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Brass Studios

At UCF, studios are where you study with your private teacher for lessons and masterclasses on your specific instrument. It is also where music majors form a community with others studying the same instrument in an environment that encourages learning from and performing with each other. All music majors study with our world-renowned UCF faculty members with weekly lessons and studio masterclasses.

Each trumpet student studies directly with faculty member Jesse Cook and is provided a well-rounded and versatile education for those wanting to study music performance, music education and general music studies. Trumpet performers play a major role in almost every ensemble UCF has to offer including the major ensembles in band, orchestra and jazz and in smaller ensembles such as New Music Ensemble, Early Music Ensemble, Brass Quintets and of course, The Knights Trumpet Ensemble. The trumpet ensemble participates in the National Trumpet Competition and International Trumpet Guild Conference annually and performs locally.

Each week, the trumpet studio has a master class, warm-up sessions and lessons. Students will be prepared musically and technically for graduate school auditions in trumpet performance, to interview for jobs as a band director or to take your skills into the freelance or business worlds. Most importantly, the studio is dedicated to fostering an environment of inclusion and camaraderie among all UCF trumpet players from freshman to graduate student while learning the value of hard and thoughtful work that impacts everyday life, both in and out of the practice room.

Students who have studied with Jesse Cook have been hired as professional performers in the Armed Services, teaching assistants in graduate schools, band directors and freelancers across the country. Others have taken their musical skills into finance, business, medical and law.

Click here to learn about studying trumpet in the Jazz Studio.

Each horn student studies directly with faculty member Benjamin Lieser with weekly lessons in addition to weekly studio classes. Students receive the same level of instruction regardless of which major they pursue.

Horn players have many opportunities to perform in both large and small ensembles. Many students perform in the UCF Symphony Orchestra and UCF Wind Ensemble, two of the premier large ensembles at UCF. There are also opportunities to play in chamber groups such as brass quintets, woodwind quintets, horn ensemble and horn quartets. The Horn Ensemble performs for the Florida French Horn Festival and the Southeast Horn Workshops.

Students studying at UCF have the unique opportunity to study historical and auxiliary instruments that include natural horns, a descant horn and an alphorn.

Graduates from the horn studio will have understand their true musical potential and possess the skills needed to continue their progress.

Students who have studied with Lieser have become successful elementary and secondary music educators and others have continued their studies at institutions such as Indiana University, Carnegie Mellon, University of Alabama, Louisiana State University and University of Oregon.

Students in the trombone studio will study directly with faculty member, Luis Fred, for individual lessons, chamber coaching and orchestral sectionals. Fred has an extensive career stretching more than 30 years that includes organizations such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. Prior to his appointment at UCF, Fred was the principal trombone with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and currently is a member of the Trombones de Costa Rica, a trailblazing quartet that is in high demand for conferences and seminars.

Trombonists can audition for ensembles such as the UCF Symphony Orchestra, Flying Horse Big Band, UCF Wind Ensemble and more. Trombone students will also perform in the UCF Trombone Choir and brass chamber ensembles that perform a wide repertoire of chamber music. The UCF Trombone Choir has travelled internationally to Costa Rica and has done many concerts around Florida. Students are strongly encouraged to engage in community concerts and activities to augment their training at UCF.

The studio features master classes and guest artist recitals with renowned trombonists wuch as Jay Friedman and Michael Mulcahy (Chicago Symphony), Brian Hecht (Atlanta Symphony), Roger Oyster (Kansas City Philharmonic), Tim Owner and Tim Smith (Buffalo Philharmonic), Peter Steiner (international soloist), Mark Kellog (Eastman). Important Central Florida trombonists have also visited including Harold van Schaik (TFO), Joel Vaisse (TFO, Jeff Thomas (Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra), Joseph Vascik (Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra), Alex Regazzi (Bach Festival).

Graduates will leave with significant exposure to trombone fundamentals and technique. This training will be augmented with experiential learning in solo, chamber, orchestral, band and if you choose so, jazz literature. All of these experiences prepare alumni for entry into professional performing arts organizations or graduate programs.

Luis Fred’s teaching style takes into account that performers require significant experiential learning opportunities. Creating a balance and frequency with these is a must. The trombone studio goal is that our alumni will be players with a technique that is economical and efficient and seasoned in playing multiple styles to meet the challenges of the professional world.

Click here to learn about studying trombone in the Jazz Studio.

Euphonium and tuba students study directly with faculty member Benjamin Vasko. Dr. Vasko, who is also on the faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute as well as the brass staff of the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, enjoys a full career as a performer. He is fortunate to work with great orchestras like the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and perform chamber music around the United States with the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass and his own Brookwood Trio (trumpet, tuba, piano).

Students work with Dr. Vasko to find their own musical voice while ensuring that they have a technical command of their instrument that allows their voice to be heard. Dr. Vasko believes that community is key in combatting the stress and rigor of pursuing a career in music. Fostering a culture of positivity and peer encouragement in his studio is of utmost importance. Through shared musical experience and rigorous but rewarding study, he aims to create a more well-rounded future generation of musicians, educators and otherwise.

Alumni Highlights

Dave Schreier ’02 ’10
BME; M.A., Conducting | Euphonium
Assistant Director of Bands, UCF

Rachelle Jenkins ’11
B.M., Music Performance | French Horn
M.M., Orchestra Performance, McGill University

Madison Roach ’09
BME | French Horn
Music Teacher, Deerwood Elementary, Osceola County

Melissa (Murphy) Johnson ’10
BME | French Horn
Teacher, Clarcona Elementary

Juan Berrios ’10
B.M., Music Performance | Horn
Hornist, Dallas Brass

Ron Ellis ’03
B.A., Music | Trombone
Associate Director of Bands, University of Texas, San Antonio; Music Director, Walt Disney Attractions Entertainment

Frank McDonald ’95
B.A., Music | Trumpet
On-call Musician, Walt Disney World Resorts; Former Sergeant, Musician, United States Marine Corps.; Recipient of the Walt Disney Legacy Award

Mike Rice ’02
BME | Trumpet
Assistant Principal, Lake Mary High School

Rob Schaer ’02
B.M., Music Performance | Trumpet
Freelance Musician, Los Angeles, CA; Performer – Orchestras, TV/Motion Picture Soundtracks, Broadway

Stephen Alia ’96
BME | Trumpet
Director of Bands, Jere L. Stambaugh Middle School

Taylor Lieble ’11
B.A., Music | Trumpet
Studying nursing at UCF

Sara Myers ’12
BME | Trumpet
Music Teacher, Oasis Charter Elementary

Gary Hernandez ’02 ’03
B.A., Music; MMEd | Trombone
Director of Bands, Key West High School

Daniel Woloshin ’14
BME | Trombone
Music Teacher, Pine Castle Elementary School

Alessandro Bonotto
Trumpet | Ph.D.
Performer, United States Navy Fleet Bands

Kenneth Boyd ’98
BME | Trumpet
Director of Bands, West Orange High School

Joe Young IV ’11
B.M., Music Performance | Trumpet
4th/Jazz Trumpeter and Assistant Road Manager, The World-Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra

Brian Edwards ’05
B.A., Music | Trumpet
Music Director, P.M. Wells Charter Academy

Luke Jones ’07
B.M., Music Performance | Trumpet
Band Director, Braden River Middle School; Freelance Musician

John Schnettler ’98
BME | Trumpet
Associate Director of Bands & Director of Athletic Bands, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN

Ryan Sirmeyer ’10
B.A., Music | Trumpet
Instructor and Clinician to High School Marching Bands

Paul Weikle ’86
B.A., Music | Tuba
Director of Bands, Florida State College

Chris Ellison ’93
MMEd | Tuba
Director of Orchestra, Chorus, Musical Theater and Assistant Band Director, Naples High School

Garine (Fakrajian) Adams ’11
BME | Tuba
Teacher, Kissimmee Elementary

Josh Hobbs ’13
B.M., Composition | Trumpet
Freelance Conductor; M.M., Instrumental Conducting, USF