Announcing: The Play It Forward Campaign!

Please help me fund my efforts to attend Suzuki teacher in June 2020, and beyond. In return, I’ll donate educational time and resources to Minnesota students.

First, the big news:

In January of this year, I auditioned, was accepted, and registered for Suzuki teacher training in its emerging new instrument category- BRASS! I’m incredibly excited and honored to have been chosen to undertake training and certification in Book One for trombone and euphonium. I’ll be traveling to the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute in Draper, Utah (near Salt Lake City) in June 2020 and spending a week learning from the woman who quite literally wrote the book (and the program, and the training) on Suzuki trumpet- Ann Marie Sundberg!

For those of you unfamiliar with Suzuki methodology, it’s extremely compatible with the pedagogy I already model. Developed by Shin’ichi Suzuki in the 1950s as a way of encouraging young folks to pick up music as naturally as acquiring language, it started with violin and other string instruments and has since expanded to include piano, guitar, flute, and many other instruments. Suzuki’s method focuses on learning by ear, making music fun and accessible, and developing well-rounded appreciators and performers of the arts. There is a high level of parent involvement and frequent performances to help students build confidence and enjoyment as they learn music.

Suzuki trumpet was pioneered in Europe in 2011 and has since expanded to cover the other brass instruments. I will be, as far as I know, the first officially certified Suzuki teacher in brass instruments in the state of Minnesota! This is a tremendous opportunity for me to grow as an educator, and to make music in my community more accessible.

This is where you come in. While valuable in the long run, the upfront costs of training in Suzuki methodology are not cheap. I’ve applied to grants and scholarships, but will still need to cover some program costs as well as lodging and travel- not to mention that I’ll unable to maintain my teaching and performing schedule while I’m away. But I don’t want to just ask you for money and then use it for my own ends- I want to continue my tradition of paying it forward and bringing accessibly music education to more young musicians in my area.

Donate

That link right above this paragraph takes you to my Donorbox page- and you’ll notice that it’s not one big, fell-swoop funding campaign. It’s engineered to be more incremental, and asks for regular monthly donations. This is an experiment- rather than do crowdfunding projects at all once and risk donor fatigue, my own personal introvert exhaustion, and potentially not raising enough or having to do it again down the line, I’m hoping you’ll be willing to support me long term. This opens up so many new possibilities for my musical outreach. Below are a few of my visions for your donation:

  • Every $50 between now and June unlocks a free low brass clinic for a school or program in my area that couldn’t otherwise afford it
  • Creation of online educational content
  • Once certified, each $150 donated per month allows me to offer 4 Suzuki lessons to a low-income student
  • I’ll continue to offer free clinics
  • Money will be saved, invested, and paid forward in the form of additional trainings, developing my business and outreach, and beyond

Of course, you can make one-time, or quarterly, or yearly donations- whatever works for you! I foresee recurring donations as a process that might be less emotionally draining and exhausting for me, personally, while also being more sustainable in the long run. If you can’t donate now, or regularly, you can share the campaign and spread the word!

Donors will be subscribed to a special mailing list where I’ll send out monthly (at least) updates on how the money is being used and the impact it is having. I’ll also continue to post on social media (mostly Instagram and Facebook) with updates and donor calls.

Your support is so greatly appreciated. That you also believe in the accessibility of quality music education for young players is so important to the future of all our lives, and ensures that we’ll all be creating and performing humans for many years to come.

Women’s History Month Profile: Lauren Veronie Curran

March feature! Each week I will profile a different woman or women in music who are particular heroes or inspiration for me.

This week, please welcome to the stage

MS LAUREN VERONIE CURRAN!

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Lauren Veronie Curran¬†is cool not just because we share a name, or because we went to school together at North Texas. She’s cool because she’s following her dreams boldly and without apology. She’s cool because she rocks at euphonium and she wants to share it with you.

Lauren studied with Dr Brian Bowman at UNT, and in 2008 won a position in the US Army Field Band. Since taking the chair she has toured worldwide and performed to countless audiences, bringing her unique joy and energy for music to her listeners.

So far this month I’ve featured a jazz artist, an orchestral performer, and a solo artist/teacher. But for those looking for careers in music, you can often look no further than your country’s military bands. They offer competitive salary, benefits, and a chance to see the world and work with musicians at the top of their fields. Lauren’s career is a good example of what you can do with the Army behind you.

Her blog is insightful, inspirational, and hilarious. You should check it out.

Meanwhile, here’s Lauren performing “Midnight Euphonium” by Goff Richards, with her own US Army Field Band.

Women’s History Month Profile: Velvet Brown

March feature! Each week I will profile a different woman or women in music who are particular heroes or inspiration for me.

This week, please welcome to the stage

MS VELVET BROWN!

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Velvet Brown is professor of tuba and euphonium at Penn State University. She also maintains an active schedule of performances, clinics, and master classes. In 2002 she appeared at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where a young yours-truly met her and followed her schedule religiously. As an icon for young women seeking professional careers as a soloist, teacher, composer, or recording artist in the brass world, she is inspirational.

In addition to collaborating with several prestigious performing groups she has recorded four of her own solo CDs and both commissioned and composed her own works.

She’s the tuba player for the Stiletto Brass Quintet, an all-female super group that’s been winning recognition around the world for their superior performances.

Check out her first album, Velvet, which has been a staple of my collection for a long time.

In the meantime, listen to Velvet Brown perform “How Beautiful” by Barbara York: