Parker Peterson and Jiwon Lee, Music Student Ambassadors
Excuse us while we brag on Parker. Parker excels both in classical music and in band. An honors student, he’s as skilled in writing essays as he is in playing etudes.
What is a “light bulb” moment you had in a class or a talk with a professor—when something from a project or class became clear.
When my saxophone professor and academic advisor, Dr. Adam Estes, heard me play a rhythmic etude in my lesson for the week, he had asked me how I felt about my performance of the etude. I analyzed and rated my performance, and I progressively found things that I could correct within what I had played. Then Dr. Estes asked me to play the etude again, and I had fixed the problems he spotted. He said, “I’m not teaching you to make you a better student, I’m teaching you to become your own teacher by giving you the gift of self-sufficiency within your practice as you prepare music.”
What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
My go-to meal in Oxford is chicken and dumplings from Ajax Diner.
What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related but outside the classroom thing you have done?
The most memorable thing I have done is go to Houston, Texas, with the Pride of The South back in 2018. We got to perform in the same stadium as the Super Bowl was held the year before… aka where Lady Gaga had her halftime show in 2017.
What are you binge watching on Netflix or another platform?
Why did you decide to study your major?
Music has always been a part of my life. From a young age, I always loved to sing and dance, and I would even tap out notes my grandmother’s piano as early as I could touch the keys. Eventually, I was in band and took piano lessons, and over time I fell in love with music.
Why study your major at the University of Mississippi?
From the beginning, the music program at the University of Mississippi felt like home to me. From staff to students, people have always welcomed and accepted me with open arms. As a musician and a person, I have never felt more comfortable in an environment where I am both challenged and loved.
Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered to take a new step in your studies?
I auditioned for the wind ensemble and had to work many hours in preparation for the audition. I ended up making the ensemble and am the only tenor saxophone in the band.
Any particular support or encouragement you have received from a professor?
Once, when I was worried about understanding the material in Music Theory 106, I went to my professor’s office and he helped me understand the material we were learning and reminded me of an extra credit assignment I could do to boost my grade.
Why did you decide to major in music?
I grew up with a musician mother, and a father who loved to sing with a choir. My mother used to be an opera singer, so I was around vocal and instrumental music as long as I remember. I officially started piano when I was 4, violin at 5, and flute at 6. I was an only child, so it’s cheesy, but music was my best friend, in a way. I picked up gayageum, a Korean zither-like instrument, a little after 8. When it came to decide on my major, it was quite simple, because music was the only thing that I had the strongest passion for! It’s very cool to analyze each measure by chords and structures and be able to see how composers had a purpose for everything they wrote.
Have professors at UM mentored you?
Professors at the music department, including the UM band director, David Willson, began reaching out to me when I was in high school. Professor Willson has been my mentor since then. While I was an undergraduate student, I went to his office almost every day asking for advice. My studio professors help me a lot, too! I get so frustrated with my practice sessions or my motivation and they are there to pick me right back up!
Has UM provided any leadership opportunities?
I had the opportunity to serve as one of the drum majors of UM marching band for two years. I was also the president of the Korean Student Association and Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity.
What are your post-graduation plans?
I plan to stay in school for a while to finish up my doctorate in music. But after I get my doctorate, I would love to get a job at a university, and teach college students flute or violin!
What’s your favorite meal in Oxford?
I love food, and I’m not picky at all, but if I had to pick one, I would have to pick Ajax for their amazing southern food!
What are you binge watching?
I have been loving – I mean LOVING – Fixer Upper. But I also like to watch Grey’s Anatomy when I have time. I wanted to be a medical doctor growing up, so medical shows are always on top of my list. I also like to binge on Korean dramas during breaks. I have to keep up with my Korean language skills!