Musician Gray Scott must choose between guitar, piano as he focuses on college

By Lynn R. Parks

At the young age of 16, Gray Scott has a big decision coming up. He has to choose between the guitar and the piano.

Scott, the son of Jeanine and Jeff Scott of Bridgeville, has been playing the piano since he was 4, the guitar since he was 9. He puts in four to five hours a day of practice and has won awards playing each instrument.

But college is approaching. While he could major in both instruments, he feels that that would be a bit much: A double major would be a tremendous amount of work and I don't feel that I could handle it," he said. So he's going to have to pick one and focus his efforts on it and on preparing audition pieces.

A lot of people are rooting for the piano," he said. But I do love the guitar; I love them both. It's going to be a hard decision."

Gray is not the only musician in his family. His dad, a pianist, and mom, a classically trained singer, frequently perform in the area. His sister, Maria, plays the piano and is working on her master's degree at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. And his other sister, Emma, is studying the violin at Temple University, Philadelphia.

Gray's first piano teacher was his dad. He now studies under Oleg Maslov at the Music School of Delaware in Wilmington.

His guitar lessons started in 2008 under Christopher Braddock, also at the Music School of Delaware. Since 2013, he has taken guitar lessons from Douglas Seth, Guitar Academy of Southern Delaware, Seaford.

Gray is home-schooled. He sings with the chorus at Greenwood Mennonite School and frequently performs at his church, Crossroad Community, Georgetown.

He was part of the all-state middle school chorus in 2013 and has been selected for the all-state high school chorus this year.

He has competed in the Salisbury Guitar Festival twice; in 2013, he won for best performance of a work by a living composer. Last year, he was awarded first place in the 13- to 16-year-old category.

Also last year, he participated in the development program sponsored by the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Canada. A representative of the conservatory visited Salisbury, listened to Gray play the guitar and judged his performance.

A few days later, we got my scores through the mail," Gray said. A month or two later, we learned that they were the highest scores of anyone on any instrument in Maryland. And a while later, we learned that they were the highest scores of anyone in the nation."

In October, Gray performed in a session with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, who was visiting Washington College in Chestertown, Md. He also performed for the members of the quartet in a master class.

Gray, who is a high school sophomore, hopes to attend the New England Conservatory in Boston. (The school, which happens to be the oldest independent school of music in the U.S., offers piano as well as guitar, so no hint there as to which direction Gray is leaning.) He wants to have a career as a musician, teaching as well as performing.

My house has been filled with music my whole life," he said. It is the center of my life. There's nothing like making music and creating something out of nothing. And there's nothing like performing for an audience and making a person feel a certain way. I love it."

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.