Artist of the week: Harris Jordan

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Harris Jordan is a sophomore majoring in music performance, specifically performance on the French horn. He is also minoring in business so he can “eat and have a place to sleep.” Harris urges readers to major in what you’re passionate in, as long as you have a backup plan for when times get tough.

Kelsey Weivoda: Why did you first get involved in music?

Harris Jordan: I started music in 5th grade because we got to miss class for a little bit if you did band. I did band through middle school and high school, but my junior year of high school I was a varsity cross country runner and all I cared about was cross country, I didn’t really care much about band. Then I blew out my ankle; it was a season-ender. For a while I was angry and bitter, but then I started practicing my instrument more. It gave me a sense of purpose after I lost my ability to run. Music was a new identity for me — a way to express myself, a way to forget about all the garbage of surgery. My senior year was when I really started getting passionate about music. Before that, I just did band for fun, but senior year is when I started making a career out of it.

KW: Why the French horn?

HJ: In 5th grade we got to choose three instruments we wanted to try and I picked clarinet because my mom played it, percussion because it’s fun hitting things with a stick, and the French horn because it had all the loops on it. It just looks so cool! I wasn’t good at clarinet or percussion, but they said I had the perfect buzz for French horn, so here I am. Then once I hit high school, I started noticing that all the really cool music lines were on the French horn so I got all the solos and all the cool rhythms.

KW: What inspired you to pursue a career in music?

HJ: My cross country coach from high school. When I started getting real depressed about my situation, he said, “Find something else, something you’re better at. Find something to move on to.” I started talking with my band director more about what a career in music is like and he helped me find my horn lesson teacher who’s a horn player and a marathon runner. He can connect with me on the running side of things as well as the music side. So I had all my teachers and my coaches help point me in the right direction.

KW: What’s your favorite thing about music?

HJ: My favorite thing about music is probably getting all the really cool solos and having everyone look at me and be like whoa you sound so good! All the trumpets that sit in the row behind me get all the sound straight out of my bell. But also, a lot of the time, my situation makes me feel really depressed and down but I always end up coming back to music. I can sit down and play my horn and I don’t feel pain when I play. When I have the slow lyrical solos, I just pour my heart out into it because I’ve gone through so much and music has helped carry me through.

KW: What’s your favorite type of music to perform?

HJ: I like classical orchestral music. My favorite composer is probably a toss-up between Strauss and Mahler — they’re German composers that use the French horn like crazy.

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