Aspiring music educator found ‘family’ at Pacific

Aspiring music educator found ‘family’ at Pacific

Andrew Lu's introduction to music education started early in his life with his mother as his first piano teacher. Curious about other instruments, he became intrigued with the flute in the fifth grade. His love for music continued throughout his middle and high school years where he played in the band. Now a graduating senior at University of the Pacific, Lu is pursuing a degree in music education with an instrumental concentration.

Lu applied to Pacific's Conservatory of Music because of the school's reputation for excellence and two highly respected and well-known professors who led the program at the time - Ruth Brittin and Eric Hammer.

When he arrived on campus, he quickly learned that the conservatory is a big family.

"Everyone is so close with each other," Lu said. "It is not just that faculty and staff know your name. They know your plans and aspirations and when you are struggling. Even professors that I have never had a class with will greet me by name in passing. The feeling that you matter is what makes the Pacific education so special. It motivates you to do your best."

In addition to pursuing his music degree, Lu is also obtaining a single-subject teaching credential with hopes of becoming a high school music teacher after graduation. Despite his heavy academic load, he found time to compose and arrange original music, lead performances in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Pep Band and choirs, and organize a large scale music operation.

"With support from Dean Peter Witte and the Conservatory of Music, the Powell Scholars, and Pacific Arts and Lectures, I oversaw the design, organization and operation of a nine-day new music festival this spring, featuring collaborations between students, faculty, staff, alumni, Grammy award-winners and Guggenheim recipients."

Lu admits that organizing the festival and managing its many aspects were challenging, but he chooses to focus on the reward of being involved in such a successful event. While there have been many highlights during his time at Pacific, his most memorable moment was the 2019 performance with Pacific's Symphonic Wind Ensemble at Stanford University, which concluded with a performance at Carnegie Hall.

"Being from the Bay, I had lots of friends and family from the area attend our performance. It exemplified both the personal and the community aspects of music. Additionally, Frank Ticheli, the composer of our concert finale "Blue Shades," coached our band on his piece and conducted us in performance - an absolute thrill," Lu said.

Lu already has a jumpstart on his career. He has been teaching in music programs in the Lincoln and Stockton Unified School districts. Lu landed a job as music educator for the fall at Hart Middle School in Pleasanton, where he'll be working with bands, orchestras and choirs. He will be pursuing a master's degree in wind band conducting.

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