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Rusty SmithWe’re pleased to welcome Dr. Rusty Smith to the deparment as lecturer of trumpet! Dr. Smith is a North Carolina native with decades of teaching experience at higher education institutions and privately. He’s also an active performer in a variety of genres.

We got to know him a little better recently and invite you to read on and learn more about Dr. Rusty Smith!

UNC Music: What is your position on faculty and what courses are you teaching this fall?  
Dr. Rusty Smith: I am teaching applied trumpet lessons to music majors and non-majors. Once weekly I will lead a trumpet studio class which will serve as a forum for discussing performance and education topics as well as a safe and supportive space for students to perform for and receive constructive criticism from their peers.

UNC Music: What is your favorite part of teaching (or what are you looking forward to most coming to UNC)? 
Dr. Smith: Growing up, my father was an avid Carolina fan, and he dreamed of me playing football for the Tar Heels. I’m a pretty big guy, but I never played the sport. I think Dad would be incredibly proud that his son is a part of the UNC musical community. In addition, my wife is a proud alum of Carolina. It’s really special to be working on this campus.  

UNC Music: What is the project that you’re most excited about currently? 
Dr. Smith: This fall, I’m really excited to be playing lead trumpet in the orchestra for the new National Touring Company of MJ: The Musical as it debuts in Charlotte at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and in Durham at the DPAC.  

UNC Music: What are some of your non-musical hobbies? 
Dr. Smith: I’ve recently become very interested in learning all about wine. I also enjoy NFL football. Years ago, I worked on the on-field camera crew for the Tennessee Titans and have been a big fan of the NFL ever since (go Panthers and Titans!). I’m also really crazy about hanging out with my family: my wife Laura, our pup Evie, and our kitty Lambeau. 

UNC Music: If your students could learn one thing from you, what do you hope it will be?
Dr. Smith: I’d like for my students to find a more natural approach to making music by forging a connection between the sounds they form in their imagination and the sounds they produce on their instrument.

UNC Music: What music are you currently listening to?  
Dr. Smith: Anything and everything!! I have pretty wide-ranging tastes in music and like to keep my options open. I listen to plenty of classic artists but am always on the lookout for new and interesting things.

UNC Music: Anything else you’d like students to know about you or your teaching?  
Dr. Smith: One of the things my former teacher Mr. William Adam always stressed in his studio classes was the importance of being good people first and foremost in whatever one’s chosen path in life turns out to be. My goal is to encourage students to form a supportive community with their musical peers and to be positive influences in each other’s lives. A rising tide lifts all boats!

Interview by Catherine Zachary, ’10

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