Hitting the right notes
Music has always been part of Andrew’s life. At the age of 6, he was playing the drums for his church worship team. After majoring in music at Northwestern, he founded SoundReserve, a music production company in Nashville, Tennessee. Andrew specializes in orchestral and pop music, and his music can be found on Spotify and iTunes. In addition to composing and producing music, he also plays keyboard for a classic rock band that performs onboard Holland America cruise ships.
Why did you decide on Northwestern?
I was looking for a college with top-notch professors and a community of people who made faith a central part of their lives. I found both when I visited Northwestern. The main reasons I chose Northwestern were the level of excellence the music professors expected of me and the people who made me feel welcome.
What is Northwestern’s music program like?
It definitely prepared me for what I’m doing now. The various bands and ensembles in which I participated gave me experience performing all different kinds of genres, enabling me to become more versatile as a pianist and keyboardist and helping me land a contract with a cruise line. And the private composition lessons Northwestern offered were key to my development as a composer. I’ve always had a love for music composition, but when I discovered how to write and record music on a digital audio workstation, it opened the door to a whole new world of music—one in which composition and audio production go hand-in-hand. I became interested not only in my own music, but also in the music of other artists.
What other preparation for your career did you receive?
I spent a semester in Nashville, Tennessee, where I attended the Contemporary Music Center offered through the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. There I learned more about the production side of music. The professors were all music professionals living in Nashville. They taught us essential skills, like how to record, edit and mix a song, along with what it takes to be a successful musician in the industry. I also learned from and made connections with Grammy-winning producers and composers—all while receiving college credit!
What else did you gain from Northwestern?
I had a wide variety of subjects to choose from both in and beyond my major. My professors truly cared about my success and spiritual journey, and I’m still connected with some of them years after graduating. Finally, Northwestern helped me make my Christian faith my own. Professors, resident directors and friends taught me how to love and respect others who are different from me. I learned to live in this world in a way that speaks truth and reflects God to everyone I encounter.
What’s the best thing about your job?
A typical day involves a couple of hours networking on either social media or through face-to-face conversations over coffee. I’m constantly working in my home recording studio on various projects for either local artists, film directors or myself. These projects all involve a digital audio workstation and musical composition/arrangement skills. I love serving others by creating and producing a product that makes an artist happy. The best moments of my job happen late at night when I get on a roll with a project. Nights like those—along with getting to cruise the world playing music and meeting people from different cultures—make me feel like I’m never working.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time at NWC?
During an annual dorm event, we turned the dorm lobby into a stage for residents of Hospers Hall to perform live music for all of campus. The closing act is always “Family Band.” Anyone living in Hospers is encouraged to join the band, regardless of whether he has any music talent. How the band sounded was never the concern. Oddly enough, the energy created on stage together while belting out our favorite songs gave me a sense of joy I have never experienced on any other stage.