January 28, 2023

Admission Blog: Meet roommates violinist Ben Hudak (BM ’24) and jazz drummer Daniel Petersen (BM ’24)

Jazz drum set major Daniel Petersen (BM ’24) from Johannesburg, South Africa, and classical violin student Ben Hudak (BM ’24) from San Francisco, California, met at MSM  and became roommates this year in MSM’s Andersen Hall residence.

“We were really good friends, basically brothers at that point already, so it was a no-brainer,” says Daniel.

Ben Hudak (left) and Daniel Petersen (right)

How did you two become roommates?

Ben: One night last year we were hanging out in Daniel’s room, and I asked him if he wanted to be my roommate for junior year, and he said yes! It was a very quick discussion.

Daniel: Ben pitched the idea to me before the end of the year, and it made sense since we were really good friends, basically brothers, at that point already, so it was a no-brainer.

Was this your first time having a roommate? How did you acclimate to living with another person?

Ben: This was not my first time having a roommate. I’ve had two since starting my freshman year at MSM in 2020; before that, for my junior and senior years of high school, I attended Interlochen Arts Academy where I also had two roommates over those years. It’s easier to acclimate to living with another person when you both have common interests as well as good communication. I’ve been fortunate to have roommates like that ever since I started living in a dorm.

Daniel: This isn’t my first time having a roommate. I had one in my sophomore year, and he was great. It was not hard to acclimate to living with Ben, because we have an open channel of communication. It makes living with someone easier when, one, they are your friend, and, two,  you can talk things out without being afraid of something going wrong.

Tell us about how each of you have set up the room; do you have different personal styles?

Ben: We kind of just left it how it was when we got here! We don’t have very different living styles. We go from messy to clean to messy to clean again a lot, but we try our best to be clean.

Daniel: Well, our room is basically like any other dorm room in Andersen Hall except for a massive drum kit taking up space.

What do you enjoy most about living together in Andersen Hall?

Ben: It’s nice to live in Andersen Hall together because, while we both share the same space and have our own areas, we still get to see our friends every day, and we also hang out in their rooms whenever we can! Also, the lobbies in Anderson Hall are a great place to meet others and make close connections, as people are always hanging around in them.

“It’s great having someone around who is in music but attacking it from a different angle. We constantly show each other stuff we have been checking out, and it allows us not to stay in a box but rather to open up our minds and ask new questions.”

(BM '24 Jazz drum set)

How has it been living in NYC? What are your favorite places to hang out in the neighborhood or city at large?

Ben: Living in New York has been great! I love the city and everything it has to offer. There are so many things to do and so many places to visit. Some of our favorite places to hang out in our neighborhood would be Riverside Park, Sakura Park, and Columbia University Campus as well as the many restaurants in our area. But outside our area, we like hanging out in Chinatown, Central Park, Bryant Park (especially at Christmas time), and Times Square!

Daniel: In the downtown area, there are a lot of spots to check out. I love going down to the Village. There are a lot of jazz spots there, as well as music in general.

What is it like living with someone from a different musical background than you? Do you two ever collaborate with each other?

Daniel: It’s great having someone who is in music but attacking it from a different angle. We constantly show each other stuff we’ve been checking out, and it allows us not to stay in a box but rather to open up our minds and ask new questions. We don’t collaborate as much as we’d like, but I’m looking forward to more!

What is your advice for someone who is moving into a college dorm like yours?

Ben: My advice for someone moving into the dorms is: don’t be nervous about living with another person or in a shared space! Everyone here is very friendly and social, so don’t be afraid to say hello to the people on your floor or to get to know them better.

Daniel: Communication is key. Being able to express yourself freely helps to eliminate any confusion, just like in life. Have fun, don’t think about it too much, and see where your journey takes you.

What are your goals for after you graduate from MSM?

Ben: My goal after graduating MSM is to hopefully have a set quartet that I can start doing gigs and competitions with. It would be wonderful to create music with people who I am close to and to share that music with everyone we get the chance to play for.

Daniel: Ultimately, my goal is to touch the world with my music. I want to be a lasting and positive influence in the world. I love music, and I find it to be such a healing force. If I can provide that in any way, then I am a happy man.

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