Monday, March 9, 2009


David Greenhoe, the trumpet professor at The University of Iowa, will be retiring at the end of this semester. The School of Music has recently conducted a national search for someone to take his place. When I was an undergraduate student at Eastern Illinois University, I never got the chance to witness an applied faculty audition because all the events happened during ensemble rehearsals or my non-music classes, classes for which most of the teachers would not excuse an absence to attend the auditions. I took the chance to see the four finalists for the trumpet job and I have since made some observations!

When it comes to the recital part of a job audition, it's implied that you're a good player. You wouldn't have a DMA and be crappy. I think it is wise to pick music that you enjoy playing as well as music that is very standard for the instrument. In fact, I think there's nothing wrong with doing a piece on a recital simply because it's one of your favorites. The people attending the recital are simply getting an understanding of your tonal concept and your overall playing style, not trying to see if you can play an hour recital of nothing but grade 6+ literature.

In terms of interaction, I really liked it when people gave brief verbal program notes about the pieces they were playing. I am familiar with some of the standard trumpet works because of my trumpet pedagogy and literature class, but it was nice to encounter some new pieces, too. This interaction with the audience makes the player seem more human and not like a trumpet robot.

My major professor asked me what was the one thing I took away from seeing all these auditions. I thought about it for a long time and it boiled down to one idea: do people like you? Like I said before, at this point you are likely a great player and can teach the instrument, but do people WANT to be around you? Does the music faculty want to work with you? Above all else, do the students in your potential studio want to work with you? If the answer is no to these questions, then perhaps you're not the best fit for the job. I'm wondering if that is a gross generalization to make, but it was just an impression I got. As I get closer to the job audition process myself, I'm sure new ideas will present themselves.

I know this post was not tuba-euphonium ensemble related, but it was related to class discussions and I could not resist talking about it.

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