Boston's Ceremonial Trumpeter Richard Waddell
 

 

brass instructors
Without the constant positive influence of so many different teachers, my skills in music might have never had a chance to grow very far.  Going back to that moment in the third grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Hamilton, let me play the auto-harp for a school concert, I saw that performing was always a part of my nature.
The most consistent musical influences were the band directors, since I saw them every day.  Through the seventh grade, my band director was Mr. Don Curl.  When he moved, his replacement was Norman Lang, my eighth and ninth grade band director (who I learned later was close friends with, and a former college roommate of, Marvin Stamm). 
Mr. Lang continuously displayed his "normalcy" by being 100% available and accessible as a person.  This tended to make him stand apart from most all other teachers.  That honesty also meant that when he made demands, he believed that the students were capable of achieving them. 
Having him follow me through high school as the high school stage band director was a great opportunity.  Jazz and big band music seemed more intimate than concert band, and that mutually shared enjoyment was what I felt music was meant to be.  It was largely due the efforts of Mr. Lang that the school was able to get the phenomenal trumpet soloist, Bud Brisbois, to join the stage band for their spring concert of my graduating year.
In high school, the band director was Carroll McMath, who had that position for at least 30 years.  He saw it all, and his experiences gave him all kinds of ways to be an example to young people, while at the same time being a strong leader.   There were no harder working teachers than Mr. McMath, and the results he got from the students he had were often exceptional.  The competitions that the band went to were opportunities not just to hopefully "win first place" -- they were just as important as moments of great musical learning.
Having both Mr. Lang and Mr. McMath as influences in my life is a blessing.  With both of them in attendance at my ventures to the prestigious Texas All-State Band Festivals in 1968 and 1969, I could sense how genuinely excited they were at having students in attendance.
Next to their influences came the meticulous guidance I received from my trumpet teachers.  The good fortune of being given lessons in the sixth and seventh grade from John J. Haynie cannot be over-emphasized.  It was crucial to my learning, and undoubtedly, Mr. Haynie was a patient teacher with a sometimes stubborn student like me.  His ability to demonstrate, and do so simply, made learning more easy.  Seeing the simplicity of his demonstration was itself like an additional lesson in "how to teach".
Following the 2 1/2 years with Mr. Haynie came one year with Patrick Hasty, then a graduate assistant at NTSU.  Mr. Hasty's guidance continued along similar lines to those of Mr. Haynie.  That eighth grade year was a critical one for me, and his teaching helped me improve my skills.
The next two years my teacher was Douglas Smith.  I believe Doug was pursuing his doctorate degree at the time.  Mr. Haynie used to marvel at the fact that Doug, who was so gifted on the trumpet, would take off the entire summer to work with kids at summer camps.  To me that didn't make sense, because of the inevitable and most uncomfortable "moment of truth", when, after a few months, he would face the trumpet and start all over.
It was only much later when I learned that there are lessons to be learned only when such a "break" is taken from routine activities.  These lessons may not always be the same ones from one such break to another, but for those people who do this, they are very important, and are available only by taking time off.
Doug Smith's influence on my development is only bested by that of Mr. Haynie.  His sincere and overflowing support was often the highlight of my week, and I always wanted to do my best for him.  I believe that I would get myself frustrated when at lessons when I did not play well -- sometimes it was hard for me to see any "good" coming from such a lesson, as though I'd had a "bad" lesson.
In spite of those feelings, Mr. Smith did help me improve quite in many ways.
The following year my teacher was A. Keith Amstutz, who also was pursuing his doctorate at North Texas.  The one year I studied with Keith was personally a difficult year, but even with various challenges, he did a very good job in helping me continue my learning.  I believe it was during that year that I was first shown a "C" trumpet and a "Piccolo" trumpet -- new and exotic things to me!
My final year in high school saw me back with Mr. Haynie once more, and for that my gratitude continues.
In college I had a variety of trumpet teachers:

Max Morley

Lyman Brodie

Tom Parriott

Jim Linehan

John Haynie

Gerard Schwartz (at the Aspen Music Festival)

It is without a doubt that several of the fine trumpet students who were there with me were also positive examples of trumpet excellence.  Among those include:

Ray Sasaki

Jack Evans

Joe Rodriguez  

Jay Sollenberger

John Thomas 

Leonard Candalaria

Richard Watson (from Evanston)

Galindo Rodriguez  

Laurie Frink (at Aspen Music Festival)

Barbara Butler (at Aspen Music Festival)

One surprising positive influence during my freshman year came from a graduate student who accompanied me on the piano for a few performances.  Jim Gardner was into all kinds of music, but I first knew him as a rock-solid pianist.  Into that first year, I learned that he also played the trumpet.  He rarely practiced (this is not an exaggeration).  On one of the weekly "departmental" trumpet recitals, he played a Herbert L. Clarke solo.  To me that was a truly amazing thing in and of itself, and here was a piano player doing a really good job!
The other teachers who I only briefly crossed paths with were still strong presences in my life and in the musical life of the students.  One of the great ones was Leon Breeden.  From the year I began playing the trumpet, I was being taken to NTSU to hear the Lab Band concerts, in the Spring and in the Fall.  Before I was ever in college, Mr. Breeden was having a most positive effect on my musical education. 
The music he chose -- much of which was written by students or by such professionals as Stan Kenton, Bob Florence and Lennie Niehaus -- along with such talented students as Lou Marini, Tom Malone, Larry Ford, Gary Grant, Ed Soph, Sal Marquez, and such guest soloists as Maynard Ferguson, provided me with my own window into the world of great music being played by great musicians.  It was as though the Big Band Era was alive and well, in the backyard of Denton, Texas!

ęCopyright Richard Waddell, 2001
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