"Meet Our Students": Nikki Pet (CC '20)

What year are you at Columbia?

I’m a sophomore.

What are/will you be majoring in?

Computer Science.

How long have you been a participant of the MPP?

This is my 2nd year in MPP.

How have you benefited from MPP programs and performance opportunities?

My favorite thing about MPP is the structure it provides. It can be incredibly difficult to organize an independent group, with the problem of finding a coach, paying for coachings, organizing performance venues and times, etc. MPP provides coaches, performance venues, and more that allow us as musicians to just worry about showing up and playing. 

Any tips on how a student might be able to fully take advantage of all the musical offerings at Columbia?

There are so many diverse music groups on campus, the only thing you have to worry about is overloading yourself by trying to do everything. One of my favorite parts about joining various groups is that you get to meet a lot of people in the community, which helps a lot if you ever want to form your own ensemble/club.

How do you balance the busy academic schedule with practice time? Any tips?

It’s so hard! I try to squeeze in practicing whenever possible, whether it’s between classes (easier when you live on campus), or late at night. The main thing is just trying for consistent practice, even if it’s only 15-20 minutes somedays.

What was the most memorable musical experience in your life?

The two summers I spent in the last few years of high school at Greenwood Music Camp have been foundational in my development as a musician. I realized there how amazing chamber music is, and re-discovered the rush and adrenaline of performance. The type of music I was able to make at Greenwood is what I consider a golden standard of balancing personal happiness and high-quality performance. My experience there has been one of the biggest motivators for me to continue music through college and possibly as a career. 

What does making music mean to you?

Music is one of the defining factors of my identity. So much of what I do revolves around music, from how I spend my personal time to my social circles. Though being a musician can be frustrating, especially in the face of failure or stagnation, I don’t know what my life would be like without music, nor do I want to find out.

Anything else you would like to share with the readers? (fav food, fav composer/musician, music recommendation, fav quote, etc.)

One of my pet peeves is the idea of guilty pleasures, especially in music. In the music world, people look down on certain genres as “trashy” and unworthy of any merit. It doesn’t matter how “well-written” or “sophisticated" a piece of music is. As long as it brings enjoyment to the listener, be proud about finding something you like! Recently, I’ve gotten really into a Youtuber named Big Marvel, who makes pop covers with a rubber chicken and calculators.