“Doctors are always trying to look at things from different perspectives and making sure they’re not missing anything. In music, that is the expectation [too]– that you’re going to be looking at things from all different perspectives. Musical training, I think in that regard, has been super helpful,” says Maddy Deanne, an alum of Merit.
Thinking about the overlap between practicing medicine and studying music is of special importance to Maddy. Why? Because Maddy is making plans for medical school – and she credits much of what she has learned about seeing life from different viewpoints, and especially wanting to help and understand people, to her time at Merit.
Merit alum, Maddy Deanne, performs a Bach piece on flute during her May 2018 visit to Thailand where she volunteered in a local community.
Maddy first joined the Merit Conservatory in middle school as flautist and quickly rose to be a standout in the program. During her time at Merit, Maddy garnered a reputation for arriving early and staying late. She worked hard with her private lesson teacher, Betsy Ko, to advance as a flautist and eventually joined Merit’s prestigious chamber music program as a member of KGT Woodwind Trio and Purple Hippopotami Flute Quartet, both of which won or placed in national chamber music competitions during her tenure. She also landed a coveted spot as a section leader in the Conservatory’s top band ensemble, The Wind Symphony.
Maddy’s time being a section leader in Wind Symphony nurtured her innate desire to listen to the needs of others and take responsibility for her community. Her chamber music experience provided a collaborative space where both listening to others and offering her creative ideas contributed to the overall success of the group. Maddy became more attentive to the experiences and perspectives of others while also becoming more self-aware. But what stood out most was Maddy’s determination to consistently uphold a high work ethic. When other students went home after rehearsal, Maddy would be found making photocopies in Merit’s resource room for Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band. “Volunteering so much in my experience and taking responsibility for my community in this way has been very impactful on my life,” Maddy reflected.
After graduating from Conservatory in 2017 as the distinguished winner of Merit’s Mary Herron Replogle Scholarship, Maddy went on to graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree and a double-minor in biology and chemistry. Throughout college, Maddy continued her commitment to community. When visiting Thailand, she volunteered at a local community center and taught ESL classes. The following year, she was accepted into a leadership program at her university to work with local refugee families and then study abroad in Lesvos, Greece where she completed various outreach projects, including building a pro-bono law office and triaging patients at a local clinic. Right before the pandemic began, Maddy started working in the ER at a level 1 trauma center as a medical scribe.
“Merit gave me the confidence to be myself.” –Maddy Deanne, alum
Reflecting on her time at Merit and how she got to where she is now, Maddy shares, “Merit gave me the confidence to be myself.” Today, Maddy is applying to medical school and preparing for a future as a doctor. But she still very much enjoys playing the flute and exploring its influence on the world. She even wrote her senior thesis on how closely solo flute music follows true birdsong, incorporating the work of Venezuelan composer Adina Izarra, one of the leading composers writing bird-inspired works.
It’s clear that Maddy has distinctly chosen to fill her life with an abundance of rewarding opportunities and continues to positively impact the lives of others through compassion, music, and volunteerism. We can’t wait to see what an impact she has in medicine one day soon!