An ambitious student at the time, I was bent on practicing what I thought was fun and exciting. However, when Phil Holland became my mentor, he brought me back to the fundamentals of playing the trumpet. At the time of my first lessons, I was a middle school student, and playing every note in my range for 30 seconds everyday was not fun and exciting. But he insisted that I practice on my fundamentals. Once I found my ability and tone to expand immensely, my playing ability stepped up to a whole new level as did my passion for music. I was a shy and awkward kid, but Phil pushed me to step out of my comfort zone.

I specifically remember a time I passed a practice room in the hall where he was practicing with a colleague. When he saw me, he brought me in and told me to play my All-Region excerpt for his colleague. Little did he know, I was anxious and nervous, but that experience prepared me for the anxiety of auditioning in front of 3 critical judges.

The lessons I learned with Phil Holland not only improved my playing, but me as a person. Going back to the fundamentals, having the discipline for hard work, and facing my fears are just a few habits Phil Holland has  instilled in me. Habits, that have brought me success not just in music, but my life endeavors as well. 

Tyler Liang