The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Colorado State University introduced a new trumpet professor this year: Canadian Brass member Caleb Hudson. Hudson graduated from Juilliard after a lifetime of pursuing music.
“I started playing the trumpet when I was 10 years old, and it was my first, and only, instrument,” said CSU trumpet professor Caleb Hudson. “My parents bought me a used, dented, rusty horn from the classifieds, and I fell in love with it immediately. I have vivid memories of those initial years, waking up at 5 a.m., getting ready for school and then practicing my trumpet until the school bus came. I would stare out the window and dream about getting into Juilliard and becoming a trumpet soloist. Very soon after I started playing, I was overcome with a hunger and a passion for music, and thankfully it hasn’t subsided since.”
After graduating from Juilliard, Canadian Brass invited Hudson to audition.
“My world was rocked when I was invited to audition for Canadian Brass,” Hudson said. “This was an ensemble that I had listened to growing up. To be asked to join a group with such a legacy and prominent place in the music world was incredible, and it’s something I don’t ever take for granted.”
Canadian Brass has performed almost 300 concerts and recorded four albums since Hudson joined in 2013. The group puts an emphasis on education, and the interaction with young music students inspired Hudson to pursue teaching his craft. However, when it comes to being a professor for CSU’s trumpet studio, Hudson admits that he is a total rookie.
“I’ve never held a previous college teaching position,” Hudson said. “I’ve taught in many different capacities, all over the world, but all of them were fairly short term. A coaching here, a masterclass there, private lessons interspersed as well. My position at CSU is exciting because I have the chance to build something here and to have a significant impact on my studio.”
According to Hudson, passion and connection with his students are his top priorities while teaching at his trumpet studio.
“Whether or not music plays a prominent role in their careers is secondary,” Hudson said. “Music is worthwhile for its own sake. There is nothing better than making music with others who share a similar passion and commitment. It’s about constant discovery, the pursuit of excellence and the joy of creating something meaningful.”
Hudson looks back on his own musical history, including his teachers and mentors throughout the years, to guide him in his teaching future at CSU.
“All I want to think about is what’s best for the students,” Hudson said. “What can I do now to be the best resource available to them? How can I use my talent, knowledge and platform to serve in the best capacity? When I think of legacy, I immediately think of my own teachers. The best of them were true mentors as well. They exuded a generosity of spirit and made sacrifices. All of the musicians I respect most are those kind of inspiring teachers, and I want to be like them.”
CSU’s Center for the Arts included Hudson in multiple performances in the fall semester, including a feature with the University Symphony Orchestra at their fall concert in September. Hudson will also join other members of Canadian Brass in hosting a master class on Sunday, Jan. 29. Despite his busy performance schedule, Hudson said that leaving behind a legacy for young musicians is one of his top priorities.
“I think that when it comes to the love for any art form or discipline, the natural expression is to pass it on,” Hudson said. “I did not enter Juilliard with the intention of teaching in any capacity. I was focused on performance, and refining my musicianship and technique. Then I started participating in various teaching and outreach programs at Juilliard. As I performed with other students at hospitals, geriatric facilities and AIDS shelters, I began to realize that my artistry had a place in my community. As I began to teach young underprivileged students from the five boroughs of New York City, I learned that I could be useful in having a meaningful influence on others.”
Hudson looks forward to another semester full of performances, teaching and leaving his mark on CSU.