Updated: Aug 22
We catch up with WRCO's very own Brayden Lee who in early fall of 2021, will be off to study at Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts. He plans to major in Film Scoring and we are very excited for him on this big adventure!
As a hugely talented 18 year old, Brayden is an accomplished musician playing piano, saxophone and drums . He joined the White Rock City Orchestra at the start of the fall season in September of 2017. Although he'd experienced playing in School Band, this was his first experience in the world of full orchestral playing and he'd always had a passion for the 'big picture' and large scale music. The idea of studying film scoring at college arrived in the fall of 2018 although at that time Berklee was just his 'dream university'. It was not until early 2020 though that he decided to pursue his career and the dream became a reality. Auditioning for any major college is not for the faint hearted and Brayden shares with us some of his observations, advice, passions, ambitions and tips. Its not all been plain sailing though, aged 5 Braydens debut as a musician was to learn piano:
" I remember that I did not like going to the piano lessons or practicing! This experience made me stop learning music for about 6 years until I took up the drums in grade 5. This was a life changing choice as it naturally led me to playing saxophone for school band and later got me interested in playing piano again.
I got into arranging film music because I just love taking my favourite song or soundtrack and rearranging them so that I can play with the instruments that are available to me , or so that I can play with my friends or with my siblings. Whenever I listen to the film soundtracks or some songs, I just automatically imagine “I want to write something like this” or “what if I did this” sort of thoughts. Even though it is very difficult and takes a lot of time I just love it and this is the exact reason and momentum that pushed my thoughts to study Film Scoring at Berklee.
Other than school band, I was never part of an actual orchestra or band . WRCO was my first orchestral experience . During my time in WRCO, I was able to connect with many different musicians and was able to share the music and ideas with so many. I found this to be the most remarkable part of the WRCO . Getting to know different people and different genres of music is the most important part of being or growing as a musician, and WRCO allows those to happen. I cant recommend joining an orchestra enough, its the ideal place to learn muscicianship. You have to think on your feet, follow what is going on, listen and count, respond to what is muscially going on around you and how you contribute to an overall sound, all so very different to being 'one to one' with a music teacher! White Rock City Orchestra has been a really nurturing and freindly place to make some wonderful music.
My biggest musical influence is without a doubt Frederic Chopin. The very first encounter with his music was just remarkable! I saw the 2015 Chopin International Piano Competition which most definitely influenced my decision to become a professional musician. But I am also inspired Claude Debussy and Bill Evans because of their extensive use of chord and harmonies in their music. When I create music, I like using very complex chords to make them beautiful but also technical music that is as romantic as Chopin."
We asked Brayden if he had any tips or advice for those thinking of studying music and what were the steps to success:
"Although I am aiming to major in Film Scoring at Berklee, I'm also planning on taking Music Business as a double major if I can as I am also really interested in business and economics. For those who might wish to take a similar path, from experience, I would like to tell them to look closely into the requirements for the universities since they can all require different materials. More than anything, it is important to show the panel how much you enjoy playing music. If you play super well but it feels like a robot without its joy , I think that will not take you to the place you want to be at.
I would say dream big, always think of the best possible outcome, but work hard to prepare so as to avoid the worst possible outcome or consequences. My family have supported me throughout my journey which has really meant a lot . My parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins all supported me even though preparing for music university was known to be very difficult and needed a lot of time. Without them, I do not think I would have been who I am right now."
We asked our Music Director, Paula DeWit about her reflections of Brayden and she had this to offer:
“One of the most wonderful things about Brayden is his versatility and willingness to learn and tackle any musical challenges thrown in his direction! I recall fondly that he performed the beautiful solo passages in Bizet's L'Arlésienne Suite. I was impressed with his tone and overall musicianship. In contrast he has dialled in completely as a percussionist tackling the complex rhythms of Danzón no 2 by Márquez. He is a very talented young musician and we wish him every success in his exciting career ahead!”