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Music Major Shares His Key to Success

Javier Marquez ‘08

Javier Marquez ‘08 was a music major with a geography minor. 

When Javier Marquez moved from the Dominican Republic in 2002 to be with his family, one thing stayed completely the same, he could not stop playing the piano. The self-taught musician would practice at church, in high school, or just while hanging out with friends. “Since I had spent so many hours teaching myself to play piano and read music as a teenager, taking the next step to solidify my music knowledge seemed natural.” Javier said about his transition into the Salem State music program. 

“Most of my homework did not feel like an obligation, because writing, playing, listening, and reading about music is all I wanted to do.” Javier was a self-motivated and curious student, often spending hours researching composers and topics that his advisor, Dr. Mary-Jo Grenfell mentioned. 

Outside of the classroom Javier explored the technical side of performance when he worked as a concert manager to provide support to the various artists who came to perform at Salem State.

His education culminated in his senior recital where he debuted a self-written composition. “It was a major challenge to prepare and a major relief to complete. I had tremendous faculty support, particularly from Dr. Peter Kvetko and Dr. Philip Swanson.”

Feeling Represented 

Like most Vikings, Javier supplemented his time at Salem State with experiences outside of his major. 

“Being in a community where I could both find students of Latino origin and from other parts of the world was quite a treat. I could feel myself represented and also learn about other nationalities and cultures.” He recalled about his involvement with the International Student Association. 


Where is he now?

Javier and the piano are still constant companions, he plays with the First Baptist Church of Salem and serves as their Worship Leader. In 2019 he took a second position acting as Music Director at St. Peter’s Episcopal.

Javier’s advice to current Vikings is to “keep making connections. Keep practicing and looking for inspiration. Write down all your ideas and dreams. You may not see them all flourish, but those that do bloom have to start somewhere. Nurture them.” 

Learn more about the music department at Salem State. 

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