Young musicians learn life skills from professional trumpet player

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BURLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Young musicians from the Burley and Declo high school band programs had the opportunity of a lifetime March 7, as they met and worked with a professional jazz trumpet player.

That night they performed in a concert featuring jazz bands from both schools, but their instructors told KMVT they hope the experience will affect their life in and out of music long after that night.

Mike Vax is the director of the Stan Kenton Tribute Band, and for him, it's always been about the music.

"Whether it's music like we just did with concert band," he said. "Or music with jazz band."

But he told KMVT, when he goes on school visits, like the one he made to students in Cassia County, his focus shifts to the kids.

"Getting them turned on to this kind of music is partly how we keep the music alive," Vax said.

That message came through loud and clear for Joe Crafts, a student at Burley High School.

"Having something to work at that you can see your growth and see what you can make of yourself or make of a performance or what you can work at and create. It's really inspiring and it makes it feel worth it," he said of his time working in the performing arts at Burley.

Even if students never pick up a horn past high school, Vax said he hopes the message of his visit will stick.

"Some of them are going to want to be a doctor or a lawyer," he said. "But one of the biggest things music teaches is commitment. If you are going to be successful in music you have to commit to the time to be able to play it properly. You get the experience of not being able to do something, working on it, and then being able to do it really well. That transfers to any job that you're going to have."

And for a few of the student, like Joe, the visit inspired them to continue chasing musical dreams.

"Seeing the pros do it. It's inspiring," Joe said. "Even if you don't want to go professional it will push you towards playing in community ensembles, it will push you to be more than what you are it will push you to practice it will push you to play at your best."

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