Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2008 15:32:15 -0500
From: Travis Wilson <>
Subject: [TPIN] Herseth Houston Master Class

Today I attended the Master Class put on by Bud Herseth at Rice University in Houston. Thanks to Grungy from this list, I did not take my horn, and was kept from feeling a bit foolish. (thanks Grungy for checking yesterday.) Apparently for Mr. Herseth you take your trumpet to a clinic, not a Master Class. And that made great sense today, as what happened was basically 7 or 8 young trumpet, 1 french horn, and one trombone students from Rice played short things they had worked up, and Bud critiqued them,  mostly on the style of how they were playing. He was wonderfully nice about missed notes. He did not care about those. He was interested in talking about the stylistic things he could share.

To start I will say the smartest thing I did today was to get there early, and I took the front row center seat. Bud is not a young man, so he sat dead center on stage in a comfortable arm chair with the students playing  to his side. No one else, for whatever reason, sat on the front row. Everyone else was back a ways. I almost felt foolish or like I had committed some horrible faux pas. But trust me, at least for today, it was a brilliant move.

I took my note book to take lots of notes. Very quickly I put it up and took no notes at all. It was simply not that kind of class. But it was a class to sit and listen to a man who has led an amazing life, whose closest friends were the "heros" and "giants" to the rest of us. And because of where I was sitting, it seemed, for much  of his stories, like it was "me and Bud" sitting alone, swapping old man stories. He very kindly made lots of eye contact with me, maybe because I was the only one close to him. His last story was about golf in Sweden and being an old golfer myself (Bud obviously  loves golf), it seemed even more personal between he and me as he would look my way.

He told Lenny stories, and Aaron Copeland stories. He told about Solti stuff, and Ormandy stuff, and the first chair guy for a zillion years in the Berlin Philharmonic. He finished with a Maynard story and expressed clearly his great affection for Maynard.

I have no notes about "mouthpieces, or embouchures, or which trumpet to play when". And I have no clue what this guy was like "back in the day". But I liked the man that I  sat almost right next to for 2 hours as he told stories and very gently and generously shared his wisdom with young music students.