Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I enroll at UNT?

A: The UNT College of Music has long been recognized as one of the finest music schools in the country, if not the world. Many of the most accomplished professional musicians today, in virtually all fields of music, call UNT their alma mater. A list can be found elsewhere on this web site. Few music schools can boast a uniformly high level of quality in all areas that is present in the UNT College of Music. Whether looking for a world-class teacher, a wide variety of high-caliber ensemble experiences, or fellow students committed to success in music, the UNT College of Music is one of the best choices an aspiring music student can make.
The UNT Trombone Studio is a large part of the success of the school. The trombone area is one of the largest of its kind and is considered by many to be one of the best. Students participate in a wide variety of majors, with some even majoring in non-music programs. Regardless of one’s music major, the student is sure to receive a most comprehensive and challenging musical learning experience as a member of the UNT Trombone Studio. If recent successes are any indication, the UNT Trombone Studio will be producing top quality professional musicians for years to come.

Q: How many trombonists are in the program?
A: Fall 2007 figures show 60 students studying trombone. Here’s a breakdown of classifications and majors:

DMA Performance: 8
MM Performance: 4
BM Performance: 13
MM Jazz Studies: 3
BM Jazz Studies: 6
BM Music Education: 16
BM Composition: 8
Secondaries (non-majors): 1
Electives: 2

Q: Who will be my teacher?

A: Teacher assignments are made at the beginning of the school year and are reviewed each semester. Fall studio placement auditions for all new and returning trombone students are held as a part of the ensemble auditions. This audition is used for placement in certain ensembles, but also an important part of placing students into the proper teaching studio. The music for this audition is made available at the beginning of August via the College of Music Wind Studies web site (http://www.music.unt.edu/windstudies/). Each student is expected to prepare this music to the best of his/her ability. At the conclusion of these auditions, students are ranked, based in large part on their audition. Perceived teacher/student compatibility and teacher preference by the student are also considered in this important decision. New students and those who study with a teaching fellow are given the opportunity to request a preferred teacher. While every effort is made to honor these requests, the student assignments will inevitably depend on the student’s level of audition preparation and what the faculty believe is best for the student.

Q: If I am assigned to a TF studio, is it possible to eventually get into a faculty studio?

A: Students from the TF studios are frequently moved into a faculty studio. In fact, many of the outstanding UNT alumni began their trombone studies with a teaching fellow. Progress and seriousness of purpose are the best ways for a student to move into a faculty studio.

Q: Would I be able to study with trombone professors other than/in addition to the professor to whom I’ve been assigned?

A: The short answer to this question is yes. However, this is handled on a case-by-case basis. In general, students study with only one teacher, with occasional ‘supplemental’ instruction from another instructor during the course of the semester. Regular simultaneous instruction from more than one teacher can be confusing for some students, even if the teachers have similar philosophies. Because the learning experience should be as clear as possible, the bulk of instruction is limited to one teacher at a time.

There are however, other ways to receive instruction from more than teacher. One way is to study more than one style and/or instrument. For example, it is possible for a student to study jazz trombone with one teacher and classical trombone with another. It is also possible to study tenor trombone with one teacher and alto or bass trombone with another. The study of different instruments and/or different styles provides variety in the learning process, but keeps any possible confusion to a minimum.

Another way to receive instruction from more than one teacher is to study with one teacher for a period of time and then, after discussions and agreement with the current teacher, move to a different studio. Though the instruction is not concurrent, it is consecutive, allowing a student who will be at UNT for some time to receive instruction from more than one teacher.

Q: Are scholarships available?

A: Yes, limited music scholarships are available. The typical College of Music scholarship is $1000 per year, which also carries an out-of-state tuition waiver. This scholarship is renewable, based on satisfactory musical progress and continued academic excellence. Students who have done well on the SAT or ACT tests and have a high class ranking should also apply for academic scholarships at UNT. Academic scholarships tend to be considerably larger awards than what the College of Music is able to offer. These scholarships are also renewable, pending the maintenance of the required grade point average. These scholarships are given on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is important to apply for these as soon as possible. New doctoral students are eligible for a scholarship from the UNT Toulouse Graduate School that also waives non-resident tuition. To apply for a scholarship and/or admission, go to http://www.music.unt.edu/admissions/.

Q: Some trombone studios have a particular focus, such as orchestral or jazz playing. What is the UNT Trombone Studio’s focus?

A: To put it simply, the focus is to make all students the most musically well-rounded trombonists they can be, regardless of the chosen style or major. This means that if a student joins the UNT studio with the intention of becoming an orchestral musician, that instruction will be provided, but at the same time there is strong encouragement to participate in the jazz and chamber music programs. Conversely, if a student wants to become a jazz/commercial trombonist, he/she will also be encouraged to participate in the wind band/orchestral and chamber music programs. A student whose goal is to become a band director is expected to competently play his instrument. The focus is based on the philosophy of producing high quality, well-rounded musicians who happen to play the trombone.

Q: What ensembles are there to play in?

A: Here’s a link that provides a great deal of information on most of UNT ensembles:http://www.music.unt.edu/ensembles/index.shtml.

Q: How does one join the trombone choir?

UNT actually has several trombone choirs. Each semester, trombonists audition to participate in the top trombone choir. A freshman trombone choir is also organized so that the new young students can grow together as they establish themselves in the first year. The remainder of trombone students are divided equally into choirs of approximately 16 players each. These choirs are conducted by both faculty and teaching fellows and meet once a week. Participation in one of these ensembles is required of all trombone students.
A new trombone jazz ensemble has recently been established, called the U-Tubes, and is also handled on a special audition basis.

Q: How do I get into a concert band or orchestra?

A: At the beginning of each school year placement auditions (see “Who will be my teacher?” above) are held. This audition helps to determine trombone studio placement, as well as placement in the bands and orchestras. The audition music is available to all new and returning students at the beginning of August on the College of Music Wind Studies at http://www.music.unt.edu/windstudies/. At the conclusion of these auditions, students are advanced to a second round, which is heard by the wind ensemble and orchestra faculty. The personnel for the orchestra, wind symphony, symphonic band, concert band, and brass band are determined by these auditions.

Q: How do I get into a lab band?

A: Lab Band auditions are held at the beginning of each semester, separate from the studio/ensemble placement auditions. These auditions are strictly sightreading, although some jazz improvisation may be required. There is no music to prepare for this audition, but it is a good idea to practice sightreading jazz music, particularly big band trombone music.

Q: How long will it take to complete my degree?

A: This depends on the student. Grades, success in juries and degree recitals, and how quickly the student desires to finish their chosen program are all factors. Here are some general estimates:

Bachelor of Music Education
Without summer school: 5
With summer school: 4 or less

Bachelor of Performance:
Without summer school: 4 to 5
With summer school: 4 or less

Masters (all music majors):
Without summer school: 2 to 3
With summer school: 2

Doctorate (all music majors):
Without summer school: 3 yrs. for course work
With summer school: 2 yrs. for course work

In general, students are cautioned to not rush through the program, although there are obvious advantages to completing the degree as quickly as possible. However, students learn so much more when they take the time to not just learn the facts, but to absorb them as well. From a musical point of view, the more performing experiences a student can have in college, the more equipped he/she’ll be for the ‘real world’ of music performance and instruction.

Q: Are any teaching assistantships and/or fellowships available?

A: Teaching fellowship (TF) openings are dependent on projected staffing needs in the trombone studio. When a teaching fellowship becomes available, there is rarely more than one to offer. In addition, it is not uncommon for there to be none of these positions to fill. Teaching fellows tend to hold these positions for two to four years. Because great care is taken in awarding these positions, there is rarely the need to replace someone after less than two years. Teaching fellows receive a stipend for their services and may be eligible for various scholarships in addition to their fellowship.

Q: Would I be required to play a particular make of instrument?

A: There is no required make of instrument in the UNT trombone studio. However, we expect all of our students to play instruments suitable for college/pre-professional study and that are in good working order. The trombone faculty always reserves the right to suggest equipment changes to students. In addition, it is expected that students will consult with their trombone teacher before making equipment changes. Last, and very important, unless there are mitigating circumstances, all students are required to own their own instruments.

Q: Will I need a different instrument for lab band and concert band?

A: It depends not only on the particular lab bands and/or concert bands the student is playing in, but also whether the student plays tenor or bass trombone. Students playing tenor trombone in the top three lab bands are expected to play professional model, small bore ‘jazz’ instruments (King 2B, for example). However, students playing in lab bands four through nine may play large bore trombones if this instrument is the only one to which he/she has access. The concert bands, because of the literature and type of sound traditionally needed for these ensembles, tend to require large bore tenor trombones.

Bass trombonists can usually play the same instrument for both lab bands and concert bands, provided he/she can produce a stylistically appropriate tone quality for each ensemble.

Q: Are there any opportunities to hear live music in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area?

A: The Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex is felt by many to be one of the most musically active and diverse areas in the country. Here are but a few professional ensembles active in this area: Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Wind Symphony, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Dallas Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, Dallas Brass, Them Bones Jazz Trombone Ensemble. In addition to this list, there are a host of regional/suburban symphony orchestras, jazz ensembles, chamber ensembles, and professional performers active in this area.

Q: Are there any professional playing and/or teaching opportunities in this area?

A: As with any area, professional opportunities in Dallas/Ft. Worth are varied, challenging to come by, and can take time to obtain. However, if a student who plays and carries him/herself at a professional level is willing to do a little research via the internet and word of mouth, attend performances of professional ensembles, ‘network’ with other professional musicians (some of whom may be fellow students), and allow time for professional relationships to develop, the rewards can be very satisfying.

Concerning teaching opportunities, the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and Texas as a whole, has one of the strongest and most active school band traditions in the country. Many band programs require their students to study privately. To facilitate this, private instruction is offered on the school premises five days a week. This creates a huge need for qualified private instructors on all instruments, including trombone. A student who is willing to network with other students and private instructors can easily carve out a relatively comfortable living teaching privately while in school at UNT. Of course, as with professional playing opportunities, it is up to the student and only the student to create and cultivate these prospects.

Q: Do guest trombone artists ever visit your school?

A: It is possible that the UNT trombone program has hosted more guest artists than any other trombone program in the country, though no research has been done to verify this. Because of its geographical location and stature, the UNT trombone program is fortunate to regularly be contacted by world-class trombone artists who wish to visit the campus. Keep aprised of guests the studio will be hosting by liking our studio facebook page.

Q: I really enjoy playing different styles of music. Would I be limited to performing only in ensembles that serve my major?

A: One of the strengths of the UNT College of Music is that there are so many performing opportunities for students. Trombone students are encouraged to, within reason, gain as broad a performing experience as possible while at UNT. This being stated, students are expected to make sure that they are meeting the ensemble requirements for their major and studio first and foremost. For instance, a sophomore trombone performance major may, with the support of his/her teacher, play in a lab band, a concert band, a chamber ensemble and a trombone choir. However, if it becomes necessary for this student to lighten his/her ensemble load, he/she MUST continue to perform in concert band and trombone choir, as these ensembles are required for this student. The trombone faculty always reserves the right to strongly encourage a student to modify his/her ensemble load if it is deemed to be in the student’s best interests.

Q: How do I apply for acceptance to the university and the College of Music?

A: Simply go to www.music.unt.edu and click the ‘Admissions’ link. From there, read the instructions very closely and follow the directions.

Q: How do I audition for your program and what do I prepare for my audition?

A: Please see above.