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David Baldwin: “I Can Give My Students a Boat-Load of Ideas and Materials, but Their Drive to Get Better Is Their Own”

Abstract:

This insightful interview with renowned trumpeter David Baldwin provides a comprehensive overview of his musical journey, influences, and pedagogical approach. Baldwin recounts his early fascination with the trumpet, inspired by the New York Brass Quintet, shaping his determination to study with Robert Nagel. The interview delves into his formative years of study with notable teachers such as Eric Duro, Charles Gorham, and Robert Nagel, highlighting the pivotal role each played in his development.

Baldwin reflects on his diverse professional experiences, from his time with the Summit Hill Brass Quintet to winning a position at the University of Minnesota. Influences from trumpet luminaries like Vince Cichowicz, Dale Clevenger, and Arnold Jacobs are discussed, along with essential lessons learned in conducting. The interview provides an in-depth look into Baldwin’s daily practice routine, emphasizing his recently published book “Lips of Steel” and a meticulous approach to maintaining endurance.

Notably, Baldwin shares his perspective on the significance of rest in practice and the ‘secret’ to endurance. His teaching philosophy centers on inspiring students to practice and acknowledges the unique drive each student brings to their musical journey. The interview explores the importance of versatility in musical studies, with Baldwin advocating for natural trumpet or cornetto proficiency for enhanced marketability.

Baldwin’s modest view on equipment is revealed through an early encounter with the New York Brass Quintet, shaping his belief in the primacy of skill over gear. His advice for students and teachers emphasizes the joy of music, the importance of preparation for auditions, and the inevitability of overcoming stage mishaps. In discussing personal preferences, Baldwin shares his eclectic taste in music, favoring classical compositions, while also expressing admiration for diverse artists, including Frank Zappa.

The interview concludes with Baldwin’s affinity for classical music and his admiration for Alison Balsom, along with his preference for Haydn’s Concerto, a piece that stands out for its universal acclaim even among non-trumpet players. This interview provides a valuable exploration of David Baldwin’s musical ethos, offering insights that resonate with aspiring musicians and educators alike.

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Publication date:

ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music