Ben Tweedt had entered into the 402 office one afternoon with Aromas coffee in hand. He had agreed to squeeze in an interview into his already busy schedule. Having sat himself across from the 402, Ben began to tell a little bit about his growing up years.
Born in Brunswick Ohio, Ben and his family moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa when he was 5-years-old. The youngest of four children, Ben grew up playing piano at an early age.
“When I was six-years-old I heard my sister practicing the piano and I had decided that I wanted to do it too,” described Ben. So he had told his parents that he wanted to learn and they put him in music lessons.
Ben grew to love the piano right away.
“When I was younger I really liked practicing and playing. I was fortunate to win lots of stuff when I was younger. You know different awards and such,” described Ben. “But when I got to late elementary school and middle school I stopped caring and then stopped practicing all together. I still took lessons however. That was the part of my life that I regret as a musician. Had I continued practicing I would probably be a lot better now.”
Having grown up with the mindset that “practice makes perfect,” Ben understood then and understands now the value in hard work. As young Ben entered high school he began to experience different outlets in music. From band to choir to jazz, Ben encountered different aspects of music that he may not have otherwise experienced.
“I was never a huge fan of marching band and I will say I am very glad that I never have to do it ever again,” described Ben with a grin. “However I really enjoyed jazz band although I wasn’t any good until my last semester of high school.” Ben also told the 402 that he participated in choir. He was fortunate enough to to be an all stater for all four years of high school. “I didn’t really care for singing that much. I guess it was something that just kept me out of trouble,” laughed Ben.
Jazz band in high school encouraged him to pursue music in college and as a profession. The director of his jazz band in high school, Daren Pettit, is one of the best saxophone players in the area and actually teaches at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
“Pettit and other UNO people convinced me to do music. Like I never thought I was good enough but they convinced me that I was,” described Ben. So that is just what Ben did. He enrolled into UNO and is working towards a degree in Music Performance with an emphasis in piano. He is currently in his junior year.
Pettit wasn’t the only influential instructor in Ben’s life. From six-years-old all the way through high school, Ben took lessons from the same teacher.
“She reinforced all the good things from the very beginning,” informed Ben.
This is exactly what Ben is trying to do with his students. He wants to reinforce all of the good things. “What I am trying to do through teaching here is to develop a way to teach kids something that they like to play while focusing on the things that they need to learn. There is way to do that without delving into hardcore classical music, unless if that is something they want to learn. Right now I am working on the star wars theme with a couple students. Pretty fun,” said Ben.
When asked the question what he wants his students to walk away with after taking a lesson from him, Ben answered with,
“I want them to enjoy music! I also want to equip them with the skills that will allow them to continue on should they decide to.”