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Establishing himself in music

April 30, 2011
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - There's nothing like having six part-time jobs, said Southwest Minnesota State University adjunct music instructor David Peterson.

Besides teaching at SMSU, Peterson is also the instructor of applied trombone and euphonium at St. Cloud State University, personnel manager and director of outreach education for the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, works at Music Street in Marshall, and is a member of the jazz group Oatmeal Jazz Combo.

And he's also working on his doctorate in music performance from Stony Brook University, which is in Long Island, N.Y., while living in Minnesota.

Peterson started his music interest when he was in fifth-grade band at Foley. He started out playing saxophone and then switched to trombone because there was a need in the high school band.

"It was easy," Peterson said about music. "It was something I could easily do without so much practice or work." Mainly, music just came naturally to him, Peterson said, and he learned several different instruments.

Being a music education major, you have to "jump in with both feet right away," Peterson said as it takes a big commitment from the start. He received his undergraduate degree from SCSU and then went on to get his master's from Stony Brook.

"I spent two years on the East Coast," Peterson said. He then taught at a public school in Texas for a year before going back for his doctorate.

He again spent two years in New York doing the coursework for his doctorate and taught an undergraduate class in music appreciation.

He returned home to Minnesota to finish up his doctorate. Peterson said he does it mostly by e-mail.

"I do make several trips back there," Peterson said. He said he goes back to New York about three times a semester.

It was during his years at Stony Brook that he met a group of guys who were interested in forming a jazz ensemble, Oatmeal Jazz Combo. Peterson said they all come from different parts of the country - New Orleans, Green Bay, New York.

"We keep in touch and put together a demo before we left," Peterson said. The first CD by the combo is being featured in the June edition of Downbeat magazine. Peterson said they're working on a second CD.

But he was looking for something in particular with his career path.

"I really hadn't had the opportunity to establish myself in New York," Peterson said. But the opportunities were there for him back home in Minnesota as he knew the fine arts culture in St. Cloud.

Peterson started applying to as many different colleges as he could, looking for an adjunct position. He teaches at SMSU one day a week and teaches at SCSU Fridays and Mondays.

As director of outreach education with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, he goes out into the schools, educating kids ages 6-12 on instruments and the orchestra.

Basically, Peterson said, he's putting more emphasis on building his resume and getting more job experiences. He plans to be done with oral exams and a final recital for his doctorate by 2012.

"My main goal is to establish myself," he said.



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