“Good evening, Kev. Suppose massive.” His father smiled, tucking him in and shutting the door. The subsequent day, 13-year-old Kevin Costello III arrived for the primary time to MIT. However his go to wasn’t for the common campus tour. Costello, a three-time Rubik’s Dice nationwide champion, had come to compete.
Rigidity grew within the competitors room as the ultimate spherical approached. Costello knew he had lower than six seconds to resolve the dice drawing from the 300 fixing algorithms he had memorized. To remain calm, he turned towards a dependable supply of consolation — music. Popping in his headphones, he felt his chest calm down as he gained the arrogance to drag off one other win.
At present, Costello is a senior learning each arithmetic and music. Although he knew he beloved STEM and puzzles from a younger age, it took time for Costello to acknowledge the significance of music in his life.
“I picked up trombone in fourth grade however was by no means very critical about it. As I entered highschool, a whole lot of my mates had been passionate musicians that impressed me to start out working towards extra,” he says. “Ultimately, we began a jazz band to play gigs round city. We most likely didn’t sound superb, but it surely kindled my love and appreciation for enjoying music.”
Upon arriving to MIT, Costello struggled to resolve how he wished to include music into his faculty expertise. His resolution grew to become clear when he selected his mixed main. “I assumed for a bit that I’d simply do math. However as I took extra music lessons, I noticed it was vital to me to have a music main as properly. I wanted each in my life. I used to be fortunate that the mathematics main was versatile in that approach,” he says.
Costello grew extra assured together with his resolution after every new music class. Programs like 21M.226 (Jazz Historical past) and 21M.292 (Music of Indonesia) opened his eyes to elements of music he had by no means thought of earlier than. “I grew to become launched to musicology, which seems to be at music by the lenses of society and tradition,” he recollects. “It was all so new and attention-grabbing to me.”
Costello continued with music efficiency by becoming a member of MIT Competition Jazz Ensemble (FJE). He found the group after watching their legendary performance with Grammy-winning musician Jacob Collier. By means of FJE, he met different passionate musicians, a lot of whom would turn out to be his closest mates. Costello has been with the group ever since and presently serves as its co-president.
Within the function, he has inspired members to have extra conversations concerning the bigger influence of jazz. “We’ve mentioned vital subjects, similar to how jazz pertains to sexism, gender, and Black American tradition. These subjects got here up lots in my lessons, so I discovered it essential to speak about as an ensemble too,” he says.
When he isn’t learning or rehearsing songs, Costello enjoys making use of his creativity to composing music of his personal. The composition course of permits his pursuits in arithmetic and music to unite. “The 2 require an identical mindset. I’ll have an thought for a tune after which I’ll have to consider the place I can take it subsequent, identical to in a math drawback,” explains Costello. A few of his accomplished items have been performed by his friends in FJE. Costello loves watching his fellow musicians give his piece their all throughout opening evening.
Faculty has been a time for Costello to broaden his ardour for Rubik’s Cubes as properly. He’s presently the president of MIT Rubik’s Cube Club. His new focus has been educating cubing to native center college college students. Costello tries to encourage children by sharing his story — how he went from watching how-to movies on YouTube to finally changing into the 4×4 nationwide champion. In his message, he by no means fails to share his father’s recommendation of dreaming massive.
Costello has watched his journey with cubing come full circle. He has organized two main Rubik’s Dice competitions held at MIT, identical to the one he attended as a child. The competitions have continued to introduce him to rivals from everywhere in the world, a lot of whom are musicians.
“I’ve really met a whole lot of fellow jazz gamers by cubing, which stunned me at first,” he says. “However what I’ve seen is that individuals concerned about cubing are typically fairly passionate individuals, which extends into different hobbies too.”
His mixed pursuits additionally come alive by Costello’s analysis. The work, referred to as computational musicology, applies automated strategies to uncover mysteries underlying Thirteenth-century French liturgy music. His pursuit was impressed by taking 21M.220 (Medieval and Renassance Music), the place he was one among solely 4 college students.
“The small surroundings helped me actually get to know my professor, Michael Cuthbert, who advises the venture I work on now,” he explains. “I had no thought of the lasting influence the category would have on me.”
After classifying over 2,000 polyphonic works from this period, Costello has discovered new proof relating to the historical past of “phrase portray,” a way the place musical sound mimics the tune’s lyrics. Though the approach was beforehand thought to have arisen through the sixteenth century, his evaluation reveals phrase portray may need had earlier origins. The discovering helps uncover the story of how music has advanced from the previous to at the moment.
“It’s attention-grabbing to me to listen to how musical guidelines have reworked [over the centuries]. It’s additionally a reminder that now we have a lot extra to discover,” he says.
Wanting past his upcoming commencement, Costello is presently on the job hunt. He hopes to search out extra music-related analysis alternatives sooner or later, though he says it may be a distinct segment discipline. Regardless of the sphere’s competitors, Costello cites this as his dream profession. “If I may be doing music analysis sooner or later, that will make me very blissful. I might love to assist discover new methods to mix know-how and music.”
Whether or not he pursues music analysis professionally or not, Costello plans to at all times channel his creativeness and creativity by his passions. He’s presently engaged on an idea for an interactive Rubik’s Dice that performs music. “If the dice had been very scrambled, the music could be equally eccentric,” he explains. “As you get nearer to fixing it, the music would even out and acquire consonance.”
That very same interior spark may even proceed to search out an outlet by Costello’s musical compositions. The storytelling course of lets him share his love for dreaming massive another way. By means of delicate harmonies, Costello’s message to his viewers is evident.
“I attempt to set the listener up with some misleading measures. They get these concepts about methods they suppose the piece will go, possibly that it’ll calm down. Then comes the half I discover most intriguing: Give them every part you’ve bought.”