The staff at ROOTS is pleased to welcome its newest mentor, Nathan Sepulveda. He’ll be providing piano, guitar and bass and says there’s no job he’d rather have than teaching! Welcome, Nathan.
Nathan Sepulveda (piano • guitar • bass) is a composer, arranger, guitarist and pianist, and a teacher currently pursuing a Master’s in Commercial Composition and Arranging at Belmont University. “My ideal student is like me in that the moment I began playing music, I’ve never stopped. I learn because I truly love it, and that’s what motivated me to be a good musician.”
Nathan’s pursuit of music has led to him some amazing accomplishments early in his career, including composing for the Pacific Southwest Chapter Emmy-nominated short film “Disinfection,” directed by Alxeandra Parral.
He’s also served as co-engineer and provided string arrangements, keyboard and guitar parts for several songwriters and groups. One songwriter, Janusz Supernak, for whom he served as arranger was nominated for a Fredyrck (the Polish version of the Grammys).
“I am most passionate about writing music, also making other people’s songs better as a cowriter or arranger.” He’s not only passionate about making people’s music better, but their lives as well. A big passion of Nathan’s is mentoring young people. In 2011, he was named Big Brother of the Year by Big Brothers Big Sisters. He and his wife now also help financially support ministries at a disabled children’s orphanage in Guatemala.
Graduating Valedictorian from San Diego State University in 2015 in undergrad Music, Nathan knows the value of being self-motivated, even if you’re not attaining perfection. “My ideal student is self-motivated,” he says. “They don’t have to the most adept, but they are passionate and always looking to learn and come to lessons excited. With that, I am best at solving technical problems for my students such as breaking down a difficult strumming pattern on guitar, explaining why a chord progression ‘works’, helping adjust fingerings on a difficult piano passage.”
It all comes down to a joy of learning and playing. “I love giving students the ability to express themselves on an instrument. I can sit for hours on my own just playing, and I am so happy I can share that joy with young students. As a Christian and worship musician, I can also teach kids how to glorify God with their skills they are learning in our lessons.”
Q&A with Nathan:
Where do you look for creative inspiration?
Other musicians that are better than me. Listening and analyzing classical music to find new musical ideas for myself, analyzing jazz solos. I’m actually very methodical.
What is your favorite down-time activity to reduce stress?
Hiking, just spending time and talking to my wife.
Of all the places you have traveled, which is your favorite?
Top of the Rocky Mountains was amazing!
Give us an idea of your sense of humor.
My best friends and I have had a group text for almost 2 years where we almost exclusively communicate with memes from the internet.
What type of music did you grow up listening to? Is it the same now? What changed?
I was a weird kid and didn’t like music until I was 12. I LOVED Led Zeppelin and classical piano music. Now, I listen to a ton of worship music, a variety of classical, some jazz like Bill Evans, Stevie Wonder, 80’s and modern synth pop, Red Hot Chili Peppers, classic blues rock and electric blues and Stevie Ray Vaughn, indie stuff like Daughter, movie scores, Snarky Puppy and Jacob Collier, John Mayer, folk stuff like Civil Wars, Josh Garrels, Fleet Foxes and The Head and the Heart. Needless to say, I like a lot of stuff more now! I just expanded my interests as a grew up.
What is your favorite all time movie and why?
The Dark Knight. Really good plot, excellent sense of atmosphere and mise-en-scéne to capture Gotham. Pretty good score, too.
If you could meet one author, performer who would it be and what wold you ask them?
Fyodor Dostoevsky, how did he understand emotions in such a profound and deep way?
What is your favorite quote?
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
What is your favorite Bible verse and how does it speak to you?
Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus’s kingdom power began then, and it still continues today! He is freeing people, healing people, and loving people even now. I think that is amazing.