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Dr. Jacquelyn Adams

Dr. Jacquelyn Adams

I grew up in Fort Worth, TX. Both of my parents are classical musicians and I can't remember life without music. My mom was my band director and my dad was my choir director, but my relationship with music started much earlier than that. I took suzuki lessons when I was three years old. Things were going pretty well until I looked at my teacher after a few lessons and said "I want to play the saxophone!" That was my last suzuki lesson. Moved on to piano lessons when I was five and spent hours on the piano bench while mother played one hand and I played the other (three times, then we would switch). I loved piano. It felt natural with my big hands and eye-hand coordination. I enjoyed Rachmaninoff, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin…

Was home-shooled from preschool until third grade and in that time I studied piano, ice skating, sewing, french lessons, gymnastics… I didn't realize that they would all tie together to teach concepts of music, theory, physics, and life and am eternally grateful. I remember my first month playing the horn very clearly. Was lucky to have an amazing teacher from the start - Ellen Dinwiddie Smith. She taught me Ode to Joy the first week and it felt smooth and gratifying. I attended an itsy-weenie tiny private school (K-12, 350 students) from fourth to twelfth grade. There were only two horns and seven brass players total in the band for my entire pre-college career, so the horns covered baritone parts, cornet parts, euphonium parts… whatever was needed. One of the advantages of attending a small school like that is the opportunity to participate in 1,000 things and express freely because it is needed.

I idolized pop/rock music in high school and would spend hours in my bedroom wearing headphones with the door shut listening to Alice N' Chains, The Beatles, Herman and The Hermits, Pantera… never classical music. That being said, my mom played flute in the Ft. Worth Symphony (still does) and my dad was an opera singer. I heard more classical in the womb than many people do throughout their entire lives but I wasn't interested in "being my mom" or pursuing a classical music career at that time.

I've always been more into who I am playing the music with than what music I am playing. I honestly thought I would start a band and make it big someday but, over time, horn kept calling my attention back by challenging me and raising my level of musical awareness. It is such a beast to tame and I love the challenge. Although the relationship with the horn began in fifth grade, I did not fall in love with the horn until I was getting my masters degree at Yale University with William Purvis. He is the person that "turned the light on for me." Looking back, I see that it was there for me all along but I gave my attention to 1,000 different loves while on the journey - bass guitar, singing, harmonica, piano, song writing, hand bell choir, percussion ensemble… but horn is the one that holds me to the fire and I respect it as an instrument and companion. Once I realized the instrument could be all I needed and wanted and more, the journey began to take shape. Our relationship began in Forth Worth, Texas, then moved to Philadelphia, then to New Haven (CT), then New York, then Alabama, then Mississippi where me and the horn currently coexist together and make plans for the future. Music is an amazing journey and I cannot imagine any other partner to take this ride with than horn (well, sometimes I can…but on the best nights, nothing beats to victory of a strong horn performance).

I believe art is a reflection of who we are as individuals and that we each play like we are - that goes for both strengths and weaknesses. To this extent, the pursuit of horn performance keeps me incredibly honest and transparent with myself. Often the things that I struggle with musically run parallel to issues that I struggle with in my personal life, and in order to make progress in music I am forced to examine myself as an individual. I believe this is true for everyone. Much respect and appreciation is felt toward horn performance for holding me to a higher standard than I might otherwise achieve. Horn playing is a megaphone to the world about what is going on in my mind and body and spirit. I never get exhausted of music, only of myself. If my face muscles get tired of playing the horn one day, I'll play piano and sing. It all works together. I love all expressions of music but the horn keeps me coming back with it's demand for my attention. It is the most rewarding long-term relationship I've experienced.

My Kit


  • Schmid Triple high F
  • Siegfried's Call Custom G Series Mouthpiece SCGS 75 in Gold Plate


  • Balu tiger striped straight mute / TrumCor stopping mute


  • Case: Wiseman with lavender coloured interior

Must Haves

  • Pencil
  • Vanilla Latte or Gingerade Kombucha
  • That’s pretty much it

Something Worth Learning

How to listen on a deeper level and communicate more clearly.

    Favorite Things

    • Music from the 70s
    • My two dogs, Alice and Kimber
    • Cheese
    • Wine
    • Trying New Foods
    • Sleep
    • Progress

    Practice Inspiration

    The hope of freeing the music from confines of physical limitations

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