Lauren Parks, Composition

Student Bio

Learn all about Lauren's Musical Storybooks project, for which she was awarded an 2016 Entrepreneurship Grant from NEC's Entrepreneurial Musicianship (EM) Department!

What was your first impression of NEC? How has that changed since you’ve been here?

I arrived for my audition in between the big snow storms of 2015. I didn’t know the T wasn’t running and I was just waiting in Jordan Hall. There was absolutely no one there. When it was finally time for my audition, I went into the room to find it completely empty except for an iPad set up for Skype. That kind of situation could happen anywhere, but NEC really went out of their way to make the most of it and made me feel like I didn’t have to be super human. They really put me at ease.

What is your musical backstory? What got you to where you are today?

I’ve lived all over the place. When I was living in Louisiana, I went to a school that allowed me to get involved in the Suzuki program, so I started playing the cello in Kindergarten and started piano shortly after. I suffered a bunch of injuries; I broke my arm twice in the same spot over the course of a year and then tore ligaments in the same hand later on. I couldn’t deal with the idea of giving up music – it was my whole life - so I began composing to stay involved in music without getting reinjured.

What is the best thing about life as a composition major?

The NEC composing community. I used to feel composing was a solo act because even though my family was musical, they didn’t really understand what I was doing. Here, even if the other composers aren’t doing the same thing, everyone is really supportive of each other and feels like my musical family.

Who has been your favorite teacher? Why?

John Mallia – he wears a ton of teaching hats. He’s helped me learn to build compact mics, set up electronics in the concert halls, and he shows all of his students kindness and respect. He’s really helped and supported me in taking leaps in my career and pushed past the typical “that’s great, good job” to “that’s great, good job, you should really go take this opportunity”.

What makes NEC unique? Why did you choose here over other schools?

NEC is super devoted to the success of the students. There are millions of resources, like CPP and EM, to help students figure out where to go after graduation. I chose NEC because I compose in a somewhat unorthodox way, but NEC was really supportive and has always encouraged me to try my ideas!

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Music is always an ongoing journey. You won’t necessarily have it figured out by graduation. Some people think they’ll be set right out of graduation because they go to a conservatory. You have to understand that music is always evolving, and sometimes you need a lot of willpower to stay afloat. But take advantage of the opportunities that come to you and if they aren’t coming your way, seek them out.

Everyone is really supportive of each other and feels like my musical family.
Lauren Parks'17 MM Composition