Professor Kate Cosco is a synthesizer/keyboard player as well as a pianist. She is also a composer of jazz, new age and indie music. She describes her background in jazz and what she loves most about music.
Q: At what age did you first become interested in music?
A: I began playing piano at age five and have been involved with music ever since.
Q: How does your love of music translate into teaching students?
A: I like to bring fun, interesting and catchy music to my students’ attention. I like to play popular music that has commercial success and discuss the music with my students. I want to introduce them to music that I like and discuss different tastes in music.
Q: Who is your biggest influence in jazz?
A: Well it started with jazz fusion. That was my first major influence. As all things change over time, my influences changed and now I would have to say that bebop artists have the most influence on me currently.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring musicians?
A: A piece of advice that I would give to aspiring musicians is to be diligent. Work hard. Also, if you play an instrument, practice often. You must build a repertoire. Another important piece of advice is to go out and see other people play. Observe what they do and that will help you in your own practice.
Q: Throughout your music career, what has been your proudest moment?
A: Well, that’s a tough question. I don’t know about my proudest moment, but my most fun moment would have to be when I played jazz on the big stage. I played at the [Mercedes-Benz] Superdome in New Orleans. I shared the stage with many big acts, including the well known band “Chicago.” It was a very fun experience.
Q: What do you find most interesting about the history of jazz?
A: I would say how it has survived the many different phases of the 20th century. It has grown and developed through the years and it continues to develop. I find it interesting how jazz has survived through the numerous wars and events over the years. To truly appreciate the richness of jazz, people must put the effort into learning about its cultural history. You must calm down and listen.
Q: In your opinion, what artist has had the most significant influence on jazz?
A: There are too many to name, but I will say that Miles Davis is one of the good ones. He has changed jazz many ways. He was a key figure in the development of jazz, and he played with his heart.
Q: What lessons have you learned along the way?
A: One important lesson I have learned is that you cannot always play music or anything for that matter solely for the money. You must play for yourself and dedicate yourself to your art to truly succeed at what you do.
Q: Describe performing on a big stage in one word.