Interview Series: Q&A with Saxophone player, Hart Linker

Assistant Editor

Sep   2011



Hart Linker is from Athens, Georgia and spent his undergraduate years at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and just recently finished up his Master’s degree in May 2011 at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Hart has received both of his degrees in Saxophone Performance.

Hart was once named the winner of the 2007 Ithaca College Concerto Competition and has performed at the 2009 Baltimore World AIDS/HIV Festival, as well as the 2011 Mount Vernon Flower Festival. You can also find Hart on YouTube with his internationally recognized solo saxophone performance.

Today, Hart says you can find him jump-starting his career by recording his first solo album. He will be going on tour in 2012 with the help of some corporate sponsorships. While Hart is not recording, he is influencing the lives of future musicians and saxophonists by teaching private music lessons at Carere Music, Inc. located in Atlanta, Georgia.

If you are interested in pursuing a degree in music, listen to what Hart has to say about his college experience!

How long have you been involved with music? Playing the saxophone?

I started out taking ear training and piano lessons at a local music school at the age of four. Until about the age of 14, I studied and practiced piano. After trying out oboe, cello, clarinet, I decided to study saxophone and started playing at age 15.

Why did you choose a university rather than a performing arts school?

I wanted to attend a small liberal arts college for my undergraduate degree because I wanted to be exposed to a variety of academic disciplines. I loved learning about so many things in high school and wanted the fun to continue in college!

What types of classes were required for your major?

Typically, all undergraduate music students in the United States are required to have four years of private study with a major teacher, 2­­–3 years of music theory, 2–3 years of music history, 2–3 years of sight singing, four years of a Large Ensemble, two years of Small Chamber Group, Freshman/Sophomore Year Jury, and Junior/Senior Performance degree mandated recitals.

In addition, many liberal arts programs like Ithaca have all undergraduate students (music and non-music) complete a “core” curriculum of classes. In order to graduate, the undergraduate student has to take classes in English Literature, Writing, Math/Science, History, and up to three additional elective courses in the humanities.

Were you involved in any activities on campus?

As an undergraduate student, I played Frisbee, was a member of the movie club, joined a music fraternity, and often went to listen to guest lectures by distinguished non-music faculty.

How often did you perform on campus? Off campus?

As an undergraduate student at Ithaca College, I performed about 2–3 times a semester on campus. These were mainly large and small ensemble concerts. I rarely played off campus.

How often did you practice while at school?

This is such a personal question. Musicians are often very wary of this question because they feel like they either didn’t (or don’t) practice enough—and thus don’t want to admit this to the world—or they over practiced and don’t have enough to show for it.

I would guess that I practiced anywhere from 4–8 hours a day at both Ithaca College and the Peabody Institutes. Depending on the schedule for the week and what I wanted to accomplish, this would usually dictate the length and frequency of my practice sessions.

What was your favorite part of college in general?

My favorite part of “higher education” was getting to meet so many interesting and wonderful people! Some of my best friends are those I met during college and I stay in regular contact with many of them.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Throughout your life, you’ll have people say to you that one can’t make it in the music business and/or that what you do isn’t going to make any money. Instead of succumbing to pressure, approach each opportunity that is afforded to you with the following mindset: If there is only one saxophone spot available for that all-state band or college program, why shouldn’t it go to you? You’ve trained just as hard and long as the next audition candidate and don’t be afraid to put your name in the hat!

There is a famous saying I’d like to leave aspiring musicians with: “99% of being successful is just showing up. The remaining 1% is a combination of luck and perseverance.”

If you would like to know more about Hart Linker you can visit his website

Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

About Victoria Scibilia

Victoria Scibilia

Victoria Scibilia is a contributing editor for Carnegie Communications.