Student musicians tour Southwest with Musicians on Tour program

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Kyle Hansen | The Daily Wildcat

The saxophone section of the UA Studio Jazz Ensemble rehearses with the band at the Fred Fox School of Music in 2014. Different ensembles can perform with the UA Musicians on Tour program.

Students of the Fred Fox School of Music are taking their skills outside the practice rooms and performing across the Southwest as part of the UA Musicians on Tour program. From local Tucson schools all the way to Mexico, student musicians are traveling to perform for eager and encouraging audiences.

An essential part of any musician’s studies, regardless of skill level, is practice. Whatever their instrument, one could spend hours practicing a difficult section in a piece of music or weeks perfecting a new technique.

While all this practice is an integral part of being a musician, getting the opportunity to perform for an audience is also vital.

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"It’s important to get them out of those practice rooms and onto stages where their prepared work is heard and appreciated by live audiences who are listening intently and enjoying what our students have to offer," said Tannis Gibson, director of UA Musicians on Tour and a professor in the Fred Fox School of Music.

Gibson said the program began about 10 years ago and originally featured pianists.

Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

Mike Ion practices scales for his studio lessons in a practice room in the basement of the Fred Fox School of Music on Jan. 20, 2015. Students who participate in the UA Musicians on Tour Program perform outside of the school in the community.

Over the years the program has evolved to feature students of all musical disciplines in ensembles and solo performances.

"Repeated performance experiences effectively take our student performers out of the practice rooms and studio lessons and help them to envision their future in music through the light of real-world performance," states Gibson in a written statement about the program.

As with any art form, musicians who don’t leave the practice room are deprived of knowing how an audience reacts to their art.

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These recitals that students in the UA Musicians on Tour program are able to take part in give them a chance to see how their music effects those listening. They can determine whether something is working and what they should continue to spend time on during practice.

Possibly the most important benefit for students in the UA Musicians on Tour program is the opportunity to gain on-stage experience. It comes with the territory that artists bear their hearts and open themselves up for judgement when performing for an audience, and musicians are no exception.

"I hope there are other music schools offering these important performance possibilities to students, though I don’t believe it’s the norm," Gibson said. "[This program] says that we take performance seriously and that we want our students learning through the experience itself."

Trevor Barroero is a percussion performance senior involved in the UA Musicians on Tour program. In the past he has performed at the Green Valley Community Performance and Art Center to perform with the UA Percussion Ensemble as part of the program, and he has another performance this April.

"As a student majoring in music performance, I am always seeking opportunities to perform my instrument throughout the Tucson community," Barroero said. "It is essential for all serious music students to pursue performance opportunities outside of their immediate network."On April 6, Barroero will be performing a solo percussion recital at the Bloom Music Center at the St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church. He will be displaying his instrumental range as a percussionist by performing works for solo marimba, multi-percussion, electronics and snare drum.

Barroero was first invited to be a part of the UA Musicians on Tour program in the summer of 2016. Gibson reached out to Barroero and extended the invitation to join the prestigious traveling musicians program. In his efforts to participate in as many public performances as possible during his last year as a UA student, Barroero said he believed joining the program would help him achieve this goal.

"The program has also fervently supported my personal performance endeavors," Barroero said.

Rebecca Marie Sasnett | The Daily Wildcat

Ivar-Nicholas Fojas (left) and Misael Barraza Diaz (right) practice their guitar duet in the UA Museum of Art on Nov. 7, 2013. Soloists and ensembles can perform with the UA Musicians on Tour program.

In just the last few months, Barroero has performed in Russia with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and in Athens, Georgia, as part of the trio "Lineage Percussion." While these performances were not facilitated by the UA Musicians on Tour program, Barroero said the program was in full support of his travels.

UA Musicians on Tour will be featuring undergraduate and graduate solo pianists at their next concert at the Green Valley Recreation Center on Feb. 5.

The concert begins at 2 p.m. and tickets are available at the door.


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