Name That Tune: Bethany Vaughan
This week’s Name That Tune is brought to you by trumpeter Bethany Vaughan, who just finished her junior year at Indiana University, where she studies music. Bethany is a former Texas Music Festival Fellow and a graduate of Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts. We chatted with Bethany to learn more about the trumpet and her experience studying music. Read on for excerpts from the interview.
Profession: Rising senior at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Instruments: Trumpet and some Bass Guitar
How did you first get into playing the trumpet?
I went to Lovett Elementary and they have a great band program, so I started in the spring of second grade playing the cornet, which is a more tightly wound trumpet which is easier for small hands to play. Then I went to [Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School] and got involved in band there. Then I went to HSPVA for trumpet and played in the wind ensemble, jazz band and symphony orchestra.
How did you specifically select the cornet of all the instruments when you were in second grade, and then how did decide to continue with that type of instrument?
I have a vague memory of being at church and seeing a circuit rider band and wanting to play the trumpet. I don’t remember super well…I just kind of knew.
What is your music program like at Indiana University? What types of classes do you take?
Academically, I take classes in music theory and music history. I have a studio class which is where all the trumpet students play each week in front of everyone and get feedback. And then I have a master class and a private lesson each week and also ensemble rehearsal.
It sounds like many of your classes are performance based. How has that worked online for the past few weeks?
It doesn’t really work… we just didn’t have studio class or master class or ensemble. For the credits, we had to answer questions on a discussion board. For our private lesson, we’d make recordings and send them to the teacher in advance so they could see them and make comments. Playing over Zoom, you lose a lot of the sound quality, which is so important, and sometimes you cut in and out. Recording in advance let us have something to go off of.
What do you love about trumpet that has kept you going all these years?
I just love music as a whole. It’s a great vehicle to express what you’re feeling and hopefully impact or make someone who is listening feel something.
What type of music do you enjoy playing the most?
Playing in an orchestra is I think the most fun. It’s great to be a part of something bigger.
Do you have any plans for this summer?
I was supposed to do the Roundtop Festival Institute but that was cancelled. I have applied to some jobs and we’ll see if that pans out. Otherwise, I’ll just be practicing and also editing some videos for the campus ministry. My junior recital was cancelled, so I’m going to see if I can record some things with my friend. He’ll play the piano parts and then we’ll edit them together.
What are you thinking you’ll want to do post-graduation? Do you plan to continue with a career in music?
Yes, I’ll probably get my master’s degree and then audition for various things. I’m not picky about where I end up as long as I’m playing music, whether it's chamber music, a symphony or a premier military band.
What would be the dream job?
Probably playing in an orchestra.
What’s something that people don’t know or get wrong about playing the trumpet?
People might not know there are trumpets for different keys. There’s B flat trumpet, the piccolo trumpet, C trumpet, rotary trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet … There’s a lot of different things you have to be able to play and have to own that people might not know. There’s a lot more than the standard trumpet.
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