Degree: Master of Music
Sean Brennan has been recommended as an Outstanding Graduate for the College of Liberal Arts by his mentor Dr. John McGuire. Most notably, his leadership qualities and excellence as a mentor for CSU undergraduate students has made Sean an invaluable graduate teaching assistant who deserves the highest praise. Learn more about Sean’s story below:
1. Why did you choose to study at CSU?
“I found out about CSU late into the application process. Right at the beginning of the shutdown in March 2020, I received an email from my undergraduate horn teacher about an available assistantship at CSU. After a phone call and a video lesson with the Associate Professor of Horn, Dr. John McGuire, I knew having him as an advisor and teacher was the right decision to hone my skills.”
2. How has your background shaped your experience here at CSU, and what advice would you give to students of similar identities?
“Being an Asian American that grew up on the west coast, I was always in proximity with other Asian Americans. Moving to the Front Range, where the Asian population is incredibly small, made me constantly feel hyper-visible. The microaggressions I experienced both on and off campus had a significant impact on my own mental health, and I seriously considered transferring or dropping out. My advice to others in a similar situation would be to carve out time to actively appreciate your differences on a weekly basis.”
3. What accomplishments from your educational career at CSU are you most proud of? How were you able to accomplish those things?
“Auditioning is a frequent point of discussion in school. One of my proudest moments during my time at CSU was being a finalist at an orchestral audition. I’m also proud of learning from the other auditions that I’ve taken with less success. Each audition can be a valuable experience to learn something about yourself. Dr. McGuire has extensively helped me learn how to navigate auditioning and finding out what works best for me.”
4. What has been the most challenging aspect of your educational career so far? How have you overcome those difficulties?
“Finding a balance between my personal and musical goals was difficult. What I want for my own future changed and evolved compared to when I started this degree. I had to realize that the work I was doing in my studies and as a graduate teaching assistant were expanding and strengthening my skills that could be applicable to life after school.”