His earliest memory of music is the piano, an instrument he said he hated to be forced to play but practiced in accordance with his mother’s wishes.

The piano, said Hugh Spector, waylaid his desire to play video games with friends.

At 18, Spector discovered the depth of his desire to play and write music and aimed his passion towards a professional career.

In late August, he will leave Oklahoma to study composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass.

“College is going to be the best. It’s going to be so cool,” said Spector. “I want to study composition. I just really want to write.”

Having previously attended earlier workshops at the college in the ninth and 11th grades, he said, “Boston is the coolest city and there is really great food.”

Like food for the artisan soul, music dominates his life, said Spector.

“My favorite instrument is guitar. I enjoy playing it more than anything,” he said.

“I can’t sit still in class without thinking about a song or beating on my desk. It’s kind of an obsession.”

Spector began taking guitar lessons in the fourth grade, though he said he did not give his full attention to the instrument until the eighth grade.

His favorite music is good music.

“A lot of my friends listen to only one style of music like screamo,” he said.

“I listen to every kind of music. If I like the way it sounds, I’ll listen to it. It doesn’t matter.”

His favorite artist is Britpop musician Damon Albarn of Blur.

“He’s so cool,” said Spector. “Everything he does succeeds in some way. Some people make music like they are trying to make it creative. He has fun with his.

“I want people to listen to my music. I would love to be a rock star, a respectable rock star but in all likelihood, I’ll probably end up teaching.”

He said he would also love to score music for movies. He considers the music of Stephen Sondheim and the soundtrack to “Star Wars” to be inspirational.

His father, Tom, teaches architecture at Oklahoma State University, and his mother, Susan, is a stay-at-home mom, he said. His grandfather is a professor of business at Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga.

According to Spector, his parents are pretty excited about Berklee.

“Berklee sent me an e-mail. When I got the e-mail saying I was accepted, I ran to my parents’ room. My dad was asleep. He woke up, said ‘Congratulations’ and went back to sleep,” he said. “My dad always knew I didn’t want to be an architect, it was just a question of what I wanted to do. When I told my parents what I wanted to do they were like, ‘OK.’”

Broadly musical, Spector, who is no relation to the infamous yet legendary producer Phil Spector, also plays the flute and banjo.

The Berklee Web site detailed the impressive nature of Spector’s remarkable admission achievement: “We look for candidates who reflect the rich diversity of our curriculum, with high musical aptitude as players or writers, or in business, production, music therapy, or music education. We seek students who show high potential, who are creative, collaborative, and open to new ideas, who are problem-solvers and entrepreneurs, who have something extra that sets them apart.”

That something extra for Spector, said music teacher Walter Kelly, is work ethic. He has taught Spector on and off for the past four years, he said.

“Hugh definitely has above-average skill,” Kelly said. “He has a lot of ability and raw dexterity. On top of that, he has a smooth technique and good ear.

“There are a lot of talented people who don’t do the hard work.”

The desire must match the perspiration, said Kelly.

“It’s one thing to want something but people who really want things, work really hard,” he said. “Hugh has definitely worked very hard.”

Kelly said Spector is a very likable person with a great attitude and open mind.

“Hugh has a very structured way of thinking. He is very pragmatic and diligent — all the things necessary for success,” he said. “I really feel like Hugh is a very driven young man. He has worked very hard and applied himself to the task in order to attend Berklee. Hugh is no stranger to the requirements of the work.”

Kelly is a Berklee graduate himself, with a degree in professional music with an emphasis in the harmony department.

“Berklee is a rare opportunity,” he said. “It not only takes someone who can get in the door but also someone who can endure. It’s a rare privilege to be a part of the Berklee community.

“I have no doubt he will be one of the people who will not be a part of the attrition rate, rather the school’s success rate. His heart is in the right place and he will see it all the way through.”

Not one to be pigeonholed, Spector said his secret to excelling at music is, “if you like what you do, it’s not like going to work. I keep that in mind when studying the less glamorous styles of music. I try to remember that I am always working towards something.”

Recommended for you