Music Monday

One of my most rewarding things to do through photography and music is to meet new people. Sometimes those people are 18 and some are 81. Each and every person has something interesting about themselves even if they think it's just a quirk. Musicians are great to photograph too! Sometimes we make faces that become part of the music. I personally watch musicians' expressions just as much as I listen to them! It is one of the joys of experiencing live music! Each Monday I'd like to feature a musician that I've had the chance to photograph.

Today's feature is Brad Snyder. I have known Brad for a long time, actually a lifetime! I have been good friends with his dad long before Brad was born. As an assistant director to his dad's marching band, it seemed like our kids were at band practice together (more than some of the students.) I've had the privilege of watching Brad grow into a young adult and develop into an incredible musician. I'll let Brad tell you a little about himself.

What first got you into music?

"Well growing up in a house with two music teachers for parents, I was always surrounded by music. Much of my childhood was spent around my Dad’s marching band, and for some reason I always gravitated to the percussion section! When it came time to choose a instrument in fourth grade, I ended up picking the trombone because at the time, the school district didn’t start percussion until fifth grade. When I was in fifth grade I heard a trombone soloist for the first time, while playing in the local community band. The soloist became one of my primary teachers from 5th to 12th grade, Bruce Lazier. Bruce played "Thoughts of Love" by Arthur Pryor and I was floored. I quickly decided that I wanted to take lessons with him. After that, I fell in love with the trombone and music and the rest is history as they say."

Who inspired you to make music?

"I have found that what/who inspires me has shifted pretty regularly over the years. When I was younger, I drew inspiration from recordings of the great trombone players and trombone chamber ensembles. I spent quite a bit of time when I was in high school listening to groups like Four Of A Kind, the New Trombone Collective, and the Chicago Trombone Consort. I listened to a ton of big band recordings as well in high school. When I got to college my listening shifted a little bit, and I began listening to a wider variety of music. My teacher at Penn State, Mark Lusk, really encourages his students to listen to a wide variety of music to help inspire, and influence your personal musical voice. I began listening to vocalists, string soloists, and pianists much more. I also listened to a ton of orchestral music, jazz, and broadway...basically anything that I could get my hands on." 

"Now I still listen to a ton of records. I have really developed a love for the trombone tradition that existed in the middle of the 20th Century with trombonists like Dick Nash, George Roberts, Kenny Schroyer, Urbie Green. I think that some of the best trombone playing ever happened in that generation."

"However, a lot of what inspires me now is the students that I get to teach, the colleagues I get to perform with, and the music I play. That is what keeps me in the practice room. It is also important to mention that I have been blessed with incredible teachers, who have continue to inspire me to this day. Much of who I am as a musician and teacher is because of them. "

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

"A lot of what I do now is solo playing, chamber music, and playing in orchestras. I have always loved the trombone choir in its various forms, and I am very lucky to be able to conduct the Florida State Trombone Choir with my other colleagues. "

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

"That is a long list...the people I would have loved to play with would be going back in time in Los Angeles and playing with all of those studio guys. Playing with Hoyt’s Garage, Tuttis Trombones, 10 Trombones like 2 Pianos, any of the Sinatra Records with Nelson Riddle. That would be amazing!"

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

" depends on what I have coming up. If I am getting ready for an audition then I usually end up singing something from the excerpt list because it stuck in my head. If its recital time, then I am basically doing the same thing just with the music I am preparing for the recital."

"Work hard, love what you do, and always believe that what you have to say matters. We need to have more authentic, unique musical voices coming from young musicians, rather than emulating what already exists. And always put the music first!"

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

"Probably be working in the history field. I have always loved history and find it extremely fascinating. Though recently, I have discovered a real interest in cooking. That could’ve been a possibility as well."

Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues?

"I have mainly performed in the places that I have lived, so all over Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida. One of my favorite places I have performed is the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. It was built in the 1500’s and has unbelievable acoustics. Also, the Woodlands Pavilion north of Houston, where the Houston Symphony plays, is also a cool venue because of its size. Playing July Fourth there with the Houston Symphony for 20,000 plus people was exhilarating."

Do you have any upcoming shows?

"My next concert, for the foreseeable future, is playing with the brass section from the Ocala Symphony Orchestra for a semi-live/virtual audience on July Fourth."

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

"I think that students have so many more resources available to them to learn new things from, because of the internet. However, having the determination, and the patience to find and consume that information, is what I find younger students are lacking. However, now there is a lot of bad information that can look like correct information, and it is important for students to find the content that is coming from true professional performers and educators."

What is your favorite song to perform?

"So far it has been "Pictures at an Exhibition", "Alpine Symphony" and "Miraculous Mandarin."

Which famous musicians do you admire?

"The list is very long, but the short list is Jacob Collier, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Jonas Kauffman, Alex Lacamoire, and Jason Robert Brown. Any musician that is authentic to who they are, and represents that in the music that they create/perform, is worth admiring in my opinion!"

What’s next for you?

"Next for me is completing my Doctorate and continuing performing with the Ocala Symphony for our upcoming season. After I finish with the doctorate in May 2021, I hope to secure either a performing or college teaching position."

Contact Information:

Slide Brigade at Hershey Park

Best advice? "Stay humble and work hard. You can only control what you can control. Put the music first and the rest will take care of itself."