Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight!

Ethan Hall, trombone
Mount Mansfield Union

VT Youth Orchestra – 2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 year



How did you choose your instrument over all of the others?

In 5th grade I couldn’t decide between trumpet and trombone, and my band teacher wanted more trombones: she said I have “long arms and big lips” and I was suited to trombone. I still want to learn trumpet and saxophone at some point down the road.


What role does music play in your life?

Around 8th grade, I started to focus on music more as a central part of my life instead of just another thing I did sometimes. Singing in the chorus at NEMFA last year changed my life, and the friendships I have formed in VYO and at all of the festivals are some of the closest friends I have. There is something about making music with others that is much more special than anything else I do in school.


What was your biggest musical challenge & how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge is an ongoing one, which is finding time to practice. Between working after school, trombone lessons, evening chorus rehearsals, theater, and oh yeah, homework, finding the time to pull out my instrument every day is really difficult. Some nights I get home late and I have to force myself to play even for just 20 minutes. As someone who loves to do as many different activities as possible, practicing consistently is really difficult.


What advice would you give to younger music students as they strive to build their skills?

Keep pushing yourself. When you have a lull in between concerts or auditions, it’s really easy to blow off practice. Keep practicing and improving, because it will pay off. Additionally, learn a second instrument! Learn to sing! Teaching myself piano and singing in school choirs have taught me so much more about music, and helped me make connections between different techniques and styles. The more time you spend with music, the better your musicianship will be.


What is your favorite VYOA memory?

My first year in the VYOA I was as a member of VYP my sophomore year. I knew maybe three people when I walked into my first rehearsal, and I had no idea what to expect. The friends I made during breaks in my first two days are some of the nicest people I know. On the Spain and Portugal trip, I got to spend a lot of time with some members of the VYOA who I hadn’t met before. Playing cards in a shady park our first day in Madrid with Anna, David, and Grant is definitely another favorite memory.


Apart from orchestral music, what other kinds of music do you listen to? Do other genres influence what you hear in orchestral music?

I love listening to music where the lyrics and harmonic composition equally influence the meaning of the song. I enjoy everything from Billy Joel and Elton John to Queen, Pentatonix, Ben Rector, and Watsky.


What other activities do you participate in?

I do band and chorus at school, I run the sound system for theater productions, and I work a few days a week at the afterschool program at a nearby elementary school.


What college or university do you plan or hope to attend next year?

My top choice school is Temple University, where I would major in Music Education and possibly do a second major in Composition.


If you know, what do you plan to study in college and how did you make your choice?

I’ve known since I started high school that I want to be a music teacher, and more recently (in the past year or so) I’ve discovered a love for writing music also.


Congratulations Ethan! We will miss your steadfast presence & positive attitude but look forward to seeing what your future contributions to the world of music education will bring!