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A young man and his horn

On February 25 (this Saturday) 2-3 p.m. catch a glimpse into the work of musician Zak Kaszynski

By Allen Knappenberger
On February 21, 2012


Annett Recital Hall makes its home in UW-La Crosse's Center for the Arts. 

This room has hosted concerts, performances, and musical happenings that have enriched the lives of many. 

I sat down with Zak this past Sunday and got an interview with his brain.


Q: For your recital you have decided to take on some gnarly pieces, how did you choose?

A: There's a lot of thought that went into that from a couple different angles.  First, I picked out out pieces that I love to play, they had to be pieces that I enjoy so much that I wouldn't pull out my hair after three months of working on them. Second, I needed pieces that I would be able to play all of, it's a really physical activity and my face gets incredibly tired. 


Q: How long have you been playing the trumpet?

A: 13 years at this point. I started in 5th grade and have been playing ever since.


Q: Are senior recitals the most common way to show your growth as a musician and why is it necessary that you have one?

A: It's a degree requirement, but I think there's a lot more to it than that. I invited a bunch of my relatives to the show, they listened to me when I was a little kid fracking out notes and now I feel I want them to hear this. When you prepare with an ensemble you can fit in and not work at making sure every note is good, you focus on how to blend within the ensemble. Here you are forced to tackle every issue of your instrument and the music. It's just you and a piano player up there. The acoustics are so good that the audience can hear every note you play. 


Q: On February 25, how will your day proceed?

A: In the grand scheme of things I have to wake up early that day and come in and warm-up and relax, I want a casual atmosphere. I want the day to be a celebration for the audience. This is going to be one of those moments of my life that I will remember until my last day. 


Q: What do you plan on doing with your degree?

A: I can do whatever I want. I'm a music major with a theory emphasis. I'm looking forward to writing music, composing music, performing music, and recording music. All things music I am down to do. I enjoy writing. I have an English minor and it's been a ton of fun. I am doing an independent research project related to music criticism of classical performances. I feel that I could do criticism. I feel that something needs to be said about this stuff. No one is ever asked about the importance that music plays in our lives. I would love to be able to write about music.


Q: What advice can you give to aspiring musicians?

A: I don't want people to be scared by music. I really believe that some people are scared by music. Music enriches your life. I feel many people are scared to put out something that they call their own. I am playing some cover songs for my recital, but I have to play them as, Zak Kaszynski. People need to be playing these pieces as themselves. When the audience claps at the end, they are clapping for their music, performance, and who that person is. That spine tingling moment during a performance is where you, an audience member establishes a connection with the performer. I think the world needs more connections between people, we would genuinely be more aware of people's feelings. My advice would be for people to try it out, put yourself into something so deeply that you can't help but reveal yourself. 

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