Hometown: Litchfield, Conn.
Major: Music education, trumpet performance
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Science, Music Education
Internships: Student-teaching in the New Canaan High School band/music program and the Huckleberry Hill School in Brookfield for general music experience
Activities: WCSU Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra, jazz combos, Brass Quintet/Choir; orchestra member for the opera and theatre productions; MENC; WCSU Jazz Club (secretary for three years); independent study in microbiology for almost two years, teach private trumpet lessons
Honors and Awards: 3.9 GPA; Dean’s list every semester; Merit Scholarship recipient; James Furman Memorial Award recipient, freshman year; 2007 Research Day research award for my work in microbiology, CSU Henry Barnard Award recipient
As a high school student, Laura Telman was passionate about music and involved in many statewide ensembles, including the Hartt School’s Connecticut Youth Symphony and the Connecticut Music Educators Association All-State/Regional ensembles. "I knew at a young age that music was something I wanted to pursue and my wide range of musical experiences as I got older fueled that drive," she says. "Teaching is also a passion of mine, and my own teachers influenced me to follow the same path. I believe that education is the most important asset a community can possess."
When considering where to attend college, Telman found WestConn attractive for a number of reasons. "The money was the most obvious of those," she explains. "I received a full scholarship, and in the face of other schools costing over $35,000, a virtually free degree sounded pretty good! Other than that, the music program has a great and growing reputation, with a group of outstanding faculty members who are incredibly accessible and supportive of their students. My own teacher, Rich Clymer, has made an immeasurable impact on me as a musician, and was the main reason I chose WCSU over some very visible, well-known conservatories. I also wanted to be able to play a wide range of musical styles such as classical, jazz and contemporary genres."
In addition to Clymer's influence, Telman says she found mentors in several areas of the university. "Initially, I spent a lot of time working with Associate Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Ruth Gyure in the science department," Telman says. "She almost convinced me to change my major to microbiology! She changed the way I saw the world, and helped me evaluate my role and potential within it. Once I came back to the music department, a couple of teachers took over as mentors. Undeniably my most influential mentor throughout the four years I’ve spent here is the chair of the department, Dr. Dan Goble. I can’t even begin to describe what he has done for me — musically, he has helped open my ears up to more contemporary and alternative genres of music. He has been a guide as far as entering into the professional world, and navigating the politics of the music scene. He has offered his advice, opinions, and efforts to assist me through every issue or decision that I have faced while at school, even about relationships! I owe most of my success here to his support, and am so grateful for having the chance to work with him.
Asked what she will remember most about her WestConn experience, Telman says, "The feeling of performing my senior recital was probably in the top five, as the culmination of a semester of hard work to put together an hour’s worth of music. Many of my friends and teachers were either involved in the performance or present, so it was both musically satisfying and personally gratifying.
Most of my favorite moments from college are associated with our annual Jazz Festival. I remember sitting in Dr. Goble’s office, chatting with Jimmy Heath (a legendary tenor saxophone player who was the featured guest with our Jazz Orchestra that evening) and his wife, listening to his stories and jokes. The best story was one about Miles Davis, who, back in the ‘60s, had bought Jimmy a pair of platform boots. Jimmy said he never wore them. I was completely in awe of this man, who had played with everyone from giants like John Coltrane to young musicians from my own generation. Our Jazz Festival offered up lots of opportunities like this, chances to get to know widely recognized and celebrated jazz musicians on a very personal, casual level. This is not the kind of experience you could ever have at a large conservatory!
After graduation, Telman says she has "a number of things in the works: grad school is absolutely down the road, most likely in trumpet performance. I will continue to teach lessons and music groups, though it is possible that I will be moving to Seattle for a year or two. My biggest and most concrete future goal is to establish a Community Music School associated with the university that reaches out to both talented and financially disadvantaged music students in the surrounding school districts. The program will consist of a private lesson system involving university faculty and students as instructors, and eventually will include chamber and large ensembles as well."
Telman’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: “This university is full of opportunities if you have the ambition to find them. The faculty is eager to help dedicated students, and if you want to travel, or produce, or perform or do virtually anything, you will find a teacher or a program that can address those needs. It will take effort and initiative on your part — rarely will anyone approach you out of the blue, but like anything in life, if you are committed, well-prepared and genuine, you really can do anything. Be honest with your professors, and expect to learn something from everyone. Stay focused and goal-oriented, and be involved in the community.”