Running Start Spotlights

Jacob Cameron

November Interview

Jacob Cameron, Alum, BM '98, DMA '13

When did you graduate with your DMA from MSU?

I finished my DMA in the fall of 2013, but also recieved my BM in 1998 (tuba performance for both).

Any new developments with Spectrum Brass or WMU Entrepreneurship?

Spectrum just completed the 3rd-annual Spectrum Brass Seminar ( which included 20 collegiate brass students from across the United States. We have now had 55 students from over 30 different Universities and Conservatories.

Spectrum premiered a new show titled "Music for Sacred Spaces" at the First Presbyterian of Grand Haven on Saturday 9/13. This show includes the wonderfully talented soprano Elizabeth Cameron and includes sacred music from the Renaissance and Classical periods, with a second half featuring the best of sacred American music.

In the summer of 2015, Spectrum will be performing the world premiere of 3 new works for brass quintet by jazz pianist and composer Jeff Hass. Spectrum has also entered an agreement to commision a new work for brass quintet by composer John Mackey, which will be premiered in the summer of 2016.

Look for a new CD to be recorded in the summer of 2015, and for a new video demo to be released in the late fall of 2014.

What do you think are the most important skills to have as a 21st century musician?

This is probably not the popular thing to say right now, but the most important skill (by far) is the ability to perform at an extremely high level. I would like to add that self-promotion is more important now than in the past, but if you don't have the goods, nobody will buy. The change in the arts landscape is the addition of creativity, self-promotion, marketing, branding, etc., to the incredibly difficult task of performing at a level worthy of the price of admission.

What words of wisdom do you have for prospective/current MSU students?

First off, practice! You have to become masterful at your chosen mode of communication or nobody will pay attention. Secondly, on a conceptual level, I always say that you have to either be better than everyone else, less expensive than everyone else, or you need to do something unique. If you can create something that has never been done before, you only compete with yourself and can control the conversation in an effective manner.