Eighty-eight is a special number for college freshman Alex Trygstad.
It was the 88 keys of the piano that first introduced him to music, training as a young child under his mother’s instruction. He later began studying the violin – a move that has recently help translate into an $88,000 scholarship to Baylor University.
This year Trygstad was awarded a musical scholarship in the amount of $10,000 a year for four years, and then an additional annual $12,000 academic scholarship for four years, as well, says Lone Star College–Tomball Music Coordinator Dr. Cheryl Bates.
”This is a staggering amount and is considered a huge award which is fabulous for Alex as he has great potential,” says Bates, who describes him as an exceptional talent with a very strong work ethic. “These are the two main ingredients for musical and academic success. As a violinist, Alex excels at performance and as a student Alex excels in academics.”
Last year Alex auditioned for five universities and was offered large scholarships from all, but the best offer came from Baylor University.
The scholarship he received is not all about music, though, as a little more than half of the scholarship was awarded to Alex based on his academic ability. And it’s probably fitting since his first real school was college – Lone Star College–Tomball, in fact.
“I was home schooled and when I got to the level of senior in high school I decided to take some dual credit courses at Lone Star College–Tomball,” says Alex. “You would think that it would be a shock to go straight to college from home schooling, but Lone Star College–Tomball was really welcoming. The classes were small and the instructors were really interested in each student individually. It really felt like a home school experience in many ways.”
Among his first courses at Lone Star College–Tomball were music theory, ear training and sight reading. His professor, Nicole Kenley, remembers a prodigy.
“Alex is one of the best students I have encountered in my teaching career,” says Kenley. “He is exceptionally bright and responsible, and on top of that, he is simply a nice guy. His passion for the art of music is an example to all who pursue our discipline.”
Kenley says that she was additionally impressed by Alex’s commitment to music beyond just instruction.
“He played solo violin at a couple of events at my church in the Houston Heights and he was just so impressive,” she says. “It’s nice to see someone so dedicated at such a young age. I think his success at Baylor and beyond will be immeasurable.”
Now well into his first year at Baylor in Waco, just a few hours’ drive from his hometown of Spring, Texas, Alex is immersed in what Kenley refers to as “among the most rigorous of programs.”
But Alex says he is ready what Baylor has to offer due to the instruction he received while at Lone Star College–Tomball, whose music program boasts quality instruction and state-of-the-art facilities with access for students to practice rooms, a piano lab, MIDI lab, ProTools recording studio and a rehearsal/recital hall, says Bates.
“The ear training course I took at Lone Star College–Tomball in particular really prepared me for what I’m learning now at Baylor,” says Alex, who adds that his grades are typically A’s. “In fact, I was able to test out of music theory here due to what I learned while at Tomball.”
The violin performance major – who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music – says he now faces a difficult choice beyond what his music study has to offer.
“I’m also on a pre-med track and trying to decide between being a college professor and going to medical school to be a doctor.”
But it’s not all work for Alex in Waco, who spends his free time participating in an orchestra, a string quartet and in the swing dance society.
“I can’t seem to get away from things involving music,” he says. “Even if I become a doctor, I will find a way to incorporate music into my routine somehow.”
Kenley says whatever path Alex decides to take – be it physician or world renowned musician – she is proud of his accomplishments and hopes to encounter more of “his type” at Lone Star College–Tomball.
“Alex's journey to Lone Star College–Tomball and on to Baylor is one that I hope will become common at Lone Star College–Tomball,” she says. “As our program continues to grow, we look forward to more Alex Trygstads enrolling in our music classes.”
The Lone Star College–Tomball music program offers opportunities for both music majors and non-music majors, says Bates. Students can earn an associate's degree or take classes that will supplement the core curriculum. Credits earned in the program can transfer to state universities. For more information on the Lone Star College–Tomball music program, call 281-357-3675or visit the campus website: tomball.lonestar.edu.
Lone Star College–Tomball is a member of the Lone Star College System. Lone Star College System, among the largest and fastest growing community college districts in Texas, comprises Lone Star College-North Harris, Lone Star College-Kingwood, Lone Star College–Tomball, Lone Star College–Montgomery, Lone Star College–CyFair, seven satellite centers and The University Center.