March 14, 2020

Fourteen on the 14th with Dr. Margaret Tung

By: SEC Staff
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

You know the SEC. You know its 14 member universities, their school colors, chants, and slogans. But do you know the people? The faculty? The staff? The students? The administrators? Maybe you caught a glimpse of someone on the sidelines of a game or in a campus building, and wondered, “Who’s that?” You’re curious, and you want more insight. More stories, more advice, and more favorites. Well, we have you covered.

This month we’re featuring Dr. Margaret Tung, Visiting Assistant Professor of Horn in the University of Kentucky’s School of Music. A native Chicagoan, Dr. Tung is the first woman to work in a faculty position in the brass department at UK. And, she’s using her extensive performance experience and lessons learned as a new mom to show her HornCATS how music can influence the world.

Keep reading to learn more about Dr. Tung in our March edition of Fourteen on the 14th.

1. Are you a morning or a night person?

I’m a morning person now. Because my daughter has to go to bed early, I’ve shifted everything. She’s 11 months, so I wake up early with her.

2. How would your best friend describe you?

Loyal, funny, and always up for an adventure! I think adventures are different now that I have an infant, but I went to Chicago this past December, and  there’s an outdoor market in Cincinnati I like to visit because they have a great small-batch chocolates place there!

3. How do you define leadership?

It is leading by example. I have to make sure I’m holding myself accountable in the same way I hold my students accountable. I’m showing my students what being on time and prepared and concert-ready means. If you don’t show leadership, nobody will follow you.

 4. What is your philosophy toward work/life?

At this point, it’s balance. It is balancing being a working mother and having a family. I’m a better teacher now that I have a daughter. I’m more productive now because I can focus and prioritize high impact things — and I don’t get stuck on the small things. I’ve also learned it’s okay to bring some of that humanity in my life to my students.

5. What keeps you up at night?

Honestly? My baby. I was really concerned about being a working mother because you have to work like you don’t have children. I haven’t slept through the night in months, but your body adjusts. You can do it and do it well. You can be fulfilled working and being a mom. It is possible. Especially in the music field — even though our careers start much later.

6. Do you have a routine?

I like routines, but the lifestyle of a musician doesn’t always lend itself to routine. We have concerts on the weekends that might end at 10 p.m., and I have to be a morning person! It’s really about being flexible.

7. What does education mean to you?

Opportunity. Education opens doors that otherwise wouldn’t be there. My highest degree is a doctorate and I by no means know everything, but I know how to research and find things out for myself.

8. What are you currently binge-watching?

I like Shark Tank! I enjoy the creativity of it. I like the idea of a small business owner shooting to stardom. In music it’s very easy to go from zero to hero. You’re freelancing and then suddenly you have this big opportunity. I think it parallels music in that way.

9. Who is your biggest inspiration?

The person I thought of first was Dale Clevenger.  He was Principal Horn of the Chicago Symphony for more than 40 years. He was my teacher and mentor, and I grew up hearing him play. He’s been a huge inspiration in my music career.

10. How do you want to be remembered?

I would love my legacy to be in my students. Their quality of artistry, performance, teaching, and character.

11. If I spend 24 hours in Lexington, where do I have to visit?

Go get fried chicken at Grimes’s! There’re probably cooler things to do, but Kentucky really does have great fried chicken.

Image result for grimes kentucky chicken lexington

Image Courtesy of USA Restaurants

12. What is your pet peeve?

Mediocrity. One of my teachers said, “There’s always room at the top.” That’s what I strive for. You have to give it your all as a musician and go for it.

13. How do you handle pressure?

Ultimately, I try to remember the scope of what I’m really doing. If I’m playing a concert, even though the pressure is mounting, we always say in jest that “no one is going to die if you miss a note.” What we’re doing is for the love of music and to share our art with a community. I always tell my students we don’t work for a living. We play!

Dr. Tung with members of the UK Faculty Brass Quintet

14. Who would you ask 14 questions to?

My UK Brass Faculty Quintet colleagues! They’re amazing friends, and I’m lucky to work with three people I respect and admire and have fun with. The bond we have is really unique, and it’s very special. [To clarify, one member of the Quintet is a graduate student, in addition to the four full-time faculty members.]

For more on the University of Kentucky Faculty Brass Quintet, visit our article on one of their performances HERE.

We’ll be back on April 14 with 14 more SEC questions and answers! In the meantime, check out one of Dr. Tung’s performances below!