Catie Hickey

October 15, 2011

ALP alum Catie Hickey graduated from Eastman in 2007 with degrees in Trombone Performance and Jazz Studies. Catie’s professional experiences thus far span across the globe and cover a variety of musical genres. After completing her degrees at Eastman, Catie’s travels and adventures have included earning a Master’s degree in performance from Rice University in Houston, traveling to Africa for chamber music outreach, performing with a Mexican Orchestra and Canadian brass quintet, and now teaching at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. One of the main goals of ALP is to increase the marketability of Eastman students in the professional music world. Catie’s post-Eastman career path demonstrates her awareness of a broad scope of musical opportunities and her ability to market her diversified strengths.

Can you describe your current position at SIU as Lecturer of Trombone and Jazz Studies and any other professional engagements?

My duties at SIU include studio trombone teaching and recruitment, jazz studies courses, the music appreciation course, the faculty brass quintet, and the faculty jazz quintet. I still perform with the Calgary-based Foothills Brass Quintet and teach at the Eastman Summer Trombone Institute and Alfredo San Malo Festival in Panama City. View Catie’s bio here.

How would you advise students to seek out a variety of experiences in order to enhance their marketability?

Participate in ensembles and programs at Eastman that stretch your comfort zone. Even if you do not have time in your degree program to pursue Music Education or ALP on a formal level, attend the workshops these departments present. Some of the most helpful learning experiences I had were presented by artists outside the brass field.

How did your experience with ALP help you in the professional world?

I did my ALP internship with the Artistic Operations department of the Rochester Philharmonic. I gained practical experience in ironing out all of the details that go into putting an 80-piece band on stage, which has been invaluable to me as I travel with my own professional groups or present my own concerts. I also learned about how American orchestral audiences attend concerts based on programming, and how to deal with the management side of classical music.

How would you encourage Eastman students to prepare for success after graduation?

Find someone who is doing what you want to do and figure out how they reached their position. This meant setting aside time very month to do internet searches with the words “summer festival” and “trombone”, poll my friends and professors on their own experiences, and write letters of interest to potential opportunities. I was constantly brainstorming about what was possible, which provided motivation when I went to practice my craft.

What have you learned from having a variety of professional experiences and working in different locations?

Working in music is about communicating. Whether as a teacher, performer, administrator, or hybrid of all three roles, I try to approach every professional situation with compassion and a goal of understanding how what I am presenting fits into my audience’s lives.
A basic curiosity and fascination with process will go far.