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WATCH: Playing through the keys of life

Video by Micah Roberts

Some children dream of racing cars, riding a bike or receiving a new toy. As a 6-year-old, Jared Payne had a dream of his own; he wanted to play the piano.

“My older brothers started with piano lessons first,” said Jared Payne, a junior studying musical arts with a piano emphasis. “I saw them playing and really loved what they were doing and wanted to do it myself. The teacher actually only takes students when they’re 8, but I really wanted to get into it, and since my brothers were taking (it), my mom asked our teacher if she could start me a little earlier, and so I was actually able to start when I was 6, which was awesome.”

He began his piano lessons, and — once he gained enough experience — decided to practice on his own. Fifteen years from the time he first started his lessons, Payne still practices consistently.

“I practice playing the piano every day,” Payne said. “My goal is to practice every day for four hours. Sometimes it’s two or three, but I like to have four hours of strict practice each day.”

Payne’s first professional music experience began with Sandstone Productions for his town’s musicals. During his first year, he tried out for a role in Footloose and ended up filling in as a rehearsal pianist. This prepared him for his second year with the company when he became the music director for Beauty and Beast at 17-years-old.

As music director, he was in charge of the music and played for all 21 shows. He also made decisions on what instruments to use in one of the pieces when they couldn’t hire all of the musical parts.

“That was really my first experience with big music and production business rather than doing things with school,” Payne said. “That was my first experience with arranging because I took this score for 11 parts and I had to condense it down for a small orchestra, which was two keyboards, a flute and a trumpet.”

For the past two semesters, Payne has been preparing for his junior piano recital taking place on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Half of his performance will be memorized and the other half will be performed in collaboration with other musical artists.

The majority of his memorized portion comes from arrangements he used in a statewide competition he participated in during the month of November. As the first-place winner of the Idaho Music Teachers Association: Young Artist Piano Competition, Payne used this experience to help him this semester.

“I love to perform, but specifically I love to collaborate with other musicians,” Payne said.

Payne appreciates the experience he has gained from BYU-Idaho. He feels the support of his teachers has helped him to stretch his musical abilities.

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