Posted on 03/08/15 by in Fascinating Rhythms
By Jennifer Abelson
Caleb Smith (Shaker Heights) has recently been named a 2015 YoungArts Foundation Winner, one of 11,000 applicants across the nation who have applied for this prestigious honor that highlights a student’s artistic talent. This 18-year old trombone player started off playing music as a middle-school requirement, but it quickly grew to become a central part of who he is.
Q: Why the trombone?
A: Music is required at Shaker Heights Middle School, and the instrument that stood out to me the most was the trombone. To me, it sounds the most like a human voice out of all of the wind instruments…the most graceful to me. I started playing Trombone in middle school and it just stuck.
Q: Why did you decide to study at The Music Settlement?
A: I wanted to learn how to be more immersed in Jazz. We have a Jazz band at Shaker but wanted more. With J@MS, I could learn Jazz history, how to play in ensemble, big band, music theory--I had the opportunity to learn all about Jazz.
Q: What are your favorite things about studying at The Music Settlement?
A: I like the chance to be around people who enjoy playing the same type of music as I do. It’s very inspiring. Without J@MS, I would not have attended the 5-week program at Berklee, which was an incredible experience and a definite favorite part of the program. J@Ms helped me realize myself through music and helped me understand what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Q: After graduation in May, what are your plans?
A: I’ve auditioned at five conservatory-style colleges: Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, New School for Jazz, and Manhattan School of Music. I plan to major in Jazz (Trombone). After college, I hope to get my masters degree somewhere. My teachers tell me it’s important to be able to teach, which is what I want to do. I hope to teach jazz at a school of higher learning -- University or Conservatory. I also hope to record and make music with groups of my own.
Caleb will be playing a duet with a Bassoon player at the Gala, so you can check out his amazing skills then and congratulate him for being a 2015 YoungArts Foundation Winner! Jazz certainly isn’t just an out-of-school activity for him now, and it won’t be in the future—it’s his passion. He states, “Jazz will always be a part of my life.” Catch this amazing trombonist at the Gala and say that you heard him in his early years--he’s sure to be a success!
Jennifer Abelson is a writer for The Music Settlement