Dr. Justin Bland
Trumpet Soloist and Countertenor
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Interview With Justin Bland
1. Where were you born? What is your earliest musical memory?
Although I now live in Copenhagen, Denmark, I was born in the United States and grew up in Maryland. My earliest musical memory was learning to play recorder in the third grade.
2. What were your favorite things to do when you were in Elementary/ Primary School?
I enjoyed going to one of the parks near my house.
3. When did you decide to play a music instrument and why?
Even though I do not come from a musical family, I was interested in the idea of playing an instrument from an early age. It was my mom who chose trumpet for me, which I started playing in fourth grade; a band director told her that if I could learn to play trumpet, other instruments would not be so difficult.
4. What kinds of music did you enjoy listening to as a child? Any specific musicians or concerts that you remember?
Although I do not have many memories of attending concerts as a child, I did often listen to the radio and CDs. I preferred classical music, music from the Baroque period in particular, growing up. I listened to quite a bit of Baroque music played on modern instruments, but when I heard trumpeters using Baroque instruments, I became interested in learning the Baroque trumpet (which I tried for the first time during my undergraduate studies).
5. Why did you decide to become a musician?
I was not particularly fond of practicing when I started playing trumpet. Additionally, not having had the privilege of studying with a private teacher until I began my undergraduate studies meant that I had to push myself and listen more critically to become better (not so easy at a young age). As time progressed, I could more clearly hear my personal improvement, which gave me greater motivation to improve further. I eventually fell in love with practicing and playing trumpet, and after I reached high school, I knew that I wanted to be a musician; there was simply nothing else that I would have rather done!
6. What are your favorite things about being a musician and playing brass instruments?
I am naturally quite shy, quiet, and introverted, so I think that being a musician allows me to express myself in a way that can otherwise be difficult for me to do. I also enjoy that music gives me to opportunity to travel and meet new people.
7. What are your other interests?
Most of my interests are musical. Although I am primarily a trumpeter (specializing in playing historical instruments), I also sing a bit (as a countertenor). I have also done some music arranging and had made some historical editions.
8. What do you hope students will get out of learning with Brass for Beginners?
I hope that students will find the approach to Brass for Beginners to be fun. I also hope that they gain a better understanding of the history of brass instruments. For me, knowing more about the trumpet’s history keeps me more interested in performing.