Mia Ray

A Word from an Alumna | Interview with Mia Ray

Mia Ray began her college journey in the fall of 2013 with a major in English and a minor in Music – Arranging.  She graduated in 2017 with a major in Music and concentrations in Arranging and Piano Pedagogy. In August 2020, Mia graduated from Butler University with a Master of Music in Composition.

Mia recently shared about her time at MBU and her current plans.

Why did you choose to come to MBU?

I chose Maranatha because I appreciated the fact that it was an accredited university. I observed the quality of music I heard from traveling choirs and ensembles that would come to my church.  (My big brother was also a student there, so that was another big pull for me!)

Would you mind telling me why you changed your major?

Growing up, people always told me I was going to be a musician. To me, that meant I would have no life because of practicing, pestering people to practice more, and [I’d] be a little on the crazy side. I didn’t know what I was going to be, but I was determined not to be that! I had always loved writing, and one of the most influential teachers I had in high school was my English teacher; thus, I decided I would be a writer for a magazine. First semester sophomore year, I took a writing class and a music arranging class. I strongly disliked the writing class but loved the arranging class. I also loved my music teachers. They did pester me to practice more, and they were a little on the crazy side (in a very good way), but they made music fun and exciting, and I loved it! I realized that instead of being afraid of the way God made me or paralyzed by what others may think, I should embrace it and give it all that I have for His glory. After a multitude of prayers and seeking a multitude of counsel, I switched from trying to be a writer to being a music writer. The desires are ours, but the beautiful way they are transformed and realized are His.

What/who was most influential in your undergrad career and why?

Dr. Ledgerwood was the most influential in my undergrad career because of the time he spent investing in me inside and outside of the classroom. He loved arranging and composing and that made me love arranging and composing.

Janet Tschida was also extremely influential. She is an incredible piano pedagogy teacher, always staying up to date with new ways to reach and teach students in the most effective ways.

Dr. Brown, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Brus, Dr. Clater, Dr. Townsend, Mrs. Ruffin, Mr. Rosove-they are all amazing!

What opportunities did you have to grow yourself as a musician at MBU?

I was able to accompany for Chambers singers as well as individual instrumental and vocal soloists. I got to sing in chapel and help with music in the local church.

As a composer, I had access to a group of friends that were willing to help play or sing through pieces for a class or for recitals. Hearing your pieces is such a neat opportunity as a composer.

How did MBU prepare you for entering grad school?

MBU gave me solid Christian friendships with people that supported me through grad school, and I know will continue to be there for me through the rest of my life!

It helped me develop a solid Christian worldview that prepared me for a secular environment, and a discipline and love for excellence and music that sustained me through grad school.

What are you doing now that you’ve graduated from Butler?

I recently moved to Greenville, SC and am serving in the student life department at Bob Jones. My goal is to continue writing music and look for ways to grow musically and spiritually while I’m here!

Are you taking any courses for professional development? Are you currently working on any compositions?

I may take a course next semester, and I’m hoping to join one of the community choirs here in Greenville, but they are currently closed because of COVID. I think this was a blessing though, so I can learn the job and adjust to the move! I am working on a new hymn/arrangement with Andy Glesier! It will be coming out through his website under Determined Hymns.