Focus on Research: Dr. Timothy J. Tesh

Adaptations for Trumpet - Dr. Timothy J. Tesh

Expanding Horizons: Adaptations for Trumpet

The College of Arts and Letters at The University of Southern Mississippi takes pride in the quality of the creative and scholarly output of its School of Music, and Assistant Professor of Trumpet Dr. Timothy J. Tesh continues that tradition of excellence with several works that are soon to be released. Among them are his first instructive method book for beginning students, The Daily Routine Songbook for Trumpet, to be published in the summer of 2018 by Mountain Peak Music, and his first solo CD, titled Adaptations for Trumpet.

In order to challenge the way his students traditionally think about trumpet music, Dr. Tesh teaches them to expand their horizons by looking beyond music that was written specifically for trumpet. By focusing so intently on the music written for a particular instrument, musicians can often miss out on an incredible amount of music and on the new challenges that serve as opportunities for growth as performers and instructors.

Dr. Tesh emphasizes that musicians must focus more on the music than the instrument that is being used: “It is important that we understand that as trumpet players, we are musicians first, and not technicians on an instrument. This is about creating music and speaking through an implement; it just happens to be a trumpet that we are holding.” This perspective on music selection informed his first solo CD, which is innovative in that each piece of music on the CD was originally written for vocal performance rather than the trumpet.  Instead of focusing on drills and exercises, the book focuses on the development of important fundamental playing techniques, with an emphasis on songs. Dr. Tesh states, “This method is designed to improve students’ ability to play in ‘difficult’ keys, by providing them with a music-based means of developing fluency. By developing this type of comfort in all keys, and teaching students to use their ears as their guide, rather than an analytical approach, the method seeks to make music more fun for young students.”

Dr. Tesh’s teaching methods emphasize the importance of delving into music that was not written specifically for the musician’s particular instrument. When asked about the difference in performing music that was written for vocals, Tesh replied that it was important “to explore stuff that was clearly not written for us, complete with all the difficulties that that entails. It’s been tremendous for my growth as a player and it’s become a big part of my teaching as well, whether it’s my students working on solo pieces or just some of the stuff that we were working on in our general lessons. I’m always trying to find a way to stretch their understanding of the instrument.”

Dr. Timothy J. Tesh joined the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Music in 2016 as Assistant Professor of Trumpet and is a recipient of the 2017-18 Lucas Endowment for Faculty Excellence Award. Tesh has performed with international greats like Presidio Brass, Stevie Wonder, and Natalie Cole. He also served as principal trumpet in tours of Mel Brooks’ award-winning musical, The Producers. Dr. Tesh received his D.M.A. at the University of Southern California in 2012.