Smith — a native of Pampa, Texas — will graduate in April with a BA in piano performance
Greg Smith has his own personal motto: “I place the Eternal before me.”
It comes from a Hebrew proverb in Steve Reich’s “You Are (Variations).” “I have found that as I place God before me at all times, I am more likely to make inspired decisions that will lead to a fulfilling life,” Smith said.
Smith is one of two students chosen to represent the School of Music for the 2021 convocation. He will provide the piano accompaniment for a vocal performance of Rachmaninoff’s “Spring Waters” by senior Josie Larsen. His approach to life has led to countless treasured memories and experiences during his time at BYU.
Smith began taking piano lessons at just five years old; “The piano and music have always been a joyful part of my life,” he said. Although he initially thought about a “more stable” area of study such as mathematics or statistics, his parents encouraged him to audition for the piano performance program.
“How grateful I am that they did,” he said. “I have never once regretted my decision to pursue piano performance at BYU.”
Smith credits his teacher and mentor Stephen Beus for much of his success, including being chosen to represent the School of Music.
“I am thrilled and humbled to have been selected to perform for this year’s convocation ceremony. This would not be possible without the support and tireless effort of all the wonderful faculty at BYU, particularly my current teacher, Stephen Beus,” he said. “I am especially excited to perform in the way I love best: in collaboration with another fantastic musician. It is my hope that together we can share a message through music that is uplifting to all who will hear.”
Throughout his life, the arts have played an important role in Smith’s personal development. They have buoyed his faith, shaped his purpose and even led to finding the love of his life.
“Because of the arts, I am more acutely aware of who I am and my purpose in life,” he said. “I have continually grown in appreciation for God and His creation, and have developed a more refined sense for beauty and truth. I have established friendships that will last a lifetime. Certainly not least, I do not think I would have met the person most important and meaningful to me, my wife, if it were not for music and the arts. Because of the arts, I feel truly whole and complete.”
Smith plans to pursue a master’s degree in collaborative piano after graduation. For his fellow graduates moving on to the next phase of their own lives, he offered his personal motto as a formula for success.
“If you will keep some motivating factor — God, heaven, family, a worthy goal or anything ‘of good report or praiseworthy’ — always in your mind’s eye, and let that encourage you in all your daily decisions, then there is no telling what you may accomplish,” he said.