|Flourish Online Magazine||Fall 2012|
David Chapman: Carrying on the tradition
By Shira Kerce
David Chapman and his family
Photo courtesy of David Chapman
For David Chapman (music performance, 2001), playing the piano has been an important part of his life ever since his first lesson in November of 1991, when he was 12 years old. Exactly ten years later, in November of 2001, Chapman performed his senior recital at Kennesaw State University, completing a major requirement toward receiving his first music degree.
Since then, Chapman has continued his music education, receiving a Master of Arts in Music from the University of Georgia in 2006 and currently working toward a Ph.D. in Musicology from Washington University in St. Louis.
Chapman admits that the decision to pursue additional music degrees has not always been an easy one. “The most difficult part of continuing a music education,” he says, “has been trying to remain confident about its value in our society,” when there seems to be a constant feeling of “doom” for the arts and the humanities. Nevertheless, Chapman explains, “I decided to pursue a music education because I felt it was my duty and my privilege to carry on a tradition passed to me by my parents and teachers.”
This rich tradition of love and respect for music was one that Chapman cultivated while a student in the KSU School of Music. Chapman recalls many music professors who challenged him and gave him a “taste of the kind of rigor that would be expected on the graduate level.” Beyond course work, though, Chapman also found inspiration from his professors in a broader sense. “They were very helpful in casting a vision for what might lay beyond college, beyond the campus and especially beyond the county and region,” he explains. He recalls one important and memorable lesson when a professor pointed out the window and told the class that there was not one thing out there they should be afraid of.
During his time at KSU, Chapman had the opportunity to continue studying with one of his first piano teachers as a child: Joseph Meeks, professor of music and dean of the College of the Arts. “Dean Meeks was tough and demanding, yet caring, humane and attentive,” Chapman recalls. “He remains one of the most honored and beloved figures in my life, and the fear of disappointing him animates me even today.”
“David Chapman is the consummate student,” says Joseph Meeks. “He epitomizes the student scholar/artist profile. He is very bright, talented, dedicated, hardworking, collaborative, engaged…and the list continues. David always brought an enthusiasm for learning to the classroom and studio. He always will be remembered as one of the highlights of my teaching career.”
As Chapman looks forward to his own music career and begins searching for a university faculty position of his own, his love for music and desire to share that love with others continues to motivate him. “I love that music unites and divides people. I love that it requires dedication and discipline—that it is not easy. I love that people love music and that, for this reason, it can be something shared with or given to others.”