By Natalie St. Denis
Tyler Dawson is a senior, double majoring in music arts management and music and a triple minor in business, economics, and public relations.
Since he was 9 or 10 years old, he knew he wanted to grow up to do something with music. Because of this, he claims he was “one of the lucky ones.”
Dawson followed in his brother’s footsteps in attending SUNY Plattsburgh after he fell in love with the campus. He already knew a few students here too.
“More or less felt like home coming here,” Dawson said.
He originally came to SUNY Plattsburgh with just a music major, but he was always interested in being a part of the business aspect of music as well. He soon branched out to other academic studies. He decided to minor in business and economics, because he felt he wasn’t educated enough in those areas and was eager to learn more. He also struggled with the math component of economics in high school, so he knew exploring it more in college would help him.
Dawson said he added a public relations minor strictly because he was bad at public speaking and wanted to improve the social aspect of that. Additionally, after the music department chair, Karen Becker created the Music Arts Management Program, Tyler was quick to join.
Dawson decided to broaden his horizons after speaking with William Pfaff, a professor of music, when he arrived his freshman year. Dawson was extremely nervous about being in the music program. Pfaff was the first person to let him know that he should broaden his focus, so he could have additional knowledge of something if music were to end up not being what he wanted to do in the end.
Dawson enjoyed taking the four music theory courses taught by Pfaff. He mentions how he was able to learn about not just music, but about life. He also liked the music technology course he took with Adrian Carr, adjunct lecturer of music. Dawson noticed how that course helped him grow.
“I was making music normally, but that course took my knowledge to a whole new level.”
Carr was able to notice Dawson’s passion for music in his work ethic.
“His passion for music comes through in everything we did,” Carr said. “He would choose interesting pieces to mix. He has a great love for a lot of different types of music.”
His passion for music can also be seen through his other involvements during his college career. Tyler’s first instrument was the guitar, so he instantly jumped to join the guitar ensemble on campus when he heard about it. He has been a part of it for a majority of his years at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Earlier last year, Dawson worked with the high school in his town as they were building a new forum for the music program. He was able to teach younger kids in the area how to read and write music and play guitar.
Recently, he bought himself a new set of drums and violin to teach himself as much as he can with all his free time due to the pandemic.
Dawson makes sure to dedicate most of every single day to school. He finds himself making schedules for large amounts of time. Doing so allows him to keep accomplishing everything he wants to even if that means taking 23-25 credits at a time.
Dawson’s adviser, Karen Becker, is always of help to him.
“If he starts to struggle at all, I’m quick to intervene and offer my help or guidance,” Becker said.
Dawson said Becker has helped him with everything from personal issues to college questions. She has always been there for him.
“She’s more or less my mom here,” he said.
Becker has seen Dawson overcome a challenge with an internship that was canceled due to the pandemic. He used this as a chance to effectively problem solve instead of giving up. He found an internship in Lake George instead.
“He really turned it into a positive, turned it into something he was very successful at,” Becker said.
Carr was also able to see how Dawson pushed through the struggles that came with the pandemic. When everything got shut down last March, Dawson did not let that stop him. He worked through assignments and made the best of it. Dawson continued to do well in Carr’s course and even continued to go above and beyond by doing extra credit projects.
“He wanted to get the most out of it and everything presented to him, so that’s what he did and it was a pleasure to see as a teacher,” Carr said.
This motivation was not always the case Dawson admits. In high school, he was very unmotivated. He said his brother was the smart one in the family, and he was always so above and beyond academically. Seeing this quality in his brother really pushed Dawson to do more.
“It turned into more of a competition actually, between my brother and I,” Dawson said. “I really wanted to prove that I was able to do more than what I was showing at the time because I was actually very lazy,” he added.
Looking back, Dawson would tell his freshman self “get your butt in gear” and “the more you do, the more you will have for the future.”
Dawson has changed his freshman attitude of just getting the assignment done on time and not going the extra mile. Now he finds himself applying for certifications amongst other things that he wants to learn more about.
“I think that’s why I added so many things because I wanted to be better or the best at what I did in the future as a career. I want to stand out,” Tyler adds.
Becker mentioned how he is much more confident now then when she first met him.
“Tyler is that rare combination of soft-spoken yet highly motivated and highly driven student,” Becker said.
Carr said how his skills will help him succeed in his future career.
“The positive attitude that he embraces, I think that’s a very important trait to bring out into the workplace today,” Carr said. “He’s flexible. He can figure out what’s needed, and he’ll adjust to accomplish the goal.”
Dawson will be a part of the first graduating cohort of the Music Arts Management program next May, and he hopes to have a career in the music industry.