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Tell me about your work is a new interview series published by the Division of Jazz Studies at UNT. We're interested in knowing more about the work life of our alumni, what role their musical education plays in the work they do, and what their musical lives are like now. Knowing this will give current students a broader sense of the career paths they could follow, and could suggest ways to prepare for them while they are still studying at UNT. --John Murphy

Tell me about your work: Patrick Carr

Tell me about your work is a new interview series published by the Division of Jazz Studies at UNT. We're interested in knowing more about the work life of our alumni, what role their musical education plays in the work they do, and what their musical lives are like now. Knowing this will give current students a broader sense of the career paths they could follow, and could suggest ways to prepare for them while they are still studying at UNT.
John Murphy
Chair, Division of Jazz Studies
UNT College of Music


Patrick Carr

B.M. in Jazz Studies, 2013; M.M. in Jazz Studies, 2015

Patrick Carr seated at his desk in a cubicle with ecommerce site on the computer monitor

What is your job?

I am a Front-End Web Developer for Sally Beauty’s digital commerce team.

How did you get it?

I found a listing for the position on indeed.com and submitted my resume and application online. I interviewed with my current boss and the Vice President of Ecommerce. After a few days I sent a follow up email with some of my thoughts on website improvements (one of the interview questions, which I felt I could have done a better job answering), and they offered me the job shortly after that. I later found out that the follow-up email is what made them decide to hire me; if I hadn’t sent that email, I probably would not have gotten the job.

How did you prepare for it?
I started out by learning the basic building blocks HTML and CSS on codecademy so I could build a website for our wedding announcement. I also found a free non-profit online bootcamp called Free Code Camp, which taught me more javascript and problem-solving through algorithms. By the end of the program I had built a few small example apps that demonstrated my skill set.

What’s a typical day like?

A typical day is mostly taking Photoshop mockups and converting them into live web assets. I also write scripts to automate repetitive tasks like resizing/compressing images.

What do you find most rewarding about it?

I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of the job. Each project is a puzzle with many different possible approaches, and it is a lot of fun to try to create the best user experience possible while keeping page speed as high as possible.

What do you find most challenging about it?

I find that when working for a large company there is a lot of waiting involved. With so many moving pieces, large-scale changes are expensive and slow-coming, so it can be frustrating to deal with problems that exist for so long without being fixed because of these limitations.

What role, if any, did your musical education at UNT play in preparing for or getting this job?

I was told in the interview that without prior experience in this field my resume was not particularly impressive, but when they saw that I had a master’s in jazz it piqued their curiosity, so it effectively got me the interview. My music education also has taught me to be very self-managing, which has certainly helped me keep the job. My boss really appreciates that I can plan and work through entire projects without constantly asking for clarification or help, which is a valuable quality in an employee.

What might you have done differently during your time at UNT if you knew you would be doing this sort of work now?

I might have used one of my electives on a computer science course to get a deeper understanding of the actual science behind everything.

What presence does music have in your life now?

I still perform regularly and teach lessons in the evenings. My gigs are mostly on the weekends. The trickiest part of this has been finding enough time to practice as much as I would like. I am still working on finding that perfect balance.

What else would you like readers to know about your work?

Don’t be afraid of these day jobs! It’s true that they limit the time you have during the day to devote to your projects, but I can say from personal experience that it has been very liberating to have a dependable paycheck that allows me to invest in my music and myself without feeling guilty.

What other jobs have you had since leaving UNT?

This is the first full-time job I have held since graduating.

Tell me about your work: Patrick Kracunas

Tell me about your work is a new interview series published by the Division of Jazz Studies at UNT. We're interested in knowing more about the work life of our alumni, what role their musical education plays in the work they do, and what their musical lives are like now. Knowing this will give current students a broader sense of the career paths they could follow, and could suggest ways to prepare for them while they are still studying at UNT.
John Murphy
Chair, Division of Jazz Studies
UNT College of Music


Patrick Kracunas

B.M. in Jazz Studies, 2010

Photo of Patrick Kracunas in chef's uniform in a professional kitchen

What is your job?

Chef

How did you get it?

I worked for the owner/chef as a line cook previously at a restaurant she was the executive chef of. After a year there, I left to work in the city of Boston to really hone my skills and basically have my a## kicked. After a couple of years of that I became the Chef de Cuisine for a golf club on Cape Cod for one season. After the season ended I was pretty burnt-out, mentally and physically exhausted, and decided to take some time off and try out catering. I started as an event cook and then after a few months I was promoted to an event chef. I learned a lot from catering, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. Andrea, my previous boss, contacted me and said that she had left the restaurant and was opening up her own place. She asked me as well as a previous sous chef of hers if we were interested in being the chefs at her new place. Out of all of the chef's I've worked under, she is the most even-tempered, kind and well-rounded one I've worked for, so naturally I was thrilled to be asked to be part of the team.

How did you prepare for it?
Studied cookbooks, watched cooking programs, cooked all day any time I had a day off, and worked my way up through the restaurant industry in Chicago and Boston these past five years.

What's a typical day like?
Get to work at 10am. Drink coffee and do general prep until 3 p.m. Around 3 p.m. we typically (if we have time) make a staff meal that everyone can enjoy and relax for a couple of minutes. Then everyone gets on their station and starts station prep (whatever they need for the evening). At 4:30 p.m. hopefully everyone is ready and can relax before dinner service begins at 5 p.m. Service begins and we make our way through the evening. Around 9 p.m., things begin to slow down. Containers are flipped and the kitchen begins to get cleaned. Around 10:30 p.m. the kitchen is cleaned. I drive home, eat something, watch some TV or play some guitar, and then go to bed around 1 a.m.

What do you find most rewarding about it?
I get to work with people of all different ethnicities, do something I love, and hang out with friends. Most of the crew spends more time with each other than their significant others. Being with someone that understands the industry is crucial.

What do you find most challenging about it?
Managing other people’s egos as well as your own can be very hard. The long hours are tough on your body. It's definitely a younger person’s job.

What role, if any, did your musical education at UNT play in preparing for or getting this job?
UNT played a huge role in preparing me for this job. I think about what I learned at UNT and how it applies to cooking all the time. Cooking and being a professional musician is almost the exact same. You practice (prep) for your gig (service), and you never get to stop learning. I was slacking off during my second semester and Fred [Hamilton] pulled me aside and basically said, "Pat, there's a lot of mediocrity in the world. Don't be a part of it." That is in my head all the time and I was very lucky to have him as a teacher as well as all my other professors, especially Paul Leblanc.

What might you have done differently during your time at UNT if you knew you would be doing this sort of work now?
I don't think I would have changed anything about my time at UNT. It was a fantastic experience.

What presence does music have in your life now?
These days I don't really play out, and to be honest I stopped playing for probably about the past five years, but recently I have gotten back into it. I am also learning to play the dobro. I miss going to Dan's Silver Leaf!

What else would you like readers to know about your work?
I have an instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/softc86/) where I post too many pictures of food.

What other jobs have you had since leaving UNT?
After UNT, Josh Murtha and I moved to Chicago and I attempted to get into the scene there, but I just didn't really dig it so I decided to start working as a cook. After a couple of years I moved back home and landed a job for Royal Caribbean as a guitarist in the orchestra. I made tons of great friends and got to travel the world, but musically, it was soul-crushing. After doing that for a year, I got back into the kitchen.

Daniel Foose releases new CD

New York-based bassist Daniel Foose, who earned bachelor's (2005) and master's (2007) degrees in jazz studies from UNT, released the CD "of Water and Ghosts" on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records on Oct. 7, 2016. The CD features Daniel's compositions and collaborators Sebastian Noelle on guitar, Keita Ogawa on percussion, Tomoko Omura and Maria Im on violin, Allyson Clare on viola and Jennifer DeVore on cello.

Daniel and his CD were the subject of this NPR news story on Nov. 26, 2016:

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/26/503416845/after-a-trip-to-familys-former-slave-plantation-musician-daniel-foose-composes-n

CD: http://www.danielfoose.com/new-products/of-water-and-ghosts-physical-cd
iTunes: http://snip.ftpromo.net/dfooseitms
Digital Download: http://www.bjurecords.com/store/
Label: http://www.BJURecords.com

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