BY: JERRY CASAREZ
It’s another weeknight at Cal State Long Beach, but the sounds of a saxophone can be heard near the Carpenter Performing Arts Center. A closer look uncovers a different world for most students unfamiliar with the music department. Individual rooms are available for music students to practice their craft and in most cases, the rooms resemble more of a jam session between the different musicians instead of individual practice. It is here where Anibal Seminario can be found practicing his saxophone solo as he awaits the arrival of his friends. He, along with three other musicians, make up a jazz quartet that performs on campus.
While Seminario has a quiet demeanor, the talk of music quickly changes that as he opens up about not only his passion but his choice of study. Seminario is a jazz studies major who is now working on his master’s degree with plans of teaching and performing once he’s done with his education.
“I want to have a good music school,” Seminario said. “Something that prepares you for college. My vision is to have something practical for people where they can learn what they want and go.”
He speaks from experience as he too once was a young boy in his native country Peru, where he had dreams of higher learning. It was music that brought him to the U.S. where he would begin his studies at El Camino College and transfer to CSULB. He earned his bachelor’s degree in spring of 2013.
It was the musical environment at school that brought the quartet together which includes percussionist Tyler Hunt, guitarist Dominic Furiani and Marc Encabo on bass.
Like his friend, Hunt has plans to perform while giving back and teaching the next generation. “I want to perform,” Hunt said. “I want to teach. I want to compose. Hopefully maybe travel with it too. If I can involve myself with quality people and projects. And even get paid some money along the way.”
Hunt explains that as a percussionist he was able to study different types of music ranging from all countries like Cuba, Brazil and Africa. This has led to him traveling the world to perform. Music is the vehicle that has not only brought them together but exposed them to distant places.
“Being able to study all those different types of music allowed me to travel to those places and participate in the music right away because I already had an understanding of how it worked,” Hunt said.
After graduating from Humboldt State University with a bachelor’s degree in music, Hunt found himself at CSULB working toward his own master’s degree.
What makes them different as music majors is while regular students may practice music in between classes, these four get to make music as a part of their academic routine.
They all agree that their lives have changed for the better thanks to music and it has brought them together from four different backgrounds. For Encabo, an undergrad who comes from San Diego, the experience has really given him chances that a traditional job wouldn’t.
“For me, music has just allowed me an access to places and culture that a regular desk job wouldn’t have given me,” Encabo said. “You get to meet every type of person because in music it’s so vast. Everyone listens to music and not just one type of person plays music.”
Guitarist Dominic Furiani also has dreams of teaching music. So much so that he now works toward his teaching credential.
“I want to get into teaching at the high school level and eventually work my way up to the college level,” Furiani said.
A native of San Dimas, he always knew teaching was what he wanted to do but it wasn’t always music. His interest used to be math, but playing the guitar in bands during his high school years led him down a musical path.
Having always liked music this made him change majors and he never looked back. He recalls being 16 years old and being a part of a band. Doing random events and gigs was something he enjoyed so much that he knew he had found his calling.
Being a performing musician means practice is a must. Although they may get individual time by themselves, they often don’t play together until the day of a performance. There is a standard list of pieces that they all know which includes Latin jazz and bossa nova.
“I make time to play in between classes,” Encabo said. “The rooms are so accessible here. Just practicing for 30 minutes is sometimes all you need. I try to do that as much as possible.”
There are bad days for musicians too. As they explain it, not every day is going to be great as they play. It could result in a bad performance and they just have to chalk it up as so and move on without dwelling on it.
Like an athlete having a poor performance in practice or game, this is the comparison given.
“It’s like Kobe (Bryant) missing all his shots. You can’t force it and it’s just a bad day,” Seminario said.
The day of an event Seminario will ask if they are all familiar with a musical piece and once agreed they go. This goes unnoticed when seeing them live because they quickly synchronize and create a beautiful sound in unison.
The passion they share for music is evident once they play. No matter what has happened prior to that moment, they are able to find the right notes and enjoy the moment.