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Senior scores a win in woodwinds

Local student wins national music competition, money for college

Posted: May 19, 2009 9:56 p.m.
Updated: May 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Marley Eder, a senior at Academy of The Canyons, won top honors at the Music Teachers National Association Senior Woodwind Competition in March.

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Marley Eder, 18, a senior at Academy of The Canyons, won top honors at the Music Teachers National Association Senior Woodwind Competition in March at the conference’s national competition in Atlanta, Ga.

“I was so thrilled to be there,” said Eder, whose solo flute performances impressed the competition’s panel of judges. “All of my competitors were amazing and it inspired me to just be in consideration with them.”

The Saugus resident has studied the flute since age 5.

Selected out of eight woodwind finalists from across the country, it was music to Eder’s ears when judges announced that he had won the competition.

Eder had auditioned for the competition twice before as an eligible high school student, but had never before made it past the first round of the audition process.

“It feels really good to have finally made it,” Eder said.

The audition process consists of three rounds, where at each level, competitors are asked to prepare and perform pieces of music that showcase their playing capabilities and performance skills.

High school-aged auditioning musicians are divided into woodwinds, strings, brass, percussion, composition, vocalist, piano and even two-piano categories.

“The selection process is very involved,” Eder said. “The soloists just keep getting more and more phenomenal. I just kept practicing and remembered to enjoy what I was doing more than anything else.”

The three-tiered competition began at the state level, where the winner of each state’s competition progresses to the divisional competition.

A competitor of the southwest division, Eder impressed judges at the division competition in Tucson, Arizona.

“It was getting pretty exciting,” said Eder, who had a month-long gap of practice time to hone in his skills before competing at the Nationals in Georgia.

“I am so lucky to be able to do something that I love and be recognized for it,” Eder said. “All I know is that a lot of practice and dedication got me this far, so I will keep on going.”

Eder was awarded a $2,000 cash prize, given by the association’s Foundation Fund. He plans to use this prize toward his upcoming college education. Eder has been accepted to Indiana University where he will continue to play the flute.

But Eder said that the real prizes were much greater than money — he was able to play for, learn from and socialize with world-class musical professionals, players and affiliates, as well as many music students he may work with someday.

Eder has played in concert halls across Southern California, in venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. “I really value my education and take it very seriously,” Eder said. “I am fortunate to have the opportunities that I have had.”

Eder’s hopes to realize his dreams of playing the flute professionally with an orchestra and in studio work, as well as someday obtaining a doctorate of music, in order to teach music students who are aspiring flutists.

“My music makes me happy,” Eder said. “I see music as a nonverbal way of doing something that is emotionally and spiritually fulfilling in every way.”

Eder encourages students, musical and otherwise, to believe in themselves and find the strength to take a risk once in a while.

“Learning is trying new things,” Eder said. “And I have definitely learned a lot so far.”

Eder studies with flute teachers Jim Walker and Anne Zentner, both world-renowned flutists living in Los Angeles, who train and encourage Eder as he establishes his own mark in the musical world.



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