Chase Morrin in pursuit

"In high school I was practicing eight hours a day...."

Chase Morrin has been cleaning up in piano competitions since childhood.
  • Chase Morrin has been cleaning up in piano competitions since childhood.
  • photo by Seungoh Ryu

Pianist Chase Morrin is back in town, headlining a fundraising concert in Carlsbad on July 15 to benefit jazz education. Education is a topic he’s pretty familiar with: a graduate of Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley, the now-23-year-old Morrin attended both Harvard and the New England Conservatory at the same time.

“It’s a joint program where you get your bachelor’s at Harvard and master’s at [New England Conservatory],” he says. “I finished up at NEC a year after I graduated Harvard [in 2015].”

How did he do it?

“I didn’t get a lot of sleep those four years when I was making the commute between both campuses,” Morrin recalls. “But I learned how to be efficient — especially when it comes to practice — there are certain ways of memorizing things really fast when it comes to classical music, and there are ways to make the most of your time. It’s about priorities and sacrifices. I actually learned how to be in charge of my time back in high school because I was in all of these bands that had a lot of gigs.”

After earning his two degrees, Morrin decided to go back to school.

“I just graduated with a second master’s in piano performance from the Global Jazz Institute at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. I wasn’t just going for another degree — this program was a life-changer for me.”

Morrin has been cleaning up in piano competitions since childhood, but he prefers to avoid using the “p” word.

“I’ve always been uncomfortable with the ‘prodigy’ description,” he says. “People tend to think it means that you were born with this natural gift and that everything came easy. That glosses over all the work you have to put in and the time it takes. In high school I was practicing eight hours a day....

“I’m just someone in pursuit of something I really love doing. I was really lucky to have a network of supportive people — especially my parents, but also teachers and mentors who really encouraged me and provided me with all these resources.”

Now Morrin is looking to give back.

Museum of Making Music

5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad

“I really care about music education. I’ve done a lot of outreach programs back in Boston where you go out into the community and bring music to people who wouldn’t otherwise get the experience.”

Chase Morrin plays the Museum of Making Music on July 15 at at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $20.

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