Student Spotlight: Fred Larsen

Photo courtesy Jade Simpson

What instruments do you play? Which is/are your favorite?

I play primarily trombone. Recently I have done Jazz, and like modern-style stuff, and I have gotten away from classical. So I auditioned at Berklee for Jazz performance, and that’s what I got into.

What do you like about performing?

So when you have a show and you’re the main person at the show as opposed to being part of a large group, I’ve started to really like being the person who talks to the audience and introduces stuff and kinda like cracks jokes, if it’s appropriate at the time, and I have grown to really enjoy that.

What was the first time you were the main person performing?

Starting at the end of last year, I have had a band with a few people around the area and we play our own shows and that’s kind of been a new experience for me. 

What’s it like playing in a band versus playing in a jazz ensemble?

It is definitely something to get used to, to be the people who are in charge of the stage. I don’t know you feel like more of a connection to the audience because you are choosing the songs to play, and setting up the tunes and the order and stuff. You get to see if it worked with your audience like you get to see if the feelings you were trying to project happen. It’s mainly just like being in control of everything.

Tell me about Harvard and Berklee.

Harvard has this really cool program with Berklee College of Music where you can be dually enrolled at both Harvard and Berklee. So you study whatever you want at Harvard along with a performance degree at Berklee. For as long as I have known about that program I have thought that that was always what I wanted to do, so I applied restrictive early action to Harvard and I got into that, that was really surprising, then literally two days later I got admitted to Berklee.

What do you think is going to be the most challenging part of this program?

I think that the type of students who go to Harvard is a very certain type of person, like a very forward type of person who tries really hard. I think being at school among only those people will be a big shock.

What are you most looking forward to?

I know at Harvard there’s a lot of students from crazy backgrounds, people who like family members in politics, or relatives of famous people. I think being among those people will be really cool.

What is something you gain from music or have learned?

I have spent a lot of time learning from Wynton Marsalis and the other people at Lincoln Center and they love to talk about how American music, such as jazz, is representative of American History and American culture. Especially with all the different cultures present in America and the style of music such as Jazz is unique to America and I think that’s really cool how it ties into our history and our culture.

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Jade Simpson is one of the co-Editors in Chief, a third year Newspaper student, and a senior at Carrboro High School. On the weekends, Jade rides horses and eats skittles (but only the orange and yellow ones). She has often been described as loud, outgoing, and fun.
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