Thomas Erdmann has an article published

The professor of music had an article published in The International Trumpet Guild Journal.

Professor of Music Thomas Erdmann had a 6,000-word article published in the June 2019 issue of The International Trumpet Guild Journal.

The article, "Terell Stafford: Leading By Example," is on the trumpeter, flugelhornist, composer, and educator. Currently Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, Stafford has received many accolades including being managing and artistic director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP), winning a Grammy Award as well as performing on numerous Grammy-nominated albums, being a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and a clinician for the Vail Jazz Foundation and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Program.

Jazz legend and pianist McCoy Tyner calls Stafford, “one of the great players of our time.” As proof, the A-listers who have called upon Stafford’s musicianship to be part of their bands include Kenny Barron, Jon Faddis, Benny Golson, Herbie Mann, Billy Taylor, McCoy Tyner, Cedar Walton, Sadao Watanabe and Frank Wess. Other gigs included being a member of Shirley Scott’s house band on Bill Cosby’s TV show "You Bet Your Life," and appearing on the soundtracks to "A Bronx Tale" and "Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans."

As a child Stafford studied viola, but when he got tired of the teacher constantly hitting his fingers with a bow, the youth lightly hit back, earning a week’s school suspension and a year’s suspension from taking any instrumental instruction. Shockingly, that teacher told Stafford’s parents the youth had no musical ability and should stay away from music.

Undeterred, Stafford picked up the trumpet at age 13 and practiced classical music. Advanced abilities led him to the University of Maryland where he earned a music education degree, all the while practicing three to four hours a day as if he were a classical performance major. In his junior year, discouraged by his trumpet teacher from pursuing a performance career because Stafford didn’t play at the center of his lips, he used his minors in computers and math to get a job, upon graduation, for a technology company, and put the trumpet away.

Later Wynton Marsalis encouraged Stafford to take a lesson with William “Prof” Fielder to see if a performance career could be possible. The Rutgers trumpet professor heard him and said, “Son, you’ve got a lot of problems, but as long as you use air, you’ll be just fine.” 

The result of Stafford’s fortitude and resilience is seen today as he is one of the new jazz masters. In the end, Stafford’s assiduous musical and educational determination proves to be the model we’d hope all students would embody.