Harrigan said she loaded her schedule with Advanced Placement and Honors courses during her freshman and sophomore years, as well as some online classes, to put her in a position to finish ahead of schedule. She said about midway through her sophomore year graduating early became a reality she was ready to embrace.
“I am excited to go to college and I know what I want to be doing,” Harrigan said. “I am kind of done with high school and I want to finish and move on to different things.”
What Harrigan wants to be doing is concentrating on her piano abilities, a skill she has been perfecting since age 4. She has been working with a private instructor for about nine years and Harrigan said her love for piano stems from her immediate family.
“My parents put my brother and sister though music lessons, and they were a little bit older (than her), and so I thought my older brother and sister were the coolest people ever. I wanted to be like them so I started playing piano too,” she said. “They both moved on. My brother plays trumpet and my sister played harp for a while, and I really liked piano so I stuck with that for now.”
Harrigan participates in a couple recitals each year and she played in the orchestra her freshman year during Reed’s production of Hairspray. She said her practice regimen consists of mastering a song given to her by her teacher and then learning places where she can add stylistic variations to make the piece more unique.
Harrigan said she plans to travel to Nampa, Idaho after graduating to attend Northwest Nazarene University where she will major in music with an emphasis in piano. She said her options are open for a piano career, concert pianist and church-worship pianist among them, and added that she is in no rush to define that career.
“When I started thinking about college, which was about sophomore year, I didn’t know what I wanted to study,” Harrigan said. “So I thought I have been doing piano for so long that maybe I could do piano for one year and then I could figure out what I am doing. It wasn’t until this year that I thought this could be my career and this is what I could be doing for the rest of my life. I haven’t really decided (a future career), but I want to do something with piano and I guess I have four years to figure that out.”
Despite her immersion in the world of complex piano music, Harrigan said she does not limit herself to only piano music outside of practice. The music on her iPod may surprise you.
“I actually like to listen to a lot of things,” Harrigan said. “I can listen to dubstep, and I also like piano guys. I listen to classical music as well. I am not a big fan of country music, but I don’t hate country music like some people seem to. I like stuff that has a lot of bass in it or drums or if it has a really cool cello piece, I think those are pretty cool.”
Harrigan said she is winning the battle to keep her grades up while juggling her commitments. She said much of her success is attributed to cutting out electronic distractions and using her free time for crafting, knitting, quilting and various art projects.
“I have to cut out some things,” she said. “I usually don’t watch a lot of TV and I don’t really go on the computer a whole lot, so I have cut out a lot of electronic things to make time for homework and piano and other hobbies and stuff.”