At Pinkerton, Claussen earned top alto saxophone scores in both the New Hampshire Jazz and Classical All-State festivals in 2012. He also spends summer time participating in summer arts festivals and travels all over New England to take lessons or music theory studies with some of the region’s top instructors.
Adams said it was no surprise that his student wanted to go national.
“I was not very surprised,” he said. “Adam is well above his age level in his musicianship and perhaps more importantly, his focus.”
Adam takes his talents out of the high school band room, too. He took up arranging and found joy in taking on his own compositions. His listening favorites include the big band sounds of Count Basie, and more contemporary saxophone talents like Chris Potter and Branford Marsalis.
He performs with a big variety of area musicians, taking on private gigs with other jazz combos. Around that and his busy junior class workload, he also finds time to take lessons on saxophone, piano and clarinet.
“The aural tradition of music being passed down and around from one player to the next is arguably the best way to learn how to play, and that is what Adam is doing,” Adams said. “He has a desire to learn, grow and perform and has the work ethic to get him to wherever he wishes to be as a musician.
After high school, Claussen hopes to continue his music education. In the meantime, it’s the jazz and his saxophone that keep him going.
He describes the feeling as being able to listen to a piece of music and just knowing that’s what brings a smile.
“You listen to a piece of music you like and you hear a part, and it just gives you that awesome feeling,” he said. “Jazz does so much for me. There’s not much else. This is what I am best at.”