Student Profile: Lake Jiroudek, jazz guitarist

March 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

Lake Jiroudek, a senior Music major in jazz from Oregon, first picked up the guitar while he was in the fourth grade. His older brother Evan was in a punk band, which inspired Lake to start playing. He says, “Initially, my Dad and brother showed me a few key riffs and chords to play, and that helped me start to learn.”

Before coming to Idyllwild Arts Academy at the beginning of his junior year, Lake played with the Pacific Crest Orchestra directed by Thara Memory. Lake says that it was during those lessons when “I had to gain selflessness and think more about the music. Mr. Memory taught us many valuable lessons and worked us very hard.”

When asked how he found Idyllwild Arts Academy, he said that it resulted from not being satisfied in his public high school. His Dad started surfing the Internet, looking for options and determined to find a school that would support a student like Lake with significant financial aid. Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Admission Office worked closely with the Jiroudek family to make it financially possible for Lake to attend. The Idyllwild Arts Foundation is committed to supporting talented young artists in need of financial help so that they can attend the Academy and the Summer Program.
Photo by Gabriel Amadeus Cooney
At Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Jazz program, Lake has found a community that he says “offers more personal interaction with other players. Last year, I developed a close friendship with saxophonist Jacob Scesney, and Caleb Hensinger, a trumpet player. Before, I’d only played in big bands, but now I was able to focus on inventiveness, getting musical ideas on the spot and learning to be more honest.”

Lake studies privately with Bruce Forman, adjunct instructor of studio and jazz guitar at the University of Southern California. With Bruce, he’s spent the last year working on his own musicality as well as awareness of the music and other players. Lake says, “It’s important to get out of my own head. Bruce has taught me to be more creative and not rest upon muscle memory.”

As part of the Idyllwild Arts’ Jazz program, Lake talks about being able to work with and learn from the iconic Marshall Hawkins. In the course of Marshall’s long career, he’s worked alongside jazz legends Shirley Horn, the Miles Davis Quintet, Roberta Flack and Richie Cole. Lake says about his studies with Marshall, “It’s an incredible opportunity everyday to work with someone who has had that kind of experience.”

During his two years at Idyllwild Arts Academy, Lake has already received numerous awards. At the 2011 Berklee Jazz Festival in Boston, the Idyllwild Arts Academy jazz ensemble placed first in Class 4 and Lake received the Superior Musicianship award. At the Reno Jazz Festival, the Idyllwild Arts Academy jazz ensemble placed third in their category. From that competition, Lake was selected as one of the top six musicians and was asked to play in the Reno All-Star Combo.

This year, Lake was recognized as a semifinalist in the YoungArts Competition, selected as the only guitarist for the Jazz Band of America and was a semifinalist in the Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Awards where he received Honorable Mention.

Currently, Lake is applying to Juilliard, The New School, New England Conservatory, Berklee and other prominent schools. His hope is to study with an instructor that will help him conceptualize ideas and build upon traditional concepts; “My goal is to continue to evolve to another level and build a solid foundation for myself as a musician.”

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