Although he had pretty open expectations, Noah talks about some discrepancies between his assumptions and the reality. "As a euphonium major, I am required to play in the wind ensemble", the musician opens up about the large ensemble time. "There are two weeks of rehearsal for the philharmonic, and two weeks of rehearsal for the wind ensemble. At the end of each two weeks, there is a concert. There are also cycles where I'm not assigned to any pieces, because there are six euphonium players. For me this is both good and bad, but I'm disappointed because this is one of my favorite things. Our repertoire is high-level, but it is also the repertoire they know we can throw together in two weeks."
An essential part of most music school application processes is the audition. According to Noah, the expectations for euphonium are a bit lighter, just because it is more niche in terms of the repertoire and the number of players, so he had to prepare a solo with contrasting sections, and two to three appropriate band orchestra excerpts. "It was the February break of my senior year, and I flew with my instrument", Noah laughs at the experience of flying with his instrument. "The audition was in a large classroom with Lance, and he asked, 'What fantastic pieces do I get to enjoy today?', which is something he does a lot in lessons." What Noah really liked about Lance in particular is that the teacher asked about his experience, why he was applying to CMU.
On top of that, Lance noticed something that changed Noah's performance ever since. "I had an air leak, specifically through my nose, and I made a gurgling sound", he remembers, imitating the sound. "Lance was the only studio teacher I auditioned for who caught that and asked about it." Afterward, Noah had a corrective surgery, but the experience with Lance showed him that it wasn't just an audition — it felt like a mock lesson, where Lance was really working with him.
Describing his experience at Carnegie Mellon, Noah talks about the diversity on campus, the opportunities, and the takeaways from it. "College is a big learning experience", he tells me. "A lot of these adult skills [are acquired] here: learning how to get yourself up in the morning, prepare meals, get to and from classes, and do your work." Socially, it can be just as big of a learning experience too. Noah notes that the past few months have been a little tough for him, but he looks at it from a positive perspective. "I have people here who love and support me", the musician states. "We are learning to be adults and mature together."
Discussing his plans for the future, Noah hopes to cover pop or any other genre of music. "I would love to take classical music, which I see as high art and inaccessible to some people, and make that more accessible to an everyday person", he states, comparing classical music to fine wine — you can't hand old-aged wine to someone and expect them to like it. "Grape juice (like pop music) is a great option for kids, but adults might still want some wine", the musician continues. "So maybe you mix it a bit, and everyone's happy."
"When someone hears the Star Wars Imperial March, they know what that is", Noah concludes. "I want to take classical works, mix them with other things, and get people exposed to classical music."