Tutor Q&A: Chase Morrin

Posted 3 months ago

Currently studying a dual degree in computer science and music at Harvard and New England Conservatory (NEC), Chase Morrin has also studied at Berklee College of Music. We spoke with Chase where he continued to impress us with his achievements having composed and played a piano concerto with the Louisville Orchestra, released three albums, heavily involved himself in fundraising programs at Berklee College of Music and NEC and also completed computational neuroscience research at Harvard’s Cox Lab. Read our conversation with Chase below.

When you were in high school, did you ever think you would be studying a dual degree at Harvard/New England Conservatory (NEC)? If so, when did you start thinking of attending that university?

I first learned about the Harvard/New England Conservatory (NEC) dual degree program in my junior year. Since then, I was extremely interested due to my dual academic and artistic interests.

Was there a meaningful moment that made you feel you could attend a top ranked university?

I met with Steve Mackey, a well-known composer at Princeton, who told me I could study privately with him. I thought to myself, "Wow, this is possible".

How did you choose your Harvard/New England Conservatory (NEC)? What questions did you ask yourself?

I was mainly focused on environment - what kind of students and culture did I want to be around? Would there be opportunities for the things I am passionate about both in school and outside of school?

What was the application process to attend Harvard/NEC like?

I had to apply both to Harvard and NEC separately (common app and live auditions, respectively), then I had to be considered for the joint program.

What academic strengths or extracurricular activities do you feel helped you to secure an offer at your university?

I was involved in a range of different music competitions, concerts and also had entrepreneurial experience involving starting, directing and organizing musical groups. I would do all the marketing, promoting, logistical planning for dealing with clients, playing at corporate or public events, and organizing musicians.

Are you involved in any initiatives/clubs/organisations at your university?

While I was at Harvard, I was involved with the piano society and events associated with the Office for the Arts (OFA), including performances and commissions for fundraising and graduate galas, respectively. I also did computational neuroscience research at Harvard’s Cox Lab, the summer after my junior year. At NEC and Berklee, I am involved with outreach events/performances such as a trip to Panama this coming January for the Panama Jazz Festival (with the Berklee Global Jazz Institute).

Why do you think it’s important for other students to step outside their comfort zone and attend a top ranked university?

At the end of the day, so many universities are great, not only the top ranked ones. But especially at the top ranked schools, there is such a wide net of resources and diversity within the student body that you gain access to.

What do you love most about studying at your Harvard and NEC?

I've met people who are talented, who come from drastically different cultures, people with challenging ideologies, people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. These people have pushed me to think and feel differently about myself and the world at large. Sure, these people motivate me to work harder, but most importantly, they have taught me why to work. What is the importance of education? Why do we care about starting a company, supporting a family, studying for a test? When I am exposed to so many brilliant different-minded people, I am both humbled and inspired to make my own unique mark with my own unique assets.

How has studying at your university provided you with unique opportunities?

I have now studied at three universities, Berklee, Harvard and NEC, each with their own set of resources. Most of the opportunities I have been involved with come from collaborations with fellow students. An example for me is the duo project and ultimate album I made with my friend/roommate from freshman year.

What made you want to become a tutor/mentor with Crimson?

I know how crazy and confusing the application process can be. Being on the other side and having seen so many peers go through the same thing, I care about helping new students find the schools they will love and working with the system to make the strongest application possible.

What do you love most about tutoring/mentoring students?

I enjoy seeing people discover traits about themselves that they may have known, but did not know how to articulate. I also love getting to know students and seeing their personalities blossom on the page.

What advice do you have for current high school students considering their future study options?

Don't be swayed by reputation and what peers tell you. You are going to be growing into a new person over the course of four long years - you want to do this at the right place for YOU. It almost sounds cliché, but it’s so true!

What would you like to do once you finish university?

I will be juggling my many interests in the professional workplace.

What achievements are you most proud of?

Composing and playing a piano concerto with the Louisville Orchestra and releasing three very different albums.

Do you have any role models? If so how do they inspire you?

Vijay Iyer, Danilo Perez, Ben Street. They all have an acute sense of self and how to lead life in a creative and challenging way.

What do you do for fun?

Watch movies, attend concerts, eat good food with friends, write songs, card magic, soccer, website design, I could go on!

What impact would you like to leave on the world?

I hope to bring creativity and connectedness - the things we associate with flourishing communities, to people and inspire them to do the same positive things.

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