Nelson Bell is a low brass specialist, and has been working with beginning band students at Glacier Middle School in the Highline School District. In his own words, Nelson describes why he plays and why he believes music is important.
“My first instrument was violin in 5th grade, but I switched to the euphonium in 6th grade because I wanted to play in band. I chose the euphonium simply because no one else did, though I didn’t even really know which instrument it was when I made that decision.
I started playing the valve trombone in 9th grade so I could be in my high school jazz band, and switched to the bass trombone the following year. Shortly after that I started doubling on the tuba in jazz band.
By my senior year I was playing euphonium in wind ensemble, bass trombone and tuba in jazz band, learning piano, playing tenor trombone in a ska band, and for some reason decided to start playing trumpet as well.
I can’t remember what song it was, but I distinctly remember the feeling I had while playing a euphonium solo in high school wind ensemble for the first time and realizing that I was playing it well… that’s when I knew I wanted more of that feeling!
As a freshman in college I also started playing the horn and singing in choir. Throughout college I considered the euphonium my primary instrument, but trombone, bass trombone, tuba, and sousaphone are the instruments I play the most professionally.
My most influential music teachers in high school were Mark Patterson and Richard Pasco, and in college Ed Phillips, Don Immel, Roy Cummings, Jere Knudtsen, and Norm Wallen. After college I have learned from and been influenced by my peers in the music industry. Though they haven’t been “teachers”, I have learned so much about music from so many of them.
Music is a part of life and culture throughout the entire world, and I feel art and music are the most redeeming and enduring creations that humankind has to offer.
Music is important to learn while young because it can increase one’s perception of the world and can begin to open, broaden, and inspire young minds. And from a logical perspective, it also helps young people in developing coordination, language-based reasoning, and can help to improve academic achievement.
I can’t imagine my life without music. Thinking back to my youth, I don’t think I ever imagined that music would eventually take me all over the world to perform or the give me the opportunity to collaborate and work with so many gifted musicians and artists.”
Nelson Bell is a graduate of the University of Washington school of music and has been teaching and performing professionally for over 20 years. He can be heard performing on Sousaphone with the Johnny and the Moles, and also plays trombone with several local big bands.