Taylor Pfaff is a junior Music Education student at Morehead State University. At Morehead she is currently involved in Symphonic Winds, Concert Choir, Percussion Ensemble, and Steel Band, and she was the first female to make the snare line in the Marching Band. She is also the President of the Morehead State Percussion Club and Secretary of the state chapter of the National Association for Music Education. Taylor is a sound technician for Baird Music Hall and a Resident Advisor in housing. After graduation, Taylor plans to teach elementary music and later earn a master’s degree.
R!S: How do you find new pieces that you are interested in playing? What factors do you consider when seeking out and/or choosing new solo or chamber repertoire?
Taylor Pfaff: I find new pieces by researching on sites such as YouTube, Tapspace, C. Alan Publications, and Steve Weiss Music. I consider my skill level and ability when seeking out solos and repertoire and, in simple terms, what sounds interesting to me.
R!S: What changes about the way you play a piece as you “live” with it for a while? Do you typically perform a piece once or multiple times?
TP: I find that I am able to zoom in and out of the piece by focusing in on details as well as the overall purpose of the piece I am wanting to portray to the audience. As a college student, I typically only get to perform a piece once, and then I move on to learning more repertoire.
R!S: In what ways is your instructor involved in your repertoire selection?
TP: My instructors give great advice on pieces they think would help my growth as a percussionist.
R!S: Do you finish every piece that you start to learn? If not, why not? If a piece seems like a poor fit or you struggle unusually with a piece, how do you proceed? Do you “bail” on the selection, or what changes do you make to allow yourself to complete it?
TP: So far in my career, I finish learning every piece. Typically, every piece given is something I must complete for my degree, therefore I have not had an experience where I chose to not finish a piece. Typically, if a piece isn’t going well, I practice the hard section and come up with a plan to complete it, and the easy sections will be the last to learn.
R!S: What is one particularly favorite piece of repertoire you’ve performed and why?
TP: I have two favorite pieces I have performed so far. The first is an ensemble piece titled “Electro Phantasm” by Caleb Pickering. I love how each part blends with the others and how the piece builds off of each section. One solo I like that I’ve played is Ney Rosauro’s “Marimba Concerto No. 1.” I worked very hard on this piece to compete in a competition, enjoyed learning it and perfecting it, and I was able to win the competition.