by elizabeth | October 30th, 2013

I’m excited to introduce a new series here, “Together in the Woodshed,” featuring conversations with great artists about teaching and learning music. I’m interested in hearing about their early experiences with music, and in learning about their philosophy about teaching. And, of course, what their guilty pleasure tunes are.

The title comes from the jazz concept of the woodshed – that in order to get better you need to go out to the woodshed and practice by yourself. But I like the idea that we are all in this together, practicing and creating and figuring out how to support each other.

My first guest is John Daversa, a fantastic trumpet player and composer, and the new Department Chair of Studio Music and Jazz at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.

Artful Joy cover - John Daversa

Here’s a particularly nice part of our chat:

Elizabeth: What’s one example of something that you are hoping to be able to effect [in the new position]?

John: [After speaking about specific career skills and technical musicianship skills...] One of the first things that I want to effect here is bringing back the emotional and passionate and creative and imaginative concepts to what we’re doing, and making everything fun…. seems like such a trite word, but I mean it in the deepest sense. Bringing back the fun… why did you first want to play an instrument? Why did you first want to be involved with music? That thing that just fills you up from top to bottom when your whole body is just resonating and it feels excited about being alive. That’s what I want to hear when people are playing. And it’s not a fleeting, fickle emotion…. it’s something that needs to be created as a habit. I know I’ve found that for myself. You have to create the habit of being excited about what you’re doing, and even things that you think you don’t want to do, you have to find something about it that really is meaningful for you. Otherwise, don’t do it at all. It’s creating the habit of being happy, and people want to hire happy people. It’s just true, people want to be around people that are uplifting.

Get the full conversation as a podcast below! And please visit John’s website to learn more about all the amazing things he has going on.


One Response to “TOGETHER IN THE WOODSHED #1: John Daversa”

  1. Wonderful interview. He sounds like such a nice guy, as well as your philosophical twin.

Leave a Reply


elizabeth! is a vocalist, trombonist, and songwriter working in NYC and Los Angeles. Originally from Vermont, she studied neuroscience at Harvard before moving to NYC to play, tour, and record with jazz musicians, indie rockers, pop stars and more. Her new album of original jazzy pop tunes was just released on Canopy Jazz!

Upcoming Shows

See All Shows



Arts Resources


Groups I'm In

Music Colleagues