I'm often asked if there was a specific moment in my life when I knew that I wanted to become a professional musician. For me, it was during my first year in the Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra. We were working on the Largo from Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 and, for the first time in my life, I got goosebumps while making music.
I was in shock.
How was I connecting so strongly with this music?
Dvořák's ninth symphony is a musical masterpiece. But I know that it was much more than just the music that was speaking to me: it was the collective emotional force of every musician in that room.
For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by a bunch of kids who were just like me. Kids who chose to spend their Saturday afternoons, not playing video games or watching tv, but instead refining their music-making abilities, learning from mentors, pushing and encouraging each other to be the best that they could be.
I will never forget the incredible power that was created by that roomful of kids lost in the musical moment, with nothing on their minds other than producing the most beautiful sounds they could make.
The reason I’m sharing this story with all of you is because one of my most dedicated and passionate trumpet students just got accepted into the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, a group I believe to be one of the greatest youth music organizations in the country.
This is one of the proudest moments in my life (funny how, as I get older, I realize that the most rewarding experiences are those that don't necessarily happen to me, but to those I care about and surround myself with.)
I hope that this opportunity will generate lifelong friendships and unforgettable musical experiences as well as present challenges that, when overcome, will shape my student into an even more extraordinary human being.
Wishing a lifetime of goosebump-creating musical moments to everyone,