Thursday, July 31, 2014

5 Questions with Jason Adams

Jason Adams (B.M. 1993), studied Trumpet Performance and Music Education at Hartt from 1988 to 1993.  He is currently living in Houston, TX.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

After Hartt, I took a stint playing trumpet on a cruise ship, many thanks to Steve Davis for forcing me to improvise a bit while I played in the Big Band at Hartt, he saved me from total embarrassment! I then moved to NY and pursued a Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Chris Gekker, who was also my trumpet teacher at Hartt, along with Roger Murtha. I owe these two men a lot! After eight years as a band director in Massachusetts, where I also played with the Springfield Symphony, I moved to Houston, Texas for family reasons and because it is a wonderful place to teach and play music.

What are you involved with right now?

I currently teach a large studio of private students and play around Houston, Texas. I appear regularly with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra Brass Quintet and at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart with the Cathedral Brass. I teach trumpet at San Jacinto College, as well as in schools in the Spring, Klein, and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School Districts.

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?

Besides hanging out in the Millard lobby with my friends and working for Walter Gibson moving racks of music stands around the school, you mean? There are so many snapshots.

In my Freshman year, Dr. John Feierabend telling all the performance majors who were also pursuing music education “as a back-up plan in case performing didn’t work out” that they needed to come up with another plan, ha!

Wednesday morning trumpet lessons with Roger Murtha tapping tempo on the music stand with his pencil, and occasionally on my arm if I wasn’t paying enough attention.

Performing “Pictures At An Exhibition” with Gene Young and the Hartt Symphony Orchestra and having one of those rare “in the zone” concerts when I felt I could do no wrong.

Playing all the way through the Robert Nagel Rhythmic Duets with Chris Gekker in trumpet lessons and knowing there was no rhythm a composer could throw at me to trip me up after that.

Watching Al Lepak keep absolutely perfect time playing drums with the Big Band, all with an unlit cigar between his teeth.

My first ever audition for ensemble placement when I managed to play an excerpt for Parsifal in the wrong key, as well as changing the rhythm to the final excerpt from Stravinsky’s Pulcinella because I thought he must have left a note out!

What did you learn during your time at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?

This is more difficult to quantify. I would say I have learned to relax and enjoy doing what I do and I feel confident I can lean very heavily on the wisdom I received from so many wonderful people there. My time at Hartt absolutely shaped who I am as a musician and a teacher.

What is next for you?

I have studied meditation for a long time, including several multi-day silent retreats, and I am interested in exploring the possible benefits of mindfulness for performers.

If you want people to get in touch, how can they do so?

All the usual ways! Facebook, Google, etc. My website is Cheers!

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