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Student Spotlight: Nathan Lehrer '14

May 13, 2014   |   by Michaela Ledoux   |   The Dartmouth

Nathan Lehrer
Though an engineering major, Nathan Lehrer ’14 will play a senior show on the piano. (Photo by Kang-Chun Cheng)

Growing up in New York City, Nathan Lehrer ’14 remembers having a passion for music since an early age. As a child, hearing music made him break out in dance and boogie around his house to his favorite tunes.

Noticing his interest, his parents enrolled him in an elementary school where music instruction made up one-third of the curriculum. Lehrer took up the piano in kindergarten and worked with the same instructor through high school, he said.

“My teacher was really tough, but I think that was good,” Lehrer said. “She gave me the gift to be able to play the piano and I’m really grateful for that.”

Though an engineering major, Lehrer has played classical piano all four years at Dartmouth, taking lessons with music professor Gregory Hayes and traveling to London with the music department’s foreign study program (FSP) during his sophomore spring. He will play a senior piano recital on May 17.

Lehrer described the patterns and logical structure to classical music as similar to thinking for engineering, but to him, music serves as an important expressive outlet. Lehrer plans to complete the Bachelor of Engineering this spring, finishing the program in four years as opposed to the common five-year sequence.

“I have really enjoyed being able to get into my piano since I’ve come to Dartmouth, more so than I ever have before,” Lehrer said. “I have a lot more self-direction on what I spend my time doing, so I block out a little extra time to do piano.”

One of Lehrer’s favorite engineering class projects was to design a digital radio, which allowed him to incorporate the science of sounds and engineering. The project sparked his interest in possibly pursuing a career in sound engineering.

“I found it really cool because it involved sound and frequencies, which music is all about,” he said.

Lehrer also plays on Dartmouth’s ultimate frisbee team, which recently qualified for the national ultimate championships this weekend in Ohio...

...Liliana Ma ’14, a violin and piano player who participated in the FSP with Lehrer, said she has been impressed with Lehrer’s ability to balance music and engineering and excel in both. Ma, an engineering and music double major, called this balance challenging but rewarding.

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