A tough role to fill: full-time student, classical guitarist and now musical composer

Photo Credit/Rachel Nuner
Photo Credit/Rachel Nuner

Staff Writer

Throughout last semester, pulling all-nighters was nothing out of the ordinary for one IU South Bend music student.

Andy Sellers, a senior studying music composition, has been busy composing a ten-minute symphonic piece that will be performed by the IUSB Philharmonic on April 26 in the Campus Auditorium. His symphonic piece, “Adullum,” was the winner of the 2016 IUSB Symphonic Composition Competition.

While Sellers’ focus is on classical guitar, his musicianship doesn’t stop there.

“I’ve been pretty ‘Neapolitan’ when it comes to instruments,” said Sellers. “I guess that’s probably a big reason that I became a composition major.”

He found his musical niche early on when he first picked up the clarinet in fifth grade. From that moment forward, Sellers’ musical abilities became increasingly eclectic. He picked up several other instruments including guitar, bass guitar, drums, tuba, French horn and trumpet.

According to Sellers, he never intended to play a brass instrument until his high school marching band was in need of brass players.

Sellers began composing his piece, “Adullum,” this past summer and worked diligently until completion in the beginning of winter.

“I pulled plenty of all-nighters to get it finished and I’m really happy with the way it turned out,” said Sellers. “Writing the piece pushed me to a whole different level of my composing.”

Sellers compared composing a piece of music to writing an academic paper or drawing a picture.

“It’s crazy how much composing is like writing a paper,” said Sellers. “If I write a draft then change something, it could then completely affect other parts of the piece. I started by drawing some sketches. I know it sounds crazy, but it sometimes helps to draw a picture of what you want your music to sound like.”

Throughout his journey at IUSB, Sellers has been provided tools and support from the music department as a whole.

“Of course it’s a smaller [music] department than other larger campuses, but it’s great because the professors know you on a first name basis,” said Sellers. “They’re very personally vested in the success of the students.”

Although fond of all his professors, Sellers said there is one in particular who has served as a mentor to him — Dr. Jorge Muñiz.

“That man cares so much about his students and is totally the embodiment of what a college professor should be,” said Sellers.

This composing experience and exposure to a variety of instruments has provided opportunities for Sellers to grow as a human and furthermore grow his resume. For example, he now plays bass guitar for the IUSB Gospel Choir and played trumpet for the IUSB Jazz Band throughout his junior year.

Although a senior, Sellers will be staying an additional year at IUSB to pursue a double major in business.

By The Preface at IUSB

IU South Bend's Official Student Newspaper

Leave a Reply