Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Evans Artist Spotlight - James Campbell (Professor of Percussion, Univ. of Kentucky)


Evans Artist - James Campbell
AGE: 55
CURRENT JOB(S): Professor of Percussion at the University of Kentucky, Principal Percussionist with the Lexington Philharmonic, music industry consultant.

YEARS AT CURRENT POSITION: 24 years.

THE EARLY YEARS: I grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and have a BMME and MM from Northern Illinois University.

ONE THING YOU ARE PRACTICING RIGHT NOW IS: A new multiple percussion solo that I’m writing.

MY PLAYLIST OF “TOP (5) SONGS” WOULD INCLUDE: My current mix includes Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett, Wilco, Ginastera, and Sergio Mendes.

QUICK PRACTICE TIP: Slow, accurate practice with large, fluid motions lead to an expressive interpretation.

WORST NON-MUSIC RELATED JOB, DESCRIBE: I worked for the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District during my college summers and spent a lot of time trudging through the “muck and mire” looking for mosquito eggs and larva to eradicate!

HOBBIES INCLUDE: Golf, cooking

WHAT EVENT, PERSON, OR MOMENT HAD THE MOST IMPACT ON YOU AS A MUSICIAN?

My primary college teacher, Al O’Connor (at NIU) opened my ears to listening to the sound of my instruments as I was playing and not just paying attention to the accuracy. He helped me focus on the concept of producing a quality sound as fundamentally important to developing musicianship. He also created an atmosphere of trust, support, and teamwork that is so important in a percussion studio where everyone must share resources.

WHAT IMPORTANT MESSAGE OR ADVICE WOULD YOU PROVIDE TO YOUNG MUSICIANS?

Learn how your instrument works. Take it apart, see how it’s made and put it back together. Be curious about the history and development of your instrument. Ask yourself questions and seek their answer: What important developments and design improvements have taken place since my instrument was first introduced? Who are the important composers and performers on my instrument? What accessories and resources are available that would help me sound better on my instrument? Listen to recordings of music that features your instrument and go to live concerts that feature your instrument(s).

WHAT TIPS CAN YOU GIVE TO YOUNG MUSICIANS LOOKING TO MAKE A CAREER OF MUSIC?

Take every gig you can. Experience is the best teacher, so you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to work with other musicians and perform in public. Get as much experience in all facets of music as you can from performing and conducting to arranging and composing. Seek and expert teacher in your area and get regular private instruction. Join community music groups outside of your school. Go the extra step to create opportunities for yourself rather than wait for someone to contact you.

2 comments:

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