Q&A with Scott Carter
Scott Carter is the current chair of the instrumental department in the School of Music, as well as the conducting director of symphonic and ensemble and concert band. He was elected to membership in the American Bandmasters Association. He earned his DMA from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music; and his MM and BM from East Carolina University. He is the former director of bands at Campbell University, Buies Creek, N.C., and was a doctoral conducting associate at the University of Cincinnati as conducting student of Eugene Corporon. At Cincinnati, Carter performed on two critically acclaimed compact-disc recordings, Made in America and Hearts Music. His extensive public school experience has included teaching instrumental music in Rocky Mount, N.C., where his marching band won the Marching Bands of America Grand National Championship three times.
What musicians inspire you?
I think first and foremost, the people I work with at the School of Music. Being a good musician is mostly hard work and a little bit of talent. Every day, I see the dedicated hard work that my colleagues do with our students. Both of my parents were musicians, so that's where I got my start, but I listen to a wide variety of music.
How did you become passionate about music?
While growing up, music was in our house all the time. By the time I was in the ninth grade, I was pretty sure that music was going to be my career path. Our high-school band director in Charlotte, Larry Wells, had just graduated from East Carolina and exposed us to a wide variety of things. I played in a jazz band, an orchestra, and was able to study with members of the Charlotte Symphony. So, I was always surrounded by good musicians, and all my best friends were musicians as well.
What do you enjoy about teaching music?
Probably the interaction with students more than anything. I enjoy identifying young, talented musicians when they are still in public school, then watching them come to ECU, improve and grow, and then go out and become successful in a music profession or whatever they decide to do. The growth of the individual student is very interesting to me and a joy to watch.
If we were to look at your iPod or ride with you in your car, what music would we hear?
A wide variety of things, I've been listening to a lot of Frank Zappa lately since we just worked on some of his pieces recently. Herbie Hancock's newer albums are wonderful because they are collaborative with musicians from all over the world. I'm also currently listening to Bobby McFerrin's newest album called VOCAbuLarieS, which is a giant vocal symphony that is absolutely brilliant. The other day I came across a DVD of Stevie Wonder live in London and I just had to get it. It was extremely well done and his music just cuts across so many American genres. To see him continue to perform his music with such love for his audience is very inspiring. You can get inspiration from a number of different places. I don't really believe in barriers between different styles of music.
Any music/songs people might be surprised about when they learn you listen to them?
I have Gustav Mahler's symphonies right next to Johnny Cash's last album before he passed away. I don't think you can put a definitive line between music that is performed right from the heart; it can be any style. That's what the great musicians will tell you.
This has been a production of East Carolina University. To hear more, please visit www.ecu.edu/treasuredtunes.