MSU has been a participant of MMTA for several years. In fact, the music department’s very own faculty member, Dr. Jason Hausback, has been vice president of the organization for the last eight years. It’s not unusual for MSU students to do well but at the caliber that they performed this year, it’s something to celebrate.
There are several music teachers associations that exist throughout the nation for each state, but Missouri’s is one of the largest. Typically, the event encompasses nearly 600 competitors and spans four days. It’s no small feat that MSU claimed three out of the four spots in the brass competition alone.
“I was a judge before I was vice president and it’s tough to be a judge. Sometimes it’s like comparing apples and oranges. You’ll have this person on this instrument, then someone on a different instrument with different music. How do you pick the winner?” —Dr. Jason Hausback
These musicians range from pre-college to the graduate level and include any brass instrument. The candidates select three pieces of music to perform in an open audition. “It’s basically like performing a mini recital,” Hausback explained.
So, what is it that sets MSU students apart from everyone else? Hausback shared some of his insight about how he mentors students.
The student need to prepare well in advance. Hausback typically meets with them the summer before and once the school year starts, they hit the ground running. From choosing repertoire, to filling out goal sheets, and getting feedback on their performances from their peers, these students work on their pieces anywhere from three to nine months, depending on how far they advance in the competition.
While it may sound exhausting, Hausback explained that it actually helps establish a sense of camaraderie among his students. “We have studio class where my students perform for each other and give feedback,” Hausback said, “The auditions are open so they get to go in the room and hear their friends compete.”
Hausback emphasized that another important component for a competitor is the music selection. Judges want musicians who can play with finesse and highlight the musical detail in a piece, not just the loud and flashy pieces. “Dr. Hausback and I chose the pieces together,” Darwin Gist, one of Hausback’s students, said in an interview. “We put together more of a program, starting from early Baroque music to more contemporary music.”
Gist, a junior studying musical performance, has been Hausback’s student since high school. In the summer, he was a winner in an online national competition and in November he won the Missouri Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Brass competition. Hausback described him, and most of his students, as naturally hard workers.
“Being in the performing arts is like being any other student but with 20 to 30 more hours of stuff. The time that classes meet is a very small portion of their time, it’s mostly practicing and rehearsals. When are you done? Really never.” —Dr. Jason Hausback
Amid the pressures of performing and the stress of competition, Hausback managed to cultivate an experience for his students that emphasizes togetherness and teamwork by way of music.
Gist was selected to be an alternate in the MTNA scheduled for March 2022.
Below is a complete list of MSU students who received awards or honors in the MMTA competition this year:
MTNA Young Artist Brass Competition
Darwin Gist, bass trombone, Winner
Drew Robertson, trombone, Honorable Mention
MMTA Collegiate Upper Brass Competition
Emmitt trumpet, trumpet, Winner
Kalleigh Hickory, trombone, Runner Up
Vaughn Griffith, trombone, Honorable Mention
Kennedy Ryan, trumpet, Honorable Mention
MMTA Collegiate Graduate Brass Competition
Patrick Perry, bass trombone, Winner
Hyejin Yi, trumpet, Runner Up
Alberto Martinez, trombone, Honorable Mention