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June 26, 2013

ULM music professor draws students to university

University of Louisiana at Monroe Associate Professor of Music Dr. Scot Humes, who just completed his first tenured year after teaching clarinet and saxophone at ULM for seven years, frequently attracts new students of music to attend ULM.

"Dr. Humes is a world-class performer on clarinet," said Dr. Derle Long, director of the School of Visual and Performing Arts.

"Many of the students in his studio have transferred from other institutions to study with him at ULM."

Humes's primary instrument is the clarinet, but he also plays the saxophone, piano, and organ. He grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and knew from early childhood that he loved music, but his interest in the clarinet is a taste he acquired over time.

"I cannot remember the first awareness of my interest," said Humes, "but I can remember my grandparents being astounded at the discovery that I listened to classical music on the radio all the time. My mother told me that I would play clarinet in the band, because that was the only instrument we had.

"I despised the clarinet and even threatened to switch instruments during my first year. Although my feelings for the clarinet did not start out in a positive way, I excelled at playing it. My love of the instrument grew from the excitement of performing."

He credits making the Texas All-State Band several years in high school as the beginning of his success.

"When asked what I wanted to do when I became a professional musician," said Humes, "my answer was always, 'Teach at a university, perform solo and chamber music recitals, and perform as a member of an orchestra.' The wide eyes and unspoken 'Wow, that's a lot!' told me I might be crazy for thinking I could do all of that, but guess what. I'm doing it."

Throughout his life, Humes has refused to acknowledge any goal or challenge as too difficult to achieve.

He mentions a time when the Shreveport Symphony asked him to be an emergency substitute for the principal clarinet player who had broken his tooth.

"I had to rehearse with the orchestra that same night and perform the concert the very next night," he said. "How invigorating it was to have this much pressure to jump in and perform as polished as if I had been given ample time to prepare!"

To other instructors and to students, Humes advises, "We need standards – we need to keep them, and we need to exceed them. When you think you have done enough or have done an adequate job, go one step further. No one can find out what is truly possible without challenging oneself on a regular basis. For me, this means that I do not tell myself, 'I cannot do that.' What I tell myself is, 'I cannot do that, yet.'"

In the future, Humes hopes that ULM performances continue to capture the local audience.

"Many regulars attend ULM's musical productions, and it would be great for every student, faculty member, and community member to know how many concerts are given, most having absolutely no charge for attending," he said.

"It amounts to free entertainment, a free cultural experience, an experience shared with others in the community. We sometimes have sold-out or standing room only events – I'd love to see that happen for every performance."

Humes earned a Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1995, a Master of Music from Ball State University in 1997, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University in 2004.

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