Presidential Scholar combines music and academics

For Presidential Scholar John Kossler, playing classical guitar is only one part of the composition of his academic life.

Imagine the size of a guitar suitable for a four-year-old. Now imagine Kossler strumming and plucking at those strings. Though cartoons may have been more to his liking then, Kossler is glad he practiced instead; long years of practicing helped him land a Presidential Scholarship when he came to Wake Forest last year.

“My father is a Suzuki guitar teacher, and when he started his career, my two brothers and I were his only students. While growing up, I didn’t appreciate practicing, but now I am entirely grateful for my dad’s teaching,” says Kossler, a sophomore from Winston-Salem.

The Presidential Scholarships for Distinguished Achievement are awarded annually to students with exceptional talent in art, dance, debate, music and theatre. Scholars don’t have to major in the area of their talent, but are expected to continue to pursue their talent and contribute to the campus community.

“I play as much as I can and almost always take advantage of opportunities to perform,” Kossler says. “One thing I’ve learned is how to divide my time between practicing and studying. The academics here are tough, so setting priorities is necessary. My classical guitar performances have helped boost my confidence. Playing has also helped improve my self-discipline.”

Kossler has performed on campus during Presidential Scholarship weekend, when prospective Presidential Scholars visit Wake Forest. He’s also had the opportunity to learn from Chilean classical guitar virtuoso Carlos Perez and will perform with him during the fall choral concert on Oct. 22.

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