Today we have the opportunity to share the fifth installment of our “Instructor Features” blog series! This week we have Jordan Koehlinger to celebrate. Jordan is an avid trumpeter, teacher, and musicology scholar with interests in a variety of musical styles from orchestral, to chamber, to jazz. With performing experience both in the United States and abroad, she has played with the Symphony of the Lakes in Warsaw, Indiana; served as auxiliary brass for Ernie Haase and the Signature Sound; and performed in the Opera Maya festival orchestra in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Read more about Jordan below, and at the link near the bottom of the post.
To begin, what do you teach at Vibe and how old are your students?
I teach trumpet at Vibe currently, and my current students are both in middle school. I’ve taught from late elementary to high school-aged students in the past.
What is your favorite concept or skill to teach?
I love to teach musicality and phrasing. I think the difference between a good player and a great player is the ability they have to manipulate phrases to make them come alive.
Talk about your background in music, all the way from your very first experience with an instrument.
I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. When I was a toddler, upon hearing music, I would stop what I was doing immediately and just start dancing. When it was time to pick a band instrument, my mom said I could play anything I wanted, as long as it was brass. I’ve really loved it since. In college, I experienced tremendous growth as a musician, and I was able to participate in different experiences such as orchestra. I got to travel to Mexico with my college orchestra to be with a summer music festival, which was an amazing experience. Getting to play in ensembles has been the highlight of my musical experience.
A penguin walks through your front door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
Hola, como estas? Me encanta la musica.
When you begin lessons with a beginning player, what are some initial goals you help create with the student?
The first thing that I really want to work on is proper breathing technique. It’s tempting to jump in and play notes and songs on their own... In my experience as both a performer and teacher, I’ve seen the difference that it makes to set up the correct breathing technique early, so that their potential for success and enjoyment of music is heightened later on.
What’s your favorite ‘90s jam?
The title song from Phantom! I’m more into musicals.
Do you remember one of the first times you “fell in love” with music?
Sort of… I can’t think of a specific moment, but I remember as a freshman in college being a music major was an eye-opening experience. I came from a small high school as a great player, and I instantly got to see how many opportunities for improvement there were. Being in an orchestra helped me fall in love even more, with its rich textures between winds and strings. It really showed me the beauty that is out there.
What is your all-time favorite performing experience?
When I was a senior in college, I performed in the concerto competition at IWU. I played the Arturian Trumpet Concerto, which is a super fun and dramatic piece, but I played it for our professors, and I think it was the best solo performance of my whole life. Afterwards, some of my professors told me that it was the best I’ve sounded soloistically, and it was so encouraging to be supported when I work hard to sound my best.
Why do you feel that music education is important for developing members of society?
Besides developing the brain physically and increasing mental acuity, music education is important because it teaches us to be better people. Music education develops our emotional intelligence as we seek to describe the human experience of emotion through music, and it cultivates our empathy as we learn to express those emotions musically. Music also teaches us to work with others. Playing in an ensemble is an incredible team-building exercise, and in the context of a group we have to learn to temper our own ambitions to create something beautiful together. Finally, I think that music education is important because engaging our creative faculties helps us appreciate the beauty of the world around us, which gives us a vested interest in the world and a desire to make it even more beautiful.
Jordan is such a great addition to our team, and we are so excited to have her on board! Read more about Jordan here.