houses many of the first year music students. With a whole floor of musicians, she has had the opportunity to meet other musicians and hear their experiences. They perform duets with each other just for fun, and are able to make connections that will mutually benefit their work in the future.
Lately, Michelle’s favorite composer for the flute is Herman Beeftink, who has written lots of flute repertoire for combinations like flute, piccolo, and alto flute, or flute with drums. She has been studying and enjoying much of his work this year. Outside of classical music, she enjoys Cody Fry, Queen, The Oh Hellos, and Updog. She notes, “I don’t want to put myself in a box,” when it comes to the variety of music that she listens to.
In her last year of CMPI and study at the Merit School of Music, Michelle took Music Theory classes that she knows have benefited her time at CU greatly already! She would advise anyone interested in music to start early with Music Theory to have a step up when you arrive at music school. Her Music Theory and Aural Skills classes are difficult, and she is grateful for the step ahead in study that she gained in her last year, but wishes she would have started sooner.
Michelle organizes using her Google calendar and the various notifications that she has on her phone. Her teacher gives her weekly assignments through her lessons and she emphasizes the importance of having practice time planned throughout the week so that it is never lacking. Her organization also contributes to her goals at the moment. Michelle is working towards a “big, velvety sound” on the flute, saying that she wants the audience to hear, “I am Michelle, and this is my sound!” when she performs. She also prioritizes setting time aside to get to know people better, saying that it is important to her to make those life-long connections. “I feel like everyone has their own stories and backgrounds and things that interest them, and I want to know about it.”
Her advice for CMPI seniors is to take advantage of the summer before you start school. She recommends speaking to your future teacher to get an idea of what they might want you to practice over the summer. Michelle also shares that it will be important to get to know the people in your studio, as they will be helpful when you get to campus.
Michelle’s intentionality is rooted in connection and community, both in her approach to study of her instrument, and growth in her new environment. Her time at CU Boulder will be centered around these goals, and she is ever grateful for the ways in which CMPI and Merit prepared her for her time in Boulder!
Michelle Brannon, top, photo by CMPI Parent Mike Molina