CMA Student Interview – Danae Greenfield
What high school are you attending?
Newport High School.
How do you feel about graduating?
I am extremely excited to graduate. It has been really challenging over the past few years balancing my full academic course load, including APs and two music classes (orchestra and jazz band) along with my participation in the Bellevue College Jazz Band, MusicWorks NW Honors Jazz Ensemble, lessons and electives at CMA, and gigs - so I am definitely ready to go to college so I can focus on jazz piano performance and take classes that will help me progress musically.
What college are you planning on attending?
Have you chosen a specific program yet? I have not decided which college I will be attending yet, but at the moment I am leaning towards Berklee College of Music in Boston.
How long have you been playing music? Your musical background?
I started with classical piano in first grade at MusicWorks Northwest in Bellevue. Every so often, my instructor would assign a short jazz or blues tune for me to learn for my next lesson, and those are the ones that really inspired me and motivated me to practice more than usual. I came to enjoy jazz and blues more than classical because I could be creative. When I entered middle school in 6th grade, I decided to focus solely on jazz and have been playing that ever since.
How long have you been a student at CMA? Have you enjoyed it?
I have been studying with Michael Stegner since September of my sophomore year. I have enjoyed every minute of it!
How has your experience at CMA helped you to where you are at today?
I really owe so much of what I’ve learned about playing jazz to Michael. He has helped me progress incredibly as a musician and I can't thank him enough for that. Also, the recital opportunities that CMA provides for all of its students have been very beneficial – it has been great being able to perform in front of an audience of all ages three to four times each year at CMA. It has really helped me gain confidence in myself and my playing.
How have your parents helped you?
My parents have without a doubt been my biggest supporters. They have attended every single one of my piano performances since 1st grade, and they have been huge advocates for my pursuit of jazz piano performance in college. They’ve supported me when I expressed an interest in attending summer jazz camps (like at Eastern Washington University and Centrum, in Port Townsend). I wouldn't be the musician I am today if it wasn't for them!
Whats your favorite part about playing music?
My favorite part about playing music is being able to express myself. This probably sounds really cliché but it's true- I love how I can connect with an audience without words. When I play piano I get to make up my own rules and be creative.
Who are your current inspirations? What are you currently listening to?
After attending the Centrum Port Townsend Jazz Workshop in the summer of 2011, Benny Green helped me realize my passion for jazz piano. He is my inspiration.
What advice can you give to younger kids that want to get involved in music?
My advice for younger kids is to never give up. There were so many times throughout elementary school, middle school, and even high school where I questioned whether or not it was worth it to continue playing piano, whether it was because a song may have been really challenging, or I questioned my abilities, or because there were always musicians who I thought were better than me. But within the past few months I've come to realize that if I stop dwelling on other people's judgements of my playing or what I think of theirs, I can just focus on myself and be the best musician I can be.
What are your future goals and dreams?
I plan to pursue jazz piano performance in college and create beautiful music. Being a jazz pianist is my passion – it makes me happy and I hope my music will bring joy to others, too.