For Justin Langham, choosing to study at the Moores School of Music (MSM) was a life-changing decision. Langham moved to Houston from a small town in Alabama in 2013 to start work on a master’s degree, and quickly found a new home through the community at MSM. Since graduating with his Master of Music in 2015, he has developed a professional career in Houston in a variety of disciplines that has taken him all over the country and abroad. Plus, he’s recently returned to his alma mater to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
Learn more about Langham and his musical journey at UH in our Q&A below!
Where has your music career taken you since graduation?
Since graduating in 2015, I have been able to perform across the country and abroad, including trips overseas to Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I’ve also been fortunate to find many opportunities across multiple facets of the incredibly vast and diverse music community that Houston has to offer. I am director of music at Grace United Methodist Church in the Heights, have taught at Lone Star College Montgomery and am a founding member of the musical duo Deux Voix with organist Stephen Distad. I like to stay busy, but am still able to continue to teach, play and compose as much as my schedule allows!
What’s one thing that has surprised you about a career in the arts?
I wasn’t overly surprised, but I definitely underestimated how much self-promotion and knowledge of finance and other business skills are necessary in a variety of music role, especially when the majority of your work involves some form of self-employment. If I could go back in time, I’d try to become more versed in things like building websites and various tax forms!
What accomplishments in your career are you most proud of?
I have gotten to do some very cool things so far in the early stages of my career that I never thought I would get to do, but I feel proudest — and luckiest — to be able to have a full-time music career in a place like Houston. It’s often impressed on aspiring musicians early on how difficult it is to make it in music, and it’s a daunting feeling to travel down a path that isn’t always clear and can be filled with doubt. I, along with many musicians I have known, have felt these kinds of emotions when going through school and entering the professional world, but it makes me appreciate any opportunity I am given that much more.
What specific skills did you learn at the Moores School of Music that you find most valuable in your career now?
Being at Moores taught me many things, but the largest takeaway is the importance of building relationships and being mindful of how you treat people. It matters that a person is qualified and that they can do the job they were hired to do, but it is more important that they are also a professional in the way they work with others.
What’s coming up for you in the future that we should watch for?
In the fall, I will be traveling for engagements in Charlotte, Indianapolis and Pennsylvania, as well as a few concerts here in Houston. I am also traveling to Leipzig, Germany next year as a part of the Moores to Mendelssohn exchange program, where I will study for six months at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. I plan to travel and perform in Europe quite a bit as well.