My Music. My Story. is one of Classical Music Indy’s initiatives to feature music, musicians, and music lovers in a fun way. We spoke with IndyGo’s Ridership Experience Specialist and member of IndyHub’s 1828 Project , Jerome Horne. Horne focuses day-to-day on encouraging mass transit in the city, and designing a better experience for IndyGo riders. Horne says his time in band class shaped his work ethic.
My Music. My Story. Jerome Horne.
Tell us about yourself!
I work for IndyGo which is a transit Agency for Indianapolis and I am the Ridership Experience Specialist. It’s kind of a brand-new role, and what I get to focus on is what our riders’ journey is like to ride transit… Thinking about how we grow ridership – How do we encourage more people to ride transit? How do we talk about the benefits of riding mass transit verses driving a car? That’s kind of my day to day. I enjoy my job quite a bit and every day is totally something different. I get to spend time outside of the office, not just behind a desk.
In my free time when I’m not at work, I enjoy bike riding, working out, hanging out in the city, and I enjoy listening to music – all types of music. Whether it’s pop, classical, rock, movie soundtracks, you name it.
Do you have a favorite song?
Oh boy…that’s definitely a hard one – there are so many genres. In terms of popular music that everyone would know I do have a favorite artist. I don’t know if I could name a favorite song but my favorite musical artist of all time is Michael Jackson. It’s hard to say, it just depends on the genre!
How has music affected your life?
In the 4th and 5th grade I started taking piano lessons. Then I joined band in middle school. I wanted to be a percussionist, and so did every middle school aged boy, but they had too many percussionists so I played trombone for about a week and then the band director said they needed French horn. Then in 8th the band director said we needed baritone players. I later learned it was called the euphonium and stayed in band through high school – I did marching band, brass choir, concert band, jazz band, and even played cymbals in indoor drumline. I really immersed myself as a total band nerd in high school, and decided my junior year that I wanted to go major in music and be a band director.
I realized as I was getting close to finishing up that I really didn’t want to teach in the classroom…I ended up working in drum corps administration with logistics and planning and membership recruitment as kind of my way to stay involved with music. In 2014 I saw an opening for Music for All here in Indy. I applied for the position and ended up getting it.
I moved from Atlanta to Indy in 2014 and ended up working in their participant relations department. I worked there for about a year and a half and I decided that maybe it wasn’t quite what I really wanted to pursue in life – I have always had interest in transportation and I began to think that I might want to switch careers.
Do you incorporate music in any way with your job?
There are very limited opportunities, but one thing I would love to do is have an official busking program. A lot of larger cities and other cities will have people who perform at subway stations or people that perform near bus stops… There are some cities that have official programs now where they promote music and the arts. I would love to try and start an official program at IndyGo where we would have people come perform at one of our central facilities downtown, our transit center…So that is definitely an idea, a dream I have… I think that would be a great way to incorporate music and culture into transit, which is another community unto itself. We have a lot of people that pass through our facilities and I think it would be a great experience for them.
How do you think music benefits the Indianapolis community?
I think Indianapolis is kind of unique in that we are the headquarters of Music for All, Drum Corp International is located here, we have the Percussive Arts Society, the American Pianist Association…It’s fascinating that there is a sort of sub-culture of music education and music located in this city. It really builds a sense of community. One example, participating in the Pride of Indy Band, you get people that were in band, people, that weren’t music majors, people that just enjoyed playing. It’s really a welcoming environment where they say come on out to everyone, even if they haven’t played in twenty years…. We were always willing to help people and bring them into that organization. It was great to see people’s eyes light up when they are back to playing in an ensemble again and, you know, just what that does for your left and right brain…can’t be quantified. It’s an enriching experience.
What do you think music has taught you?
You can become great at something if you work hard at it, understanding that there are going to be times of frustration where you want to give up – you keep wanting to try to play this one riff or this weird section of music that is not in any particular scale and has all these weird fingerings…You learn to keep persevering and push through it. I think I take those same lessons from music and apply them to other parts of other aspects of my life, now that I am in a different career field. I was out there standing on the field one July burning up to death and thought, “Do we have to rehearse this one more time?”, or sitting in a practice room and going “I’ll never get this run of notes, here.” But you know, you just keep pushing and… you get it.