In 1984, the Second International Brass Congress was held on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University. Arnold Jacobs was the honored guest, receiving the highest honor at the congress because; “he was the strongest force for brass playing and pedagogy in all of our lifetimes.” (M. Dee Stewart, 1984) Jacobs was regarded as a master performer and pedagogue. During the event, Professor Stewart held a series of interviews and a panel discussion with Arnold Jacobs and some of his most successful students. These students are now representative of some of the most prominent figures in the world of brass playing. They independently testified as to the effect that Mr. Jacobs’ teaching had on their performing and teaching. Many said it was a turning point in their lives, and had become a new standard for their own performing and teaching. People from all over the world had gone to Mr. Jacobs—for various reasons. Some went because they thought he was “the breathing teacher.” (Erb, 2013) Many went “on crutches,” with problems ranging from exhaustion and paralysis, to emotional and psychological issues affecting their playing (fear, anxiety, frustration, etc.). (Erb, 2013) Some went simply because he was known as the greatest pedagogue and performer of the day, and they believed Jacobs could “make [them] the greatest player[s] in the world.” (Vernon, 1984)
During the conference, a series of videos was recorded. Panel discussions hosted by Professor Stewart with Arnold Jacobs, his colleagues, and his students were captured professionally on video. Professor Stewart interviewed ten students of Mr. Jacobs who, at the time, represented nearly fifty years of his teaching influence. These students were some of the top brass performers and pedagogues in the world: Ronald Bishop, Stephen Chenette, Richard Erb, Irvin Hollingsworth, Keith Johnson, Robert Allen Karon, Mark Lawrence, Daniel Perantoni, Robert Tucci, and Charles G. Vernon.
Nearly thirty years after the Second International Brass Congress, I began contacting the musicians interviewed in 1984 who were still living. When I conceived this project, I intended to bring them all back to Indiana University to conduct the interviews in the setting and format identical to that of 1984. However, in consideration of their age and station in life, and after speaking with Professor Stewart, we decided that with the technology available today, the interview process would be just as effective if I were to go to them. The foundation of this study is their testimonies from both 1984 and 2013–16. The style and format of the follow-up interviews mirrored those recorded in 1984. To maintain validity and establish reliability, the questions from the original interviews were revisited, but the interviewees were not reminded of their past responses, so they could present their current opinions without the bias of hearing their previous responses. The participants were also presented with a list of new questions that focused on Jacobs’ principles and their application to brass playing today.