Spring break is a time for leisure fun in the sun for some of the college students at Texas State, but what about the professors? What do they do during their week off? Assistant professor of trombone and jazz studies, Doctor Martin McCain, has anything but a break.
He and his nine students, The Hill Country Jazz Bones, have won the national, jazz, trombone ensemble competition and over the break are preparing non-stop for the Eastern Trombone Workshop, that will later lead to their international competition. The workshop is held in Fort Myer, Virginia, and it also holds a competition for the students. When the workshop is over, the students get to perform in front of 500 or more other trombone players.
“It is pretty amazing they get to perform in front of a lot of people they’ve looked up to.”
McCain admits that there are disadvantages to not having a break, but he leads to believe that all his students are aware of their responsibilities and want to accomplish them, even if it cost them a break.
“We don’t really get that Spring break we all love especially because it is right in the middle of the semester, but the thing is the students really understand the hard work that it takes.”
McCain and the students both have an understanding of what they must do to achieve their goals and at the same time, they love what they are doing; so it feels less like work.
“This is something the students have to deal with and they are perfectly fine with it.”
Most of McCain’s students have never been to this workshop before and they are all really excited about it, especially him.
“This is actually very exciting for me because I won both of these competitions in college and a graduate student.”
McCain has helped and mentored his students through their competitions and workshops; to see the students grow brings a rewarding feeling to him.
“Now seeing my students win the same competitions I did, eleven, twelve years ago, is a great feeling.”
The various students working over the break are feeling just as excited as McCain is about their upcoming performance. Music Performance Senior, Jeremiah Ward, is one of McCain’s workshop students. Ward has been his student for a few years now and is really excited for his upcoming experience at the workshop, even though this means there is no break.
“It is really exciting that this year I get to actually work towards a goal, and that is the performance the week after Spring Break.”
Ward does not get any time off and this comes as no surprise to him; playing hard and working hard is the same thing, but it doesn’t always mean he does not wish for a small break every once and awhile.
“I normally do practice through Spring Break just not as intensely.”
Ward feels that from all of his and his fellow trombone players practice, they have really improved and that the break will only help to enhance their playing more.A lot of students use Spring Break as a play time; McCain, and his students will be using their break to play as well, but they will be playing music, they will be playing jazz!
To hear the full Non-Traditional Spring Breaks Broadcast, click the link below.