The Virginia Tech Trumpet Festival was originally designed to continue the legacy of Professor Emeritus, Alan Bachelder, and his trumpet scholarship. This scholarship is used to help standout trumpet students at Virginia Tech met their academic goals through additional financial support. After this past weekend, I believe that this scholarship will continue to provide that support for generations to come.
Since this past weekend, I have been reminded how much I love teaching and performing in this setting. Getting the opportunity to help shape young performer's musical lives is truly a powerful feeling. Watching their eyes light up when they see an immediate change in their performance is the sole reason I made the decision to pursue this career. Not only does teaching provide that positive feeling, but also sharing repertoire with students through live performance. Being able to teach through live modeling what these students can accomplish provides the same feeling. Finding new works that students may not have been exposed to allows them to make their own choices on musical interpretation.
In addition to having the opportunity do my own teaching and performing, I was lucky to see Vincent DiMartino and Gabriel DiMartino do the same. I had never met either Vince or Gabriel before, but I was blown away by their ability to diagnose and address issues each student was facing with a simple statement. They provided quick descriptions of what they were hearing, but then gave each student several paths to fix each issue. Along with their description of the diagnosis, they modeled for them their remedies. Each had their own way of presenting the information, whether it be with more or less information in words. No matter, they each resulted back to modeling their findings and solutions to the students. This type of teaching is something that I value the most. It not only allows the students to hear what is wrong and how to fix it, but the teacher presents an aural example of the correct performance style for the student to model. This allows the student to then compare and contrast their own music products, both during the lesson and later in practice room.
The weekend culminated with a solo performance of Kevin McKee's Centennial Horizon and a featured performance with Dr. Jason Crafton and the Virginia Tech Wind Ensemble of Kevin Mckee's Under Western Skies. Both performances went fantastically and the students seemed very receptive to both pieces. Having the opportunity to do things like this make my time spent in school (and paying back the student loan debt) worth it! Finding ways to shape young musical minds creates a lasting love for the art of teaching and performing that no other outlet can accomplish. It was truly a magical weekend that created lifelong memories and new friendships.
*Below is the handout I created for my warm-up session. It is based on exercises that I have performed with previous teachers and trumpet performers. Each exercises is a duplicate of their instructions or a slight variation. Be sure to only move to the next exercise once you have become familiar and somewhat proficient at the preceding exercise. This will prevent injury and enable you to add to the knowledge learned from exercise to exercise. Take each exercise with an open mind and focus on the instructions given to each. After, you may begin to pick and choose which exercise works best for your issues and personal playing style. Feel free to contact me for more information on the exercises. I am always happy to help or redesign these exercises to better suit what you need in your own practice. *