The UW-Madison School of Music
As a college music professor, I think my main job is to help my students achieve their full potential, no matter the musical style or career path they may choose to pursue. I have had students embark on successful careers as teachers, performers and musical entrepreneurs (music managers, recording artists and concert promotors). Over the years my students have been interested in studying orchestral music, solo repertoire, chamber music, jazz, Latin, funk, free-improvisation, Dixieland, progressive rock and more. I enjoy this variety and feel continually challenged and inspired by the ever changing cultural and musical landscape that musicians face. As a teacher, I am thrilled when my students learn from me, but even more so when I learn from them, which seems to always be the case. Ideally, there is no end to the growth and evolution of a musician, and that's part of what makes teaching important to me.
I am dedicated to my students and offer them a lot of face time: weekly one hour lessons, studio class and chamber coachings, numerous independent studies courses, master‑classes, sectionals, recital coachings and other musical interactions. In any given week, students could have as many as 6 to 8 hours of contact time with me in a variety of settings. I feel I offer a highly energized and engaging environment to study music.
There are many exciting things being offered here at the School of Music: in the Trombone Studio, in the Brass Area, in the school at large and across the entire UW-Madison campus and city of Madison.
Check out what an awesome place this is to learn, perform and live!
The Trombone Studio
As a brief description, I'll tell you that my studio is small. The studio size ranges from 10‑12 players from year to year, never more. This means all of my students get to take part in large ensembles, jazz groups and chamber ensembles each and every semester. The small studio size also means that trombone students in the studio (Performance and Music Education majors, Undergrads and Grads) study with me, not a teaching assistant. Every trombone major gets a weekly one-hour lesson, and we all meet once a week for a studio class that covers a variety of topics, including solo repertoire, audition taking, job interviews, resume building, style, technique and musical expression. We do a lot of playing and listening, and frequently host guest artists. I try to make the weekly studio class exciting, with a supportive, collegial atmosphere. Performance is a key ingredient to my approach, so I encourage all of my students to play as often as possible- in recitals, chamber groups, large ensembles and jazz groups. The more you play, the more you grow! I teach students at the Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral levels, in all styles of music.
Low Brass Ensemble
We have a Low Brass Ensemble, which is a combination Trombone Choir and Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble. This group rehearses on a weekly basis and performs in concert at least once each semester, as both a large Low Brass Ensemble and two like-ensemble groups, the Trombone Choir and the Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble. We play original compositions, transcriptions and arrangements of all kinds of music. I encourage members of the group to compose or arrange for the ensembles, so we tend to play a lot of original music. If you are a trombonist who wants to get more time on the euphonium, or a tuba or euphonium player who wants to play tenor or bass trombone, this ensemble provides a great opportunity to double.
Check out this video of the UW-Madison Low Brass Ensemble performing with Sinister Resonance at the High Noon Saloon- March 2015:
I am interested in what makes each student tick, and want to know their musical tastes, career goals and life aspirations. Since I do not have a cookie-cutter approach that produces the exact same kind of student every time at graduation, getting to know the personality and musical interests of each of my students is key. In experimenting with how I teach, I have found that a focus on grounded fundamentals and technique, combined with a flexibility towards expression works best, and this is where the Independent Study model comes in. I have had more and more students enroll in independent studies courses to research diverse musical topics. If my students are interested in subjects like electro-acoustic music and technology, Latin jazz and Cuban music, Dixieland and Early Jazz, solo, chamber and orchestral repertoire or rock, contemporary styles and free improvisation, then we can embark on an in depth course of study that makes the learning experience highly relevant to each student's career path. These one semester independent studies courses include coverage of selected readings, listening assignments, written projects, a lecture presentation and a final project that culminates in a public performance. I have found this personal approach to musical content to be highly successful for my teaching, as well as inspiring for my students.
The Brass Area
Our Brass Area is comprised of members of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet: Alex Noppe- trumpet, Daniel Grabois- horn, Tom Curry- tuba and myself on trombone. We place an emphasis on chamber music, as we feel it plays a strong role in improving all the important skills of being an outstanding musician. All brass faculty coach chamber music groups on a weekly basis. We also have six hours of open rehearsal with the Wisconsin Brass Quintet each week, where students can observe our rehearsal technique and concert preparation, study the scores, look over our shoulders at our parts and engage with us as we prepare the most demanding brass chamber music out there.
In addition to chamber music, the brass area is active in conducting sectionals with the brass sections of the symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber orchestra and the UW Jazz Orchestra. We also have regular guest artists giving master-classes and performances. Our students perform often on studio recitals, solo recitals and juries, all of which are observed and critiqued by the Brass Faculty. Check out the Brass Area webpage here: Brass Area
Playing opportunities at the School of Music
Whether you are a music major or a non-major, we have lots of opportunities to perform here at the UW-Madison School of Music. In addition to chamber music, solo recitals and the Low Brass Ensemble, we have a Symphony Orchestra, a Wind Ensemble, a Chamber Orchestra, a Concert Band, a variety of jazz ensembles (The UW Jazz Orchestra, The Blue Note Ensemble, The Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, The Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble, The Jazz Standards Ensemble, The Black Music Ensemble and The Jazz Composer's Septet), and a Contemporary Music Ensemble. We also have a Marching Band and three different University Bands. There are also many student run groups on campus, in a variety of musical styles.
Musical Life in Madison
Madison is an amazing place to perform and listen to live music. Here on campus we have the Union Theatre, Union South and Der Rathskellar at the Memorial Union- all great places to perform, listen to live music and hang out. There are also many venues here in town, from large concert halls to small clubs. The Overture Center is home to the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Madison Symphony Orchestra, as well as the prime spot for International touring events, like World-Class Symphony Orchestras, Leading Jazz, Rock and Popular Artists, Broadway productions and more. Madison has a thriving local jazz and rock scene with numerous clubs, restaurants and pubs that feature live music on a nightly basis. Many of these clubs have weekly jams where locals can go on stage and play with the house band. There are also numerous alternative places to hear live music: house concerts, basement concerts and parking garages host musicians of all stripes, making music at all hours of the day. If the enormous amount of musical activity on the UW-Madison campus doesn't keep you busy enough, the musical life in the city of Madison will more than keep you going.
VISITING THE UW-MADISON CAMPUS AND MY STUDIO
SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND STUDIO VISIT
If you are considering study in my trombone studio and you'd like to check out what's going on here on campus, be sure to send me an e-mail so we can find the best day and time for your visit. We have a lot of activities that you can observe: lessons with current students, our weekly studio class, open Wisconsin Brass Quintet rehearsals, large ensemble rehearsals (Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, UW Jazz Orchestra), chamber coachings, Low Brass Ensemble, student and faculty concerts and much more. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to schedule a visit, a private lesson or a meeting to discuss my studio and our program.
If you'd like to take a tour of the UW-Madison campus, please go to the Visit Bucky page.