Abbey Prewitt’s life revolves around music. To her, it is a lifestyle. It’s been this way for her since she was 12-years-old.
Prewitt, a junior music education major at Missouri Southern, is part of many musical groups on campus, including the wind ensemble, the concert band and the orchestra.
Her interest in music began when she was assigned the clarinet in middle school. Although starting to play was difficult, she persisted because she loved the challenge.
She also loved the range of the instrument.
“Clarinet can be played with a warm, ethereal sound. It can also be played with an aggressive, reedy tone,” she said. “The stylistic versatility of the clarinet is what I love most about it.”
There are many things Prewitt loves about music, but the two things she appreciates the most are the outlet for self-expression and the sense of community that comes from it.
“Our music department has a very positive sense of uplifting community,” she said. “We are constantly learning new music, with this we can interpret certain things in a way that only a certain individual can.
“Music has an impressive ability to unify people, especially when playing in small or large ensembles. We are family; we are brought together through our struggles, studies, and performances.”
Her experience at Southern began taking clarinet private lessons from Dr. Cheryl Cotter. Through those lessons, Prewitt realized she could take music to another level.
“I can’t imagine my life without [music],” she said. “I wanted to understand it more; to explore everything that music has to offer. I wanted to make it the focus of my everyday life and career.”
As a music major, she performs with the wind ensemble, the concert band, and the orchestra.
Performing is an outlet for Prewitt to express herself, allowing her a chance to share a piece of her heart and work with others.
She loves being immersed in the music, knowing each performance is completely unique.
“I always hope that I can provide at least someone something to take away from every performance,” she said.
At first, she found performing difficult. Prewitt experienced stage fright for a while, and still does occasionally, even 10 years playing clarinet.
“The secret in dealing with stage fright is to not give it any power over you,” she said. “Before going on stage, especially if I am playing a difficult piece, I like to remember how much time and energy that I put into practicing that music.
“I owe it to myself for a good performance. You have to relax and focus on things higher than yourself and see the bigger picture when you are dealing with stage fright.”
Music has always been part of Prewitt’s life. Her parents allowed her to pursue multiple creative outlets which included music, drawing and painting.
“We always got together and sang,” she said. “We even made a CD of us singing hymns as a family for my grandmother. I consider myself extremely lucky because my family has always been so supportive of my musical career.”
Her favorite artistic medium is painting.
“I have always adored classical, baroque, and surrealistic art” she said. “I love the way classical and baroque art combine emotion, fluidity, and color so that you can feel whatever the artist intended you to feel with intensity. The unusual and sometimes disturbing tendencies of surrealist art have fascinated and inspired me.
“When I paint, I like to combine all of these styles by juxtaposing something delicate and light with a slightly darker underlying theme, therefore merging styles of low and high art.”
Prewitt also has some travel experience. In 2018, she went on Southern’s Tour of Composers. During her first time out of the country, she visited Rome, Paris, Germany, Prague, Venice, and Pisa.
One of her favorite experience from the journey was being able to see La Bohème at the opera house in Rome, Italy.
“It was one of the best live performances I have ever seen,” she said.
During the trip, she visited the birthplace of Mozart in Salzburg, Austria, the supposed grave and church of Bach in Leipzig, Germany, and Vienna, Austria, the focal point of Beethoven.
“It makes such a big difference now when playing music by these composers because we were able to sort of get a real life glimpse into what their lives were like,” she said.
Prewitt has learned a lot through music and understands the technical and emotional aspects behind it. She tries to practice daily, and has learned about her own work ethic.
“Playing music over the years has taught me to trust myself and to be more independent,” she said. “I have learned that I am more capable and creative than I could have ever imagined.”