“Lauren Fox is not only a darned good jazz pianist, but she also sends an incredibly positive message about contributing, working hard, and being responsible,” renowned New Jersey-based band director and music teacher Matt Krempasky tells me. “She plays for the jazz ensemble, accompanies the choir, plays for her church — you know, one of those kids who’s not only involved in everything, but will probably run all of it sometime soon!”
A sophomore at Somerville High School in New Jersey, the 16-year-old, trad-jazz fan Fox is our March MAJORminor profilee — a young keyboard artist headed for success!
First memory of hearing jazz piano and being impressed/curious:
Walking through the mall with my grandmother and stopping to watch the pianist play. I liked the easy, carefree style.
Age you began taking piano lessons:
Musical heroes and influences:
Art Tatum for being an extremely well-rounded pianist, and for overcoming the limitations of his body. Also, my piano teacher and church music director Brian Katona, for giving me opportunities and pushing me to get better.
Why piano and not some other instrument?
I started playing piano for the benefits it affords musically, and kept going because of the opportunities I’ve been given. Not only do I truly enjoy it, it’s also my stress reliever! Of course, practicing gets frustrating sometimes, but sitting down and just playing is limitless.
Favorite material to play:
Worst gig or gear nightmare and how you dealt with it:
I haven’t had anything too nightmarish yet — knock on wood. Of course, things have happened, but I’ve learned to be innovative and go with the flow as best as I can.
How important is traditional music training?
I think traditional music training is important for the sake of being a wellrounded musician. Many people have talent, but it only goes so far.
Read or play by ear?
I read. I think reading music is a vital skill.