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Music Performance Grad McKenna Taylor on Touching People With Music

Taylor Will Graduate in April 2023 With a BM in Music Performance: Strings

Photo by Emma Olson/ External Relations

McKenna Taylor, a BYU Music Performance graduate, will be performing at Convocation on Apr. 28. McKenna’s love for the violin began at age five because she wanted to compete with her brother, but eventually it turned into a passion.

Taylor said her role models are Itzhak Perlman and BYU violin professor, Alexander Woods. Taylor said Perlman is “precise, musical and inspiring in the way he plays.” Of Woods, she said, “...he has motivated me and inspired me to be better not only at the violin, but also just as a person.”

One challenge Taylor faced during her 4-year career at BYU was finding the motivation to continue as a musician during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, this challenge left her stronger and more sure than ever.

“I was able to make more music with my family and I had to really think about why I do what I do,” said Taylor. “It brought back purpose to my performances, and I eventually found my motivation once again.”

Taylor admitted finding belonging at BYU came with its own set of challenges. However, she feels overall that she had a great community of teachers and colleagues in the School of Music.

“I was able to describe my life experience here at BYU. People genuinely care about me and are willing to become educated about life as a minority. I know not everyone has that experience, but I have felt like I belong because of the acceptance of my peers,” said Taylor.

Taylor toured Europe with the BYU Chamber Orchestra in the spring of 2022, which was one of her most touching personal experiences involving music. Taylor and other orchestra members performed for Ukrainian refugees and were touched by the refugees’ responses after they played “a piece that has become an anthem of sorts for Ukraine.”

“...You could just feel the loss they had experienced and the uncertainty they had for their futures. I know they were proud to be Ukrainian, but they were very hurt. I got to speak with some of them about their experiences and I will never forget their stories,” said Taylor.

Taylor has come to recognize the power of music and she has a desire to share that power with as many people as possible.

After she completes graduate school at BYU, she dreams of becoming a professor, playing in a symphony and owning a private studio.

“I want to show people the truth through great music and how it can impact their lives,” Taylor said. “I want to bring joy into the lives of those that are struggling, and I want to be able to help people feel closer to God. I want to bring the joy I have felt through music to people across the world.”