From: Aurora, CO
Job Title: Freelancer
Favorite Drink: Skinny Vanilla Latte
"The first year being at USC was rough. It’s frustrating knowing what you are capable of, but you can’t do it at the moment. I didn’t really realize it that the time, but I was going through a massive embouchure change and every time I put the trumpet to my face nothing spoke. I would get so nervous that I couldn’t get my lips to stop shaking. But, there were 3 things that helped me get past it though. 1) Boyd [Hood] was so relaxed and comfortable and confident in what he was saying that I trusted it. I didn’t question what I was being told and I committed to it. 2) I had the right mix of personalities in my quintet my first year. Maybe it was just because they heard me at my worst, but everyone in that group that year was so relaxed and supportive, to the point where I feel like I made really good friends that year. That was something that hadn’t happened in a long time, because teaching is really lonely. You know a lot of people, but there is a different relationship between a teacher and a student. But the most important, 3) I found that in my darkest times is when I’m making the most progress. I used to think that that was just some motivational BS, but when I struggle the most on trumpet, within a couple of weeks I always have some huge breakthrough. It was hard for me to accept that that was true, because I’m very cynical in that sense, but yeah. Those three things."
Advice to other musicians: "Finding a new piece is helpful. Maybe this is what puts me in the Generation X category more than anything, but I can’t buy music on iTunes. I’ll sneak away to Amoeba Records any chance I get. I don’t have to think twice about spending money on CDs because I know that there’s the potential that something will just grab me. Having just that new bit of music always whatever you hear. The other thing is that if you want to make forward progress, just start doing that things that feel weird. Just switch up the order of how you do things, or whatever you’re working on. Motivation has never been my problem, but I also taught for long enough and had enough days where I didn’t get to play that playing was only what I wanted to do. Imagine a world where you don’t get to play. God, it was hard. "
Inspirational Quote: “Just breathe and play”-Boyd Hood
Do you think inspiration is integral to music?: "Yes, but I think it is dependent on what the inspiration is. As a musician, for me anyway, what’s inspiring is possibility. Sometimes, you could walk into a chamber ensemble and you just lock in and have a magical moment. Or when you walk on stage, and you could have had the worst day in your life but the piano player just bursts to life. I’ve page turned for a lot of people, but Bryan Pezzone would be sitting there, just thinking and working things out, but it was just so impressive to me. You can just see that he transcends himself, no matter what he’s playing, in a way that is inspiring. Yeah, just the possibility of different things in music is inspiring."