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GRAMMY-nominated Seth Parker Woods on his Best Advice For Music Students

The cellist visited SFCM for an artist-in-residence including a masterclass, seminar, and student-focused open discussion on the arts.

September 29, 2023 by Mark Taylor

Acclaimed by The Guardian as “a cellist of power and grace," Seth Parker Woods has established his reputation as a versatile artist and innovator across multiple genres. The GRAMMY-nominated musician took those skills and more to SFCM in late September for a residency, including a masterclass, seminar, and an open discussion with students on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the arts. 

seth parker woods

Seth Parker Woods works with a student during his masterclass.

During his visit Woods worked directly with students, "For some time it has been stated that SFCM is a fertile ground for great musicians and pedagogues and it certainly lives up to it. It’s been a pleasure to hear the cellists," Woods said, "They’ve all been receptive to my ideas and ways of trying to lead them to being even greater artists, and I’m excited to witness what they do in the world in the coming years."

In addition to working with students Woods spent time on campus including in SFCM's new Bowes Center, "First and foremost, I was blown away by the facilities in both your main campus and the new Bowes Center. What a brilliant way to integrate living, research, experimentation, elevation and performance under one roof," Woods continued, "The tech integration for the practice rooms, Studio G and the recital hall is genius and a great way to maximize experience locally and globally."

seth parker woods

Seth Parker Woods at SFCM.

As for his advice for young musicians Woods recommends students start figuring out what they want to say with their music, "Start to think about the ideas and stories you have and want to share, and not once you leave. (SFCM) is a safe space to experiment and inevitably start to find your voice," Woods said. "Give yourself permission to dig deep and question the sounds you make and the stories you tell. In doing so, you come one step closer to defining what’s possible and the type of sonic storyteller you want to become."

In addition to his masterclass, Woods gave a seminar in the Bowes Center's Studio G on his genre-bending and theatrical multimedia program Difficult Grace. Woods also spent time with students directly in an open discussion with Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Timothy Dunn on the current state of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the arts. 

Woods also advised students to collaborate with each other as soon as possible, as that can lead to the future they want in music, "Don’t forget, your greatest assets are the dreams you’ve yet to dream and the peers sitting next to you. Don’t limit your goals and start collaborating now." he added. 

Learn more about studying Cello at SFCM.