The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB congratulates Drew Ninmer, composition, as the Cole Conservatory Scholar of the Month for October 2013.
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This Week at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music

Cole Conservatory Scholar of the Month:
October 2013

Drew Ninmer, trumpet/COMPOSER

Portrait of Drew Ninmer.

Trumpeter/Composer DREW NINMER is currently the Jazz Studies Graduate Assistant at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University Long Beach. In addition to being a Cole Scholar, he has also been awarded the Beau and Jo France Graduate Jazz Studies Scholarship. Drew serves as the director of the Jazz Lab Band and is the lead trumpet player in the Concert Jazz Orchestra. He also performs with the award-winning trumpet ensemble, the University Brass Quintet, the Wind Symphony and the Conservatory Jazz Combo.

Drew holds a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana. While there, he held top spots in the Concert Jazz Band, Latin Jazz Ensemble, Wind Orchestra, and Philharmonic Orchestra. He a featured soloist and lead trumpet player on a 2011 CD release with the Concert Jazz Band entitled Free Play. He has also played trumpet for professional theatre while residing in Illinois, as well as leading a quartet and quintet outside of the University.

Drew has also composed and arranged for various groups, writing for jazz band, jazz combo instrumentations, jazz saxophone and trombone ensembles, brass ensemble and solo piano. In addition to being a Master’s student, Drew plays trumpet professionally in the Los Angeles area, teaches trumpet lessons, and works at The Horn Guys in Long Beach.

Drew is studying jazz trumpet with Ron Stout and classical trumpet with David Washburn.

BCCM: To whom or what do you attribute your initial interest and further development?

DREW: My mom is a junior high school band director and my dad used to be a high school band director, so music was always in our family. I started taking piano lessons from my mom when I was five, and then picked up the trumpet at age 10. I originally really wanted to play the trombone, but when I tried out all of the instruments, I had a natural ability on the trumpet, so my dad suggested I take after him and play the trumpet.

BCCM: What has been your most exciting musical experience thus far?

DREW: The summer of 2011 I was selected as one of the 21 musicians out of hundreds that auditioned to be part of the Disneyland All-American College Band. The best collegiate talent from across the US is selected each year to create this ensemble. It was the first time that I had spent any extended time in California and I learned much from my peers and the director, Dr. Ron McCurdy. This positive experience led to my decision to attend graduate school in California.

BCCM: Do you employ any specific methods to help your students?

DREW: Almost all of the students that come to me for lessons do not understand how to breathe properly. It is the most important aspect of playing the trumpet. I have them do breathing and singing exercises to learn how to use their air support, and to breathe as naturally as possible. It is very rewarding to see the light bulb turn on in their heads when they finally grasp the concept.

BCCM: Is there anything in particular that helps you in your practicing techniques?

DREW: I think that the most important practice is to focus. Many people, when practicing, get sidetracked by their phone, computer, or talking to peers that pass by. I try to be focused and efficient when I practice. One focused hour of practicing is much better than 3 hours of unfocused practice.

BCCM: If you could play a set with anyone, who would it be and would it be a trio or a quartet?

DREW: This is a great question, and a tough one! I would have to make it a quartet, and it would be Herbie Hancock on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums. One of my favorite albums, Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall has these three as the rhythm section. They are all such creative and innovative musicians, and have an incredible ability to communicate with each other on a level that is uncommon to hear.

BCCM: Are you reading any particular books?

DREW: I am currently reading a couple of books. The first is Bebop: A Social and Musical History by Scott DeVeaux. This is a great book about the history of bebop in jazz music. I also really enjoy reading about theology, and am also reading Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel.

BCCM: What would you like to do after graduation?

DREW: When I finish the Master's degree in the spring of 2014, I plan to continue living and freelancing as a musician around the Los Angeles area. I also have a strong desire to someday become the head of a jazz department at a college or university.

Drew notes, "I have learned so much while studying at CSULB and am fortunate to study with one of the best jazz educators in the country, Jeff Jarvis. It has been my privilege to be his graduate assistant and to direct the Jazz Lab Band. Being in a teaching position has helped me to learn about myself and Jeff's guidance has been invaluable." Congratulations to Drew Ninmer, our October 2013 Cole Scholar of the Month!

Previously Honored Cole Scholars of the Month






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Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
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