Published: Oct. 9, 2013

Faculty conversations: Gwendolyn Burgett

By: Annie McGraw Communications and Brand Strategy annie.mcgraw@cabs.msu.eduContact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709 Kristen.Parker@cabs.msu.edu

For Gwendolyn Burgett, music was always a way of life.

Starting with the violin and piano at age 2, she was destined to come into musical greatness. In middle school, she tried her hand at the flute. Since she had three instruments under her belt at that point, Burgett figured she might as well go ahead and play percussion. As soon as she started, percussion took over as her instrument of choice.

Burgett’s high school career was dedicated to music, as she went to an arts high school. She went on to major in music in college, and eventually got not one, but two, master’s degrees in music performance. Shortly after graduation, Burgett began teaching at MSU.

How does one teach percussion?

“Percussion is a little different than other instruments, because there are so many instruments to teach,” she said. “One of my goals here in the studio at MSU is to have everyone be as well- rounded of percussionists.”

The ever-changing nature of percussion is what Gwendolyn Burgett likes the most.

“There are so many different instruments we can play and so many things we can do,” she said. “I was never comfortable really focusing on one thing, because I love playing Marimba, but then I want to play snare drum. Or maybe I want to play with the symphony, or I want to play with just two people.”

Gwendolyn Burgett, associate professor of percussion, talks about how music has always been a way of life for her.

Gwendolyn Burgett, associate professor of percussion, talks about how music has always been a way of life for her.

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