Friday, June 27, 2008

Trumpet Week at OU

Nestled in the gentle hills of eastern Ohio is a jewel of Americana - THEE OHIO UNIVERSITY. The city of Athens is just what one might envision for the ideal college experience - a busy university life in a quaint small town setting. Atmosphere is everything. This has to be one of the best college venues in the country. But alas. So many colleges, and only one life!

This week was the annual Trumpet Workshop led by Professor John Schlabach. Eighteen trumpet students, mainly high schoolers, were privileged to receive non stop info on all things pertaining to trumpet basics. This was THEE clinic on proper use of air. Generous samples of many top-notch trumpeters were played and discussed. Daily sessions were geared to instilling correct technique mixed with the musical mindset of past greats Arnold Jacobs and Vince Cichowicz.

Mr. Schabach is a rare gift to the teaching profession. He has the exuberance and love of music that has not lessened with time. His excellent rapport with students, communication skills and thorough knowledge of the business made for a fun week of learning. He started the week with a fine recital displaying mature musicianship and character. His grad assistant then sung through a beautifully effortless performance of the Tartini Concerto. The recital demonstrated getting it done. The next day we settled in to talk about how it's done.

Highlights of the conference: the look on the faces of many students as they heard recordings of Mahler 5, Maurice Andre, Gabrielli brass choirs, Mendez, Hardenberger, and many others for the first time. There were many other firsts: purchasing an Arban book, the Haydn Concerto, trying a flugelhorn, a C and an E flat trumpet, or piccolo. It was nice to see improvements happening in only a few days, and seeing them realize "I can do this. Now I know what I have to do." There was also a wonderful evening concert by the college community band on the green in the town square. Great music-making is in no way limited to just the top orchestras.

Motivation is crucial, but it can die without a daily how-to strategy. We need a good set of tools for the job. Skillful use of those tools facilitates great music-making. This week was profitable for both. "GOOD TEACHERS TEACH; GREAT TEACHERS INSPIRE!"

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