Jazz trumpet player and Spanish speaker hopes to play music professionally

by Maddie Hayes

Lauren Major, junior at Whitworth University, started playing the trumpet in sixth grade. He wanted to play the drums, but was stuck in Europe during the September 11 attacks when all the other school kids were choosing their instruments. When he finally returned to the States, there were already too many drummers and he was left to choose from the trumpet or the french horn. Major chose the trumpet because he thought it sounded cooler, and it’s a good thing he did.

Major is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance at Whitworth. He found out about Whitworth through his great-uncle, who used to work here and had told him good things. Major wanted to get away from home for college, and liked the campus. Also, he got enough music scholarships to make attending here more affordable.

Major knew he wanted to play trumpet as a career because he enjoys it so much.

“I felt that when I was doing other classes, my mind would wander and I would think about music,” Major said.

The Spanish language is also a big part of Major’s life. He didn’t have enough time in his four-year plan to major in it, but he’s a fluent speaker. Growing up in New Mexico, the Spanish language was taught in elementary schools.

Major believes that music and language are intertwined.

“Music is like a language,” Major said. “Jazz improv is like making a sentence with musical words.”

Another interesting fact about Major is that he is agnostic, but he doesn’t see this as a big issue at Whitworth, even though it is a Christian school.

“It’s kind of weird. It was harder my first year,” Major said. “Some people were firm in their beliefs and didn’t understand why anyone would believe differently.”

Some people were surprised to find out he is not a Christian, but all of the people he talks with now are aware of his beliefs.

Major hopes to go to Stockholm, Sweden after he graduates next year to do an apprenticeship with a Swedish jazz trumpet player and play some gigs there. Ten years down the road, he’d like to be successfully playing jazz trumpet in Europe.

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