Anna Mullinaux, senior music education major, is a well-rounded musician with technical capabilities in playing all standard band and orchestra instruments. On Saturday, Oct. 20 Mullinaux will share her talents with Boise State as she performs her senior recital on the piano. The Arbiter’s Tabitha Bower caught up with Mullinaux and her piano professor, Del Parkinson, Ph.D. Here is what they had to say about her time at Boise State.
Q&A with Anna Mullinaux
Q: When did you first become interested in music and was there any particular reason you picked up the piano?
A: My mother was always singing throughout my childhood. It was just implicit that you sang in church, sang with the radio and sang for the sake of singing. I learned to whistle by imitating my dad and so between singing and whistling I was always thinking musically. My family started homeschooling before I was old enough to join the band program and we had more resources available to learn piano from than anything else. I started receiving full lessons after I was 13, but before that I learned through John Thompson methods books and a keyboard that plugged into a computer program.
Q: Do you play other instruments?
A: As a music education major I technically know how to play all the standard band and orchestra instruments. That doesn’t mean that a sixth grader can’t play a few of those instruments better than myself. Upon going to college I wanted to join the marching band. Both my mom and older brother, who went to public high school, were band nerds and I wanted to have the same experience they did. Piano translates very well into mallet percussion and so I played in the front ensemble. That required me to join percussion ensemble, so I chose percussion as a minor instrument to complete my AA. After accompanying the choir on piano one semester, I joined as a member and sang amongst the altos. This year, in Blue Thunder, I switched from the front ensemble to trombone and I’m loving it. I also take oboe lessons, but that’s as an elective to supplement my woodwind tech class.
Q: What have you learned in your time at Boise? How have you grown as a musician?
A: I’ve really learned that you can build your opportunities if you have a plan and are willing to work for it. I have some very caring and cooperative teachers in the music department. Also, I’ve really grown part of a musical community in college. Coming from my piano soloist background, playing with a group is a different musical experience. And outside of just creating music, creating friendships in the music department is rewarding. We can geek out over musical things amongst each other that are hard to share outside that community.
Q: Why did you decide to make music your career and what advice would you give to music majors or people considering a music major?
A: Initially I was a music minor. I was looking at two other degree possibilities and biding my time in the music department. But that developed as soon as I found how deep and engaging a music degree was. The time and work it took required real investment, and soon I committed to the full program. Music education was the natural option for me as I was especially attracted to the concepts in music and I naturally like sharing. Many people do the reverse, starting as majors and then backing away when they realize how intense it is. I’d advise incoming music majors to meet with prospective instructors first and gauge how demanding the expectations are.
Q:Who have been your inspirations?
A: Instead of giving my inspirations, I’d rather thank my teachers here at Boise State and from my previous education. Particularly I’d like to thank my piano instructors Dr. Del Parkinson, Dr. Saundra Bishop, Dr. Svetlana Maddox, and Naimin Xu-Peppers for shaping my experience and skills as a pianist. Also I’d like to thank John Ungurait, Dr. John Baldwin, Professor Marcellus Brown, and Dr. David Rickels for actively helping me complete my degrees.
Q&A with Dr. Del Parkinson
Q: What Mullinaux’s strengths as a musician and as a person?
A: She is a born musician. She has tremendous musical instincts. Her intuition about interpretation is amazing. She is one of the finest students I have ever taught. She is diligent, dependable, consistent, and motivated. She achieves tremendous results.
Q: How has she grown as a musician since you have known her?
A: Since transferring to BSU, she has grown as a performer. Although she played well when she arrived, she has honed her performance skills. She communicates beautifully with an audience. She conveys her love of music with the listener.
Q: Have you learned anything in particular from working with her?
A: Teachers always learn from our students. Anna is a tremendous example of a person with tremendous passion about music. A strong work ethic has helped her to achieve incredible results.
Q: Is there one moment in teaching Anna or watching her perform that stands out in your mind?
A: I remember one of her first performances at BSU. Although she undoubtedly was a bit nervous, she kept it a secret. Her manner with the audience conveyed a sense of conviction and confidence.
Q: What makes her stand out from other musicians, what does she personally bring to the world of music.
A: Integrity is one of Anna’s strong suits. She always wishes to delve into the meaning of each piece. As a result, her playing always represents the true intent of the composer. It is sheer joy to listen to Anna perform.