John H. Julian
Knowledge, Skills and Ability Statement

During my formal study of conducting at the University of Texas at Austin, I began a continuing quest for new and better means of communicating to ensembles through verbal and visual instruction. As Graduate Teaching Assistant for both Glenn Richter (Professor of Conducting, Director of Longhorn Bands and Wind Ensemble Conductor, 1986-87), and Richard Floyd (Professor of Conducting and Wind Ensemble Conductor, 1987-88, and State Director of UIL Music Activities), I observed and practiced both traditional and innovative rehearsal and conducting techniques as they were applied to an outstanding university wind ensemble performing standard and contemporary works of original wind literature as well as orchestral transcriptions.

Incorporated into, and inseparable from, this study of wind conducting was a year-long course in wind band literature, beginning from its starting point (according to Frederick Fennell) with Gabrieli in the sixteenth century, and ending with contemporary composers such as Iannacone, de Meij and Maslanka. Much time was spent studying the cornerstone works of wind literature by Holst, Grainger, Hindemith and others.

It was my privilege to apply what I had learned to my Master’s Conducting Recital with the UT Wind Ensemble in April, 1988. This concert was comprised of a variety of pieces, including chamber groups performing the Dukas “Fanfare for Pour Preceder ‘La Peri’” and Gounod’s “Petite Symphony,” as well as full band works by Schumann, Hanson and Paulson.

Beyond my formal training at the University of Texas, I have continued to develop my approach to conducting, repertoire and programming by attending masterclasses, clinics and rehearsals led by such notable wind conductors as H. Robert Reynolds, Jerry Junkin, Mallory Thompson, Frederick Fennell and others. I have also continued to expand my personal library of scores and recordings, and have studied articles, books and videos on conducting, score preparation and rehearsal techniques.

As a conductor with over 15 years experience in public school bands, my approach includes personal refinements, variations and enhancements developed in practice with my ensembles, and am quite comfortable solving pedagogy problems when necessary. I use adaptations of techniques, sometimes subtle, sometimes profound, to fit the musical and maturity level of the specific ensemble.

Through planning, conducting, performing and attending innumerable concerts, I have discovered that successful programming requires a balance of the educational needs of the students, the occasion and the tastes of the audience for whom the ensemble is performing. In a formal concert setting, a performance should flow through a planned range of emotional contours. A concert may be compared to a gourmet meal, where one is presented a variety of contrasting and complimentary flavors and textures in independently satisfying courses, leaving one sated at the end but wishing there was room for more! In programming, one must assess the abilities of the ensemble, selecting music that can be mastered in a finite period of time. Taken into consideration must be the learning sequence that will allow the student to assimilate any new concepts in the context of practical application. The “Cognitive Apprenticeship Model” developed by Sue E. Berryman at Columbia University stresses active learning - “hands-on” work in context - that allows the student to absorb and process information using existing cognitive skills and learning style, thus developing a relationship between old and new material that results in growth.

I have employed this process throughout my career as a public school teacher. By meeting the student at his existing level and then introducing one pertinent concept or skill at a time through practical and relevant material, I have been able to engage the student’s mind in “re-creating” the material in his own cognitive context. The student now “owns” the skill or knowledge and can apply that material at will when necessary.

As a trumpet teacher, I have had many opportunities to apply this in one-on-one teaching situations. In studying with several of the finest trumpet teachers in the United States, including Don Jacoby, (NBC, CBS, and ABC orchestras and classical trumpet soloist) and Raymond Crisara (first-call recording artist in New York for over 40 years and Principal Trumpet with the NBC Orchestra under Toscanini ), I spent countless hours studying and mastering the physical concepts of brass playing, and have become quite adept at solving performance problems, as well as designing plans for the student’s long-range growth.

Along with pedagogical concerns came intensive study in shaping and crafting music. I maintain a personal library of trumpet recordings, compositions and study materials which I often use with my students. Music is a “sonic” art, and an “imitative” art; it is very difficult to become a fine player without the experience of listening to fine players. I use recordings extensively, and encourage the student to not only imitate what he hears, but, as above, to “re-create” it in the context of his own knowledge, experience and emotion.

With the advent of the Internet, there are many places one can search for information and ideas on trumpet playing. I regularly visit the websites of the Trumpet Players International Network and the International Trumpet Guild, and often navigate the trumpet links therein to stay current on new trends in music, pedagogy and equipment. Contacts with performing professionals is another means I use to sharpen my perception and diagnostic skills. I currently spend time each week with professional players on trumpet, trombone, flute and percussion discussing musical and pedagogical concepts.

Of course, all the above is moot if one does not develop a pool of talented students to teach. It is my belief, developed from recruiting for the University of Texas bands and for my own programs, that in addition to building a fine academic and musical reputation, building relationships with students, parents and, in the case of college recruitment, students’ high school band directors, is the strongest method for drawing a student into a program. It behooves the college band director to provide musical support for local high school directors and to develop professional relationships with them. This can be done by personal contact, concert and contest attendance, clinics and observational visits as well as formal recruiting presentations.

In building professional relationships, often overlooked is the value of inviting local high school directors and their students to come to the college to participate in campus musical events, included performing as guests on concerts and recitals. This would allow the student to feel that he already belongs at the college, and would give the director a personal and professional investment in the success of the program.

From the inception of my career in 1980, I have been known as a “counselor,” confidant” and “advisor” to my students. I have dealt with problems regarding almost every topic imaginable, including career, college and course selections, as well as personal and academic challenges. This was, and continues to be, “on the job training.” Through these experiences my listening skills and objectivity have vastly improved, as I learned to diminish the importance of my own opinions and biases, put aside judgements, and present advice that would provide appropriate direction for the student.

It is always my goal to base my recommendations and advice on the Truth of God’s Word, although in the public school setting this must sometimes be done without direct reference. During one year of teaching a music literature course, I was able to incorporate Francis Schaeffer’s “How Should We Then Live?” series, which traces trends in the history of philosophy and art from the Roman Empire to the present. This made a great impact on the students, and I continue to use this material informally whenever possible. I also use as much as possible of C.S. Lewis. Other than the Bible itself, these two writers have had the most profound impact on my theology, approach to teaching and on my relationships with students and the world in which we live.

In order to multiply my impact on my students’ lives, for the 1997-1998 school year I focused on developing my students’ leadership skills. This culminated in a week-long, hands-on, student leadership seminar in June at Arlington High School, where I am currently employed. Adapting materials from major leadership and motivational figures such as John Maxwell, Josh McDowell, Stephen Covey, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Lou Holtz, Tim Lautzenheiser and a variety of independent sources, including my own personal experience, I developed and published a leadership manual of over 100 pages, covering such topics as “The Art of Leadership,” “Inventing the Future,” “The Common Denominator of Success,” and “Potential and the Blessing in Adversity.” I saw this as an opportunity to further develop character and Christian values in my students through the band experience. The students were highly receptive to these concepts which they immediately saw as true, authentic and applicable to their personal, musical and academic lives.

As a public band director, I have spent considerable time working with other school groups, including a variety of sports teams, drama, choir, general music and UIL academics. I have enjoyed working relationships with educators in almost every field. In the public school, team work and cohesiveness among colleagues is a must in being role models for students. Educationally, there are shared skills, concepts and teaching techniques that cross all disciplinary boundaries.

“Communication” is the purpose of Art, to transmit an emotion from one’s soul to another through a chosen medium. I believe music is the purest art, as sound bypasses verbal centers of the brain and goes straight to the “heart.” However, in developing and refining our art, we must often use written and verbal means to communicate much of our message. To better communicate through the written word, I have studied materials from my career, my Christian interests, and from avocational resources. In the study of verbal skills, I have turned to cassette recordings by well-known public and motivational speakers, those whose careers depend on verbal communication. Through my studies, I have gained knowledge of presentation skills as well as structure and word choice.

Since 1980, I have had the opportunity to hone and refine all my skills in a variety of settings. I have taught students who were rich, poor, smart, “challenged.” I have worked with kids from the “wrong side of the tracks” and kids who were National Merit Scholars. I have led fifth graders through recruiting drives and conducted doctoral candidates and professional musicians. In each situation I observed that we all - students, conductors and listeners - wish to experience the “magic” of music, and this can happen at a performance, in a rehearsal or even in a practice room.

Music is art; art is communication. Music, at its purest and deepest level, is about the human heart, and touching the hearts of our students and audiences should be our greatest concern.

© 2004