If you were not aware Willis Music has a pretty awesome lesson program. We have teachers at every location ready to teach your child or even you to play! I am sure you are wondering what kind of lessons we offer? Everything from vocal lessons to Euphonium! You can check out the list of teachers here! We have some pretty talented kids in our lessons program and we love celebrating their accomplishments. There is one guy in particular we are highlighting! Noah Ricketts took piano lessons with Willis Music when he was 10 years old. All of his hard work paid off. Noah performs on Broadway now! That is pretty awesome! We got a chance to catch up with Noah recently. Check out what he has to say!
1. Where did you attend school and what did you study?
Well, I’ve attended a couple schools. I started in my hometown of Louisville, KY at the Youth Performing Arts School studying Vocal Performance. When I was a junior in high school I decided that I needed more from my artistic education, so I took a leap and moved to Northern Michigan. There I studied Theatre at a private performing arts boarding school called Interlochen Arts Academy, beautifully nestled in the woods. After that it was time for college. I moved back towards my home state and landed in Ohio, where I earned my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (better known as CCM).
2. How old were you when you started taking music lessons?
I was 10 years old when I began taking private piano lessons. Before that, I was studying clarinet and saxophone in my elementary and middle school band classes.
3. What were your dreams regarding music when you started lessons at Willis Music?
I’m not really sure what my dreams were. I remember walking into Willis Music at my local mall and seeing a woman play vigorously on the piano. I remember standing there totally obsessed with everything she was doing and itching to learn how to do it myself. I was totally enthralled with music at a young age but at that time I didn’t even realize that a career in music was even a possibility. By the way, her name was Janie and she later became my piano teacher and life long friend.
4. When did you realize performing arts was the career path for you?
Around the same time that I started taking piano lessons at Willis Music, my mother enrolled me in a summer program called Broadway Bootcamp. I was 10 years old and in a arm cast from a skateboarding accident. We were performing “School House Rock” and I was given the song “Conjunction Junction”. I remember being so nervous, but the spotlight hit and I was totally in it. All of my nerves turned into energy and I sang my heart out. It was at that exact moment that I realized that performing was what I had to do with my life. I had no other option.
Janie gave me advice all throughout my life, even into the early stages of my career so,it’s hard to pick a singular lesson. But the biggest gift I received from her was the gift of creativity. She was constantly challenging me to think outside the box and break down walls that were in my way. It was a life lesson that has gone way beyond the confines of that Willis Music studio.
6. What musicals have you been in?
A lot of them. But a couple of my favorite roles are Terk in “Tarzan” , Javert in “Les Miserables” , and C.C. in “DREAMGIRLS”. To name a few!
7. What is your favorite musical?
My favorite musical is “Little Shop of Horrors”. I’ve been obsessed with the musical movie since I was a kid. The puppetry, music, and characters are all amazing. If you haven’t seen it, check it out!
8. What is it like living and working in New York?
Living and working in NYC is extremely challenging yet thrilling. Everyone is on a mission. If you’re putting up with the madness that is New York City, it’s for a good cause. It truly is the city of dreams. So waking up everyday knowing that your life could change at the drop of a hat is extremely exciting.
9. What was the biggest adjustment to make moving to a big city like New York?
For me it was my first job. About 6 weeks into living in NYC I was offered a job on broadway in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”. I was extremely honored and at the same time slightly overwhelmed. I barely knew my way around the city and the next thing I know, I’m performing in a broadway show after four days of rehearsal. Although it was a crazy time in my life, it taught me a lot about time management and learning on the go. That’s what I mean about your life changing at the drop of a hat!
10. What advice would you give kids who are just starting out playing music?
If you love it, don’t give up. It’s a hard journey, but every day will get a little easier and in return you will only become stronger.
11. What is your biggest dream right now?
My biggest dream right now is to originate a role in a television series/movie. It’s a new aspect of the arts that I’m interested in diving into. So I’m excited to get into class and get the ball rolling!
So, what are you waiting on? Start playing today and follow your dream!