Owen will undertake a four-year Bachelors course in Classical Percussion Performance, starting in September of this year.
“American universities are notoriously expensive, and MSM is certainly no exception, and so for my family and I the scholarship was a necessity to be able to study there.”
The Manhattan School of Music is a prestigious music conservatory located in upper west Manhattan, New York, with just under 1000 students.
The school hosts an array of internationally-acclaimed programs in classical, jazz, musical theatre, and contemporary music, which attract students from all over the world.
Many of the teachers are among the top professionals in their disciplines worldwide, and perform in ensembles like the New York Philharmonic or the Metropolitan Opera.
Owen said he had a, “non-typical musical journey,” because percussion only became his primary instrument later in high school.
Nevertheless, he was involved in music from a young age, starting trumpet lessons at the age of seven and piano soon after.
Even as a young boy, Owen’s parents recall his fascination with music.
“When I was younger…I would beg my parents to put on some classical music so I could jump up on a coffee table and conduct along to it,” he said.
A particular favourite of Owen’s then was Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, which includes some cannons firing at one stage.
This prompted him to say he wanted to play the cannons when he grew up.
Perhaps he has come full circle in pursuing percussion.
Owen is keen to challenge himself at MSM, not only from the teachers there, “but through the fast-paced learning environment at the school and being immersed in the community of other passionate and driven students.”
He is also excited at the prospect of living in New York, a cultural hub for the arts.
“It’s a simultaneously exciting and slightly daunting feeling going in knowing there’s really no limit except for the work I’m able to put in.”
While he is unsure of where the future will take him, Owen hopes to finish the MSM four-year undergraduate degree and then perhaps complete a masters at another university.
When asked if he had any advice for other aspiring musicians at Wesley, Owen said “While it’s hard to say since everyone has different situations, if I had to think of something it would be: don’t be afraid to take up opportunities that are outside your set study path.”
“Of course everyone has to be careful to not be overloaded, but especially in music you shouldn’t stick only to the tracks laid out for you.”
In the musical world, he emphasises the benefit of volunteering for student run or community groups, writing for friends, performing student compositions, teaching, or just putting yourself out there for any programs or opportunities that might come along.
Owen said that auditioning for new opportunities, such as music schools or youth orchestras, can be fantastic experiences regardless of the result.
“What you do inside uni is just there to support the things you’re doing outside, which so often prove to be just as important for what direction you take later.”
Therefore, Owen is grateful for the extracurricular opportunities Wesley College has offered.
He appreciates being able to return from a busy day at university and relax with friends.
The collaborative opportunities for and with other students in Palladian have also been enriching for Owen.
“It was a fun chance to build that camaraderie in a relaxed environment with others who you may not have gotten to know otherwise.”