April Teacher Feature Samuel “Sam” Trevathan
Sam Trevathan teaches percussion at Westdale Heights Academic Magnet. This is his third year with Kids’ Orchestra.
Sam Trevathan hails from Murray, Kentucky. Sam began studying Suzuki piano method at the age of 4 and continued through high school where he also started studying drums and percussion. Sam studied percussion with Dr. Tom Vanarsdel and Dr. John Hill while in Kentucky. He was also active with the Kentucky Center for the Arts and the Governor’s School for the Arts while residing in KY. He has performed with Louisiana Sinfonietta, Opera Louisiane, Paducah Symphony Orchestra, Jackson Symphony Orchestra, and recently the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Sam also regularly accompanies the LSU Dance classes and recently worked with the RIOULT Dance NY here in Baton Rouge. He holds a BME from Murray State University and MM in Percussion from Louisiana State University. Sam is currently studying with the Dr. Brett Dietz and finishing his DMA in Percussion Performance at Louisiana State University.
Why did you choose to work for Kids’ Orchestra?
Kids’ Orchestra is an avenue of music making, education, and cultural sharing. We have worked with and performed many different types of music since I have been a part of the program. It’s another way for me to get to know the community of Baton Rouge and be a part of the development of the future musicians and music making in Baton Rouge. The KO students I work with at Westdale are sponges. They soak up every bit of musical information Gustavo Miranda and I share with them in our daily activities, jam sessions, and our current musical endeavors. Lastly, the students I work with every week always remind me what a joy it is to drum and share music with the people around us.
What is your teaching philosophy in the classroom?
We (Gustavo Miranda and myself) emphasize ensemble participation through chamber music settings (percussion ensemble) in our class room. Group learning and peer teaching through this ensemble is a great way for these younger students to get to know the instruments, techniques, drumming cultures, and exposure to great music. In our classroom, we aim to development technique and dexterity in the students’ hands through fun daily exercises, musical comprehension and understanding of notation and musical terms through a variety of musical settings (student composition, improvisation, etc.) and exposure to music from as many different cultures as possible. Our students are experiencing different parts of the world at a young age through drumming, percussion, and music making.
If you could meet a famous musician, who would it be?
I would love to meet the pianist and composer Thelonius Monk. First off, I just want to be able to say “What’s up, Monk?” He has one of the coolest names in musical history. By the way, his middle name is Sphere. Thelonius Sphere Monk. His twisted melodies, angular rhythms, percussive style, and use of space and silence have always made him stand out from other jazz pianists. He is definitely one of the more profound and perhaps misunderstood jazz musicians of all time. Also, I think meeting him could convince me to start playing piano again. His third solo album, “Alone in San Francisco” is one of my favorite albums.