We had the chance to interview Blessing Brass artist Rob Parton about his career as a music educator and performer. He discusses his inspiration, advice for young musicians, and future projects below.
At what age did you begin playing trumpet?
I started playing trumpet when I was going into the 6th grade. The summer prior to 6th grade they started all instruments separately.
What inspired you to choose instrument?
The kid across the street played trumpet and he told me it was the coolest instrument! I am so glad he was right!
What would be your advice for young people interested in learning trumpet?
First of all, find a private teacher if at all possible. Listen as much as you can to great trumpet players so you can get some sort of sound in your head. Of course this responsibility lies more on the band director to play stuff for the kids. Create a simple regular warm up routine where you can monitor your progress day in day out. Mixture of long tones and scales can work for a while.
How is your current role as an educator at Capital University different from your experience as a performing musician? What do you find to be the greatest challenges and rewards as an educator?
I am really energized while getting to work with future music educators. The energy these students have is exciting and it is exciting to know that my teaching philosophy could get carried on through these students. The great part is that my performing responsibilities have actually widened now that I am in Columbus. I am playing with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra when needed, performing at many churches for special occasions and acting more as a guest soloist with concert bands and of course jazz bands. I am also still involved in Chicago when needed, for example I am playing all next week with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The concert features the original score of West Side Story with film!
What advice would you give to young musicians – including those wishing to pursue a career in performance, and those wishing to pursue a career in education?
Performance students- practice to the point that you have complete control of your instrument. Be versatile and most of all be positive! If it is orchestral performance you are pursuing, then you must study the full piece and not just the excerpts. Get a score and learn what is happening throughout the piece.
Music Educators-take performing very serious and take all classes having to deal with teaching the instruments very seriously. Try to make analogies to the trumpet or whatever your major instrument is. Watch great teachers teach and decide how you want to be viewed as a teacher. Study hard and realize that teaching is a calling and a major responsibilty. We have to continue cultivating the audiences and supporters!
What projects do you have coming up in 2012?
I have a new CD coming out with the Rob Parton Big Band. It will be called "We'll Be Together Again." Mostly due to my leaving Chicago, but I'll be back somehow! I also have a Christmas CD that I have been working on for a long time. I'd like to get that out by next Christmas. It will be titled, "A Chicago Christmas."
Could you tell us what you like most about Blessing brass?
The products I use made by Blessing Brass have shown to be very consistent. This reliability in all areas of craftsmanship, and has helped me to become more consistent over the entire horn. As a player this is critical and is possible due to these well built instruments by Blessing. The best part is that they are made 100% in the USA!