Listening to music is relaxing for many, but composing it is an entirely different experience for Nich Hoffman.
“When I listen to regular music, I listen for what’s good whereas when I’m listening to my own music, I’m listening for what’s wrong or doesn’t sound good so I can fix it,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman is a sophomore music composition major at Syracuse University, where he is a percussionist in two campus ensembles.
A member of the Percussion Ensemble and the Wind Ensemble, Hoffman is a percussionist and plays different instruments ranging from the xylophone to the marimba.
Hoffman also composes and creates his own music using a program called Sibelius, which allows him to input different tracks for each instrument without having to do everything manually.
“Mainly, I just get on my computer and sometimes I’ll just have an idea and get that down. Or I’ll start off with a few ideas or a theme and I’ll convey it through my music,” Hoffman said. “I used to write short one to two-minute pieces but now I try to expand above that and see what more I can do.”
Hoffman’s favorite original compositions are “Banshee Dance” and “Olympus Suite.” He conveys various different emotions through his music, especially if the music is telling a story, Hoffman said.
Besides majoring in music composition, Hoffman is also on a pre-law track and plans to minor in political science.
When asked about his unique academic plans, Hoffman said he wants to become an entertainment lawyer working with musicians and other people in the entertainment industry.
“My grandfather was very successful,” Hoffman said. “He was the lawyer for J.D. Salinger, Pablo Picasso, people like that.”
Hoffman has an interest in politics, and sees entertainment law as a way to combine his interests in music and government.
Hoffman’s roommate, Shrey Khanal, an international relations and economics major, admires Hoffman’s work ethic when it comes to his music.
“He formulates many different instruments and tones and when he puts it all together, you can visualize it,” Khanal said. “You can tell he’s going to work hard for a long period of time.”
Hoffman has yet to perform a musical piece solo, but has performed with the ensembles at Syracuse University. He has also performed for the Composer’s Concert, which occurs every semester. The next Composer’s Concert will take place on November 9.
Hoffman believes his music helps him express his emotions and get his creative juices flowing.
“Music is my outlet,” he said.
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