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Joseph Natale ('12)

Bachelor of Music, Jazz Studies (Saxophone)

Why I Chose Hartt

When I first started applying to schools, one of my main concerns was location. Hartford is a great place to be when trying to pursue music. Not only does Hartford have a very rich musical and cultural history, but it sits right between two meccas of Jazz music, New York City and Boston. That being said, there was always opportunities to see and play with some incredible musicians.

I was not just concerned about where I was going to end up, but who I would be surrounded by for the next four years. The Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz is very special since every professor in the department is directly connected to Jackie McLean, who is one of the masters of this music. I have had the privilege to study with incredibly high-quality professors who are both incredible teachers and accomplished musicians. They continue to work with musicians that are on the vanguard of the jazz idiom. Being around professors such as Rene McLean, Steve Davis, Nat Reeves and Kris Allen, among others, has allowed me to meet several of my heroes that are innovators of this music.

But once I got to campus, I realized that the truly defining factor of The Hartt School is the sense of community. The department is small, so everyone is like a close-knit family. It was very easy to find opportunities both musically and academically through my peers and professors. Since Hartt is also a part of the University of Hartford, I was able to have the best of both worlds by having a rigorous conservatory curriculum along with all of the opportunities a typical university has to offer. I got to put what I learned in class to the test through The Gigline, which is a great resource to get gigs around campus and in the Greater Hartford Area.

I know that I made the right choice when I first got here and started my classes. Studying with the masters of this music has helped me focus in on what I want out of playing music and has given me insight for what needs to be done to be successful.

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