"It was the purest form of panic," Austin Ferrari said of his most challenging experience as a per- formance musician.

Ferrari is among the talent within the Olney Central College music pro- gram. Currently a college freshman, he plays drums, bass, and creates electronic dance music (EDM) using turntables.

Ferrari began exploring music in the fourth grade. Ever since he has been guided by an inexorable passion to create.

As a high schooler, Ferrari remembers the extreme trepidation he felt when an amplifier blew up during a performance.

He said, "Everyone was shouting that they wanted refunds ... My heart just stopped ... I went into extreme panic. Parents and teachers were pushing kids off of me and my equipment."

Ferrari had to think and act quickly to find a solu- tion. He ran into the school's audio room and plugged into the sound system, while trying to think of someone who could lend him an amp.

"I did not leave school happy that night," he said. Now age nineteen, the artist says that this experi- ence helped prepare him for unexpected life changes, allowing him to evolve beyond fear and panic and to develop a skill for adaptability.

"It has helped my personal life dealing with sit- uations involving quick responses and crappy situ-ations," Ferrari said.

Music has offered inspiration and guidance in Ferrari's journey since he was a child growing up in southern Indiana.

In his formative years, he remembers often switch- ing interests, from paint- ball to Legos to trains.

"Music was thing that I always came back to," Ferrari said.

He remembers being especially moved by EDM as a kid.

"That's what helped fuel the spark of musicianship ... I wanted to make that," he said.

Ferrari originally thought he'd play clarinet as a participant in the Junior Arts Program in middle school, but was inspired otherwise when his mother planted the seed for him to play percussion.

He said, "I fell in love with it. From that moment I on, worked hard to improve and improve." The musician remembers how entertained his grandfather seemed to be while watching his grandson bang aimlessly on a drum pad during those early years of learning. Ferrari later picked up bass. "It felt natural. I knew guitar, applied guitar concepts to the bass," he said. Through years of tedious trial and error, Ferrari has become proficient as a multi-faceted musician. He spoke of the contrast in learning versus creating. Ferrari said, "It's more interesting to pull something from my own mind and put it into the world than from someone else's mind. The feel of creating something people dance to is unmatched to anything you can experience. It's really rewarding."

Those rewards have not been garnered without numerous challenges, including times when Ferrari felt like he wanted to put down the drumsticks forever.

He explained that internal challenges are constantly rising and falling, but amid these moments, he calls upon the inner resources of perseverance and adaptability.

Ferrari said, "Earlier today I was practicing, when you listen to others play and they are significantly better to you. This is hard. Day to day there are things I struggle with and eventually pick up on. It's kind of like a stab in the heart. You take the energy from the stabs and learn."

Using those 'stabs' as motivation to continually evolve as a person and artist, Ferrari is on a mis- sion to go on tour as a professional EDM artist.

"The feeling when people are dancing to music that you made is unmatched by anything. Performing it live and seeing it first- hand the good you can do for people is amazing."

Ferrari feels that the music program at OCC is grooming him to live out these dreams. He partici- pates in all OCC band ensembles, excluding the jazz combo.

As a member of the OCC Contemporary Band, Ferrari wrote a personal song about losing some friends to “poor decisions.”

He said, “I wrote a song for them and about them. We got to perform that in Contemporary Band. It was amazing to see one of my creations come alive … Like a Frankenstein moment.”

“In the midst of playing it, I heard people crying because they had similar experiences of losing close friends.”

“Every time I hear the song or play the song, it takes me to a place of sadness and remembering … “

Ferrari has had the time of his life working with Director of Bands Wade Baker and playing alongside his OCC bandmates.

“I have never had someone help me in this way … Wade has connected with my best learning method … It allows me to get an honest answer … I feel more authentically confident in my skills.”

Ferrari says he is easily on the same wavelength as his bandmates, which allows them to closely relate and create incredible things.

With wisdom beyond his nineteen years, Ferrari encourages all people – musician or not – to seek out the bigger picture beyond any trying situation, and to allow that vision to guide us forward.

He said, “Just be yourself and everything will be okay.”