Meet Matt Walter, one of this year’s participants in The Summer Jazz Workshop. He is 18 years old from Washington D.C., and is a rising senior at Gonzaga College High School.
His effortless playing certainly makes him stand out among his peers here, but upon speaking with him, I learned something even more fascinating: he’s our very own Paul McCartney. “I’m Paul McCartney in a Beatles cover band!” says Matt, who also owns a Hofner violin bass, like McCartney did. I was also able to learn about Matt’s history with the bass, jazz, and his musical surroundings.
INTRODUCTION TO BASS
Matt was first introduced to bass in the fifth grade through his school, where he started learning on the upright bass. “I switched to the electric bass because I wanted to be a rock star,” remarked Matt. He still plays the upright bass, but primarily plays the electric bass.
GETTING INTO JAZZ
“It was another category for me to explore, since I love music.” Matt has also participated in his school’s orchestra and band and also plays trombone, and jazz was another genre of music that he wanted to learn more about. His favorite artist is the bassist Jaco Pastorius, a long-time member of the band Weather Report.
THE WORKSHOP AND COMBOS
It’s Matt’s first time participating in the workshop, and it’s off to a wonderful start. “I really love the combo that I’m in because it’s a fusion combo, so it combines rock and jazz,” explained Matt. He has a very strong passion for both rock and jazz, so this combo will allow him to utilize both genres at once.
“No, absolutely not. None of my other family members have any musical talent,” says Matt. He is the only one in his family to play and appreciate music with the fervor that he does.
Carnegie Mellon University, Virginia Tech University, and Georgia Tech University are Matt’s current colleges that he would like to attend, where he plans to pursue a major in computer science. “I love music, but I don’t want to major in it. Music is fun for me, and I don’t want it to become something that I have to do because of a job. I want it to be something I want to do.”
The Workshop is very happy to have Matt as a part of this year’s session, and it will be exciting to see him grow and thrive here. Fellow musicians will notice and be influenced by his passion for the music, embodied in his favorite quote: “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”