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Not just for Jazz: Trumpet player goes classical for Faculty Artist Series

Jake Essman / The Arbiter

While the trumpet is traditionally associated with jazz music, adjunct trumpet and music instructor, Justin Stamps, demonstrated a different take on this instrument.

Tuesday, Oct. 30, Stamps did not perform jazz music. Instead, Stamps performed only classical music on the trumpet in the Morrison Center Recital Hall for his Faculty Artist Recital.

Stamps performed with former colleague Diana Aidos on the piano and harpsichord, his girlfriend Sara Long on the cello and Boise State graduate string quartet violinists Alvin Tran and Jennifer Whittle. Stamps said he enjoyed and appreciated performing with these other musicians. Stamps performed pieces from various centuries on several trumpets, providing what students said to be a good performance.

“It was really good actually,” said Tom Davis, freshman psychology major.  “I’m not a big fan of trumpet solos but I think with all the other instruments that were there it really worked well.”

Davis and other students from Stamps’ music appreciation class said they enjoyed the selection of pieces Stamps performed.

Stamps said as an instructor, he purposefully varied his selection of pieces to keep his audience interested and engaged in the performance.

“I played different types of trumpet on the program and I played different time periods just because it’s more fun,” Stamps said. “I have a lot of students from the music appreciation class that were there that said this was easy to pay attention to because everything was very contrasting. And I always make the analogy it’s like if you eat too much of the same thing, it gets pretty boring, in my opinion.”

Students said they not only enjoyed the performance, but also enjoy Stamps as an instructor. Sara Weekes, freshman athletic training major, said she has found Stamps to be an effective music instructor.

Weekes said while she’s not very musically inclined, Stamps has helped her understand aspects of the music world.

“When we first started he’d talk about the melody, the beat, this and that and he’d go into definitions and he’d tap his hand or kinda sing to it and yeah, he’s not the best singer as he said but he would sing and it just really helped out a lot,” Weekes said.

Stamps became an instructor at Boise State after he was hired on with Boise Philharmonic. Stamps is still active with Boise Philharmonic and other music groups.

Stamps said, however, this was not what he expected to be doing with his life when he first picked up the trumpet as part of his elementary education.

“I didn’t know anything about classical music,” Stamps said. “As a matter of fact, I didn’t like music as far as I was concerned when I was young. I picked trumpet because the story I was told was that three buttons … I picked it because it looked easier than everything else because there was less to manage. And that’s actually what makes trumpet challenging, is that you have to be able to manipulate things to play with only three valves. I just got involved with it more and more. The older that I got and as I had more success, I thought, ‘This would be really neat if I could be able to turn this into a way for me to make a living and spend my life.’ And it’s working out.”

Stamps said he had the privilege of studying trumpet performance from several trumpet players and instructors he respected from his early visits to Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Stamps said watching these instructors perform as part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra inspired him to become the musician he is today.

“This is my advice to a lot of people that want to play or are into classical music or any thing: If you know somebody that does it a way that you like go to that person and learn from them, because that’s the only way to do it. That’s been my experience,” Stamps said.

Stamps said he also has some advice for music students and students of any other major regarding classical music. Stamps said he advises music students to practice more, and for students of other majors, to explore live classical music and decide for themselves how they feel about it.

“I would say for people who are not involved in the school of music to make up your own mind about classical music based on your experience of live music because a lot of the time what I experience most often with students in the classes that I teach is that they like it a lot more than they expect and the number one most frequently written sentence in all the concert reports is that they really legitimately enjoyed themselves,” Stamps said. “I think that’s worthwhile and it’s different and it’s good to be different. That’s my opinion.”