Osprey Profile

Kelly Green

Altamonte Springs • Jazz Studies

I had yet to win a single music competition before I entered the Jazz Studies program in the Department of Music Flagship at the University of North Florida.


That didn’t last long, though, thanks to the outstanding music faculty at UNF. My self-confidence has grown along with the number of awards I’ve received. Just this summer, I won the overall talent competition of the Generation Next Youth Talent competition at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. My experience at UNF has been a turning point in my life, and I am becoming a more confident musician every day.


When I was a student at Lake Brantley High School, I heard several UNF faculty members when they played at All-State in Tampa. Seeing their talent made me realize something — they had a lot to teach, and I had a lot to learn. I spoke with them, and they were really approachable and willing to speak with me about the UNF music department.


Shortly after that, I visited the campus and was drawn in by its natural beauty. I looked at a few other universities, but none could compare to UNF — my first choice.


Growing up around music, I always wanted to be a musician. I even had my first performance when I was seven years old. My dad is a very talented bass player who has been a great example of what an outstanding musician should look like. We’ve always had a studio in our home, and the music business has always been a part of my life. I never really considered doing anything else. However, I lacked confidence in my musical abilities and didn’t have a good practice technique. My professors at UNF taught me how to practice correctly, which proved to the turning point in my musical evolution.


Without a doubt, the most transformational experience for me has been the one-on-one instruction I’ve received from UNF music faculty, especially Lynne Arriale for piano and Michelle Amato for voice. They have become more than professors to me. They have helped me grow as a person and mature as a musician. I’ve also been able to perform extensively as a member of the Presidential Trio and in UNF combos and jazz bands every semester.


All of this experience has bolstered my self-confidence. It prompted me to enter the Generation Next Youth Talent competition at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival this summer.


I entered at the last minute and was honored when I was selected as one of the 15 semi-finalists to perform at the festival. I was humbled to be one of three finalists. I was blown away when I won the overall competition with my unique Herbie Hancock composition of “Eye of the Hurricane.” I didn’t have high hopes for winning when I first entered. However, my UNF training helped me impress the judges against some very talented competition.


In the past few years, I’ve done more in the music world than I could’ve imagined when I was younger. I’ve formed my own trio and currently play at many different venues in the Jacksonville and Orlando areas. Ultimately, I’d like to form a jazz group in New York City, record a live album, tour the world and teach jazz students. I don’t know whether these goals can be fully satisfied, but UNF is giving me a good shot at making it all happen.


My experience at UNF has been a turning point in my life. I expect to graduate in 2012 and then plan to pursue a doctorate. One day, I want teach at the university level and continue performing, much like the talented UNF faculty who helped guide me.


I recently taught at the UNF Music Camp and the UNF Piano Camp. I had so much fun teaching the students because they looked up to me and were so eager to learn more. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do.


I want to be a professor and give other students the type of guidance that I received at UNF.

Green, Kelly inside

My experience at UNF has been a turning point in my life.