Artist Spotlight: Tanner Walker sees a musical future

Many people have hobbies that they put a lot of time and effort into, whether art, music or sports. But for junior Tanner Walker, playing flute is not just a hobby—it shapes her identity. “It runs my personal life…it’s a big part of my life and part of who I am,” Walker said.

Walker, a flute performance major with the hope of mastering in music, has been playing flute since she was in the sixth grade after being influenced by family members.

“My mom played [flute] and I wanted to be like [her] at the time,” Walker said.

Walker has played other woodwind instruments such as the oboe and piccolo, and once ventured into the realm of brass with the euphonium, Walker said. However, she prefers flute because of its sound and difficulty.

“I find [the flute] really soothing and you get a lot of hard music. I like that a lot; it’s challenging,” Walker said.

During her middle school and high school years, Walker was a member of the Spokane Youth Symphony for five years, played with the Central Valley Marching Band, and was part of her high school’s band and Wind Symphony. She also performed in both solo and ensemble flute competitions every year.

Because of Walker’s involvement with multiple orchestras and symphonies, she has had the opportunity to play many challenging and interesting music pieces.

“The hardest thing I’ve played is probably ‘The Firebird’ by Stravinsky, with the Youth and Spokane Symphony combined,” Walker said.

Since coming to Whitworth, Walker has maintained her involvement in music. She has played in both the Wind Symphony and the Orchestra for three years and Chamber Winds for two years. She has also provided musical accompaniment for all of the choirs.

As a flute player at Whitworth, Walker has had several opportunities to tour with musical groups.

“I’ve gotten to travel a lot. I went to Utah with the Orchestra and California with the Wind Symphony,” Walker said.

This year, she is going with the Whitworth Orchestra on a tour of the East Coast.

Walker plans to continue her involvement in music after she graduates, and is working on getting her masters credentials for music education.

“I’m hoping to play in a symphony later in life and I’ll probably teach private lessons as well,” Walker said.

Playing the flute and performing has helped Walker to be a more confident person overall.

“The performance aspect has helped me get out of my comfort zone. I’m more outgoing since I’ve been a musician, I was shy when I was younger and it’s really helped,” Walker said.

Walker hopes to use her flute performance degree to stay involved in symphonies and teach others how to play her instrument.

“I’m always going to be doing something with music,” Walker said.


Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer