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Jazz Piano Student Takes Talents International

June 11, 2019 | Jessica Comola

The Lamont School of Music boasts a long history of internationally-recognized alumni. Elliot Clement, a jazz pianist graduating in June, is soon to join this elite group who call DU their alma mater.

Clement, a music major and business administration minor, came to Lamont because, in his words, "It is a small, tight-knit community with an incredible faculty and remarkable facilities."

"Lamont gives students the opportunity to be big fish in a small pond, something that is absent in larger music schools," Clement explains.

This kind of attention and focus has allowed Clement's talents to flourish. In March of 2018, he was accepted as one of seven finalists in the American Jazz Pianist Competition in Melbourne, Florida.

"It was an incredible experience and I got to meet some of the best college-level players I have ever seen."

This year, Clement has been selected as one of two students from DU to participate in a conference with the International Association of Schools of Jazz.

"I was lucky enough to be one of the students picked for this year," Clement explains, "so I will be traveling to Zagreb, Croatia in July to perform with other selected college music students from around the world."

Elliot Clement

Clement's piano professor, Eric Gunnison, has been a major influence during Clement's time at DU. "He has exemplified what a true professional should look like in the music industry," and Clement credits Professor Gunnison with much of what he has learned both musically and non-musically over these last four years.

Establishing connections like this with mentors and industry professionals is something Clement is grateful for while at DU. "Networking early on in college can be so important and useful in every industry, though college students sometimes put this off."

Clement continues, "Some advice I got early on was that musicians are multifaceted, so why limit yourself to just music as the only way to make a living? I enjoy the fact that I don't have to limit myself to one area of study or one career option as a result of the connections I've explored."

For the past year, Clement has interned in the Human Resources department at Centura Health. He says he's thoroughly enjoyed the experience and finds that many of the associates are intrigued when they hear he's actually a music major.

"In January, I got to play piano at one of Centura's company events, which was a very fun and unique experience."

Clement's passion for music began close to home with classical piano lessons from his grandmother. In sixth grade his friends were in a jazz band so he decided to join in. He quickly found out "a huge part of jazz is about improvisation and expressing yourself, and not reading notes on a page."

"I think that is really unique in music and distinguishes jazz from other genres. Ever since then, I have always wanted to continue to pursue it."

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