Homeschool Graduate on American Idol

Scott MacIntyre was recently chosen as one of American Idol’s top 36 contestants for the 2009 season following his rendition of Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes.” This 22-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, has been blind since birth and homeschooled from kindergarten through high school. A brief look at Scott’s resume will show that this contestant is not the typical “Hollywood wannabe.” To describe him as being incredibly gifted and talented is almost an understatement!

Scott began playing piano by ear at age 3, and though classically trained in Scott MacIntyrethe Suzuki method, Scott has written and performed in genres spanning pop, rock, punk, jazz, and classical. He received many local and national awards for piano, composition, and vocal performance. Scott has performed as guest soloist with symphony orchestras, as well as playing at the Kennedy Center and has independently released six full-length CD’s.

After graduating summa cum laude from Arizona State University at age 19 (he started when he was 15) with a BM in Piano Performance, he was nominated “Outstanding Graduate” by the College of Fine Arts. A Marshall Scholar and Fulbright Scholar, Scott has studied in London where he obtained his masters degree in Performance from the Royal College of Music and Royal Holloway University. He was accepted to both Oxford and Cambridge for further graduate-level studies. Scott also studied on scholarship at Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Universitat Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Besides his academic achievements, Scott has a variety of notable extracurricular experiences under his belt. Scott was a special guest on Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power” show at the Crystal Cathedral in California. He was welcomed to the White House by First Lady Laura Bush. He frequently donates performances for conventions, churches, charities, and athletic events (Phoenix Suns and Diamondbacks), and enjoys bringing his music to all types of audiences.

As if that’s not enough, Scott travels around the country as one of the MacIntyre Family Singers along with his mom Carole, brother Todd (19), and sister Katelyn (16). They perform beautiful four-part harmonies in styles ranging from acappella jazz and classical, to Southern gospel and Christian pop, as well as Broadway show tunes. “It kind of started as (a side project), but we do more and more shows as a family,” Scott says. Dad accompanies them but he doesn’t sing.

Scott’s other interests include performing in community theatre and musicals, hiking and skiing with a sighted guide, computer programming, and law. He has participated in the YMCA “Youth in Government” program in elected positions as President of the Senate, Senate Majority Leader, and was honored to receive the “Outstanding First Year Senator” award at the Arizona State Capitol for excellence in debate. Scott is a remarkable guy who has accomplished more great things in his youth than most fully sighted people do in their whole lives!

Scott gives homeschooling much of the credit for his success. The flexibility of homeschooling allowed him to practice for hours at the piano each day. He was able to progress at his own pace and fine tune his God-given abilities, while learning to work hard and with persistence to overcome his disability. As for Scott’s personality, he is likeable, charismatic, and not at all arrogant. The fact that he comes from a nice Christian family is a plus. Although I don’t personally approve of “Idol worship,” I think American Idol could really use this talented young man, his message and his disability to promote what a worthy role model looks like. Visit his website at .

P.S. You may recall that Jordin Sparks, the American Idol winner in 2007, was also a homeschooler. (She opted for homeschooling in high school to allow her more time to focus on singing.) Jordin was only 16 years old when she first appeared on American Idol and she made quite an impression with her many endearing qualities – beautiful smile, attractive, Christian, churchgoer, humble. When Jordin won she thanked God, mom and dad. Residing in Glendale, Arizona, she was the first contestant from the Phoenix area who made it to the final 12 on American Idol. Let’s hope Scott MacIntyre is able to do the same! Judging by all of the positive comments I’ve seen on the internet, he already has quite a following of fans rooting for him!

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