on faculty since 1991
D.M.A., American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, Illinois
M.M., Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
B.M., Hope College, Holland, Michigan
When the admen for Nike shoes crafted their famous tagline, “Just Do It!”, they may have inspired Dr. Ken Austin to develop a pragmatic attitude toward classroom preparation. A Trinity professor of music for the past 18 years, Austin takes a “rabbinical approach” whereby the teacher must be able to practice what he preaches and apply what he knows. In Austin’s words, “don’t just teach it or preach it, show it and do it!”
Austin’s philosophy of teaching underscores his reasons for remaining active as a symphonic musician and as a soloist on various trumpets and cornets. “I lead by staying involved in the community musically, as a performer, and with Trinity instrumental groups.”
Among his many accomplishments, Austin wears different hats in his various roles as a professional musician, educator, and conductor. The Yale graduate earned a doctor of musical arts from the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, Illinois, in conducting and trumpet performance, and completed his course work at the famed Tanglewood music festival associated with Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts. During his career, he has performed with numerous symphony orchestras throughout the U.S., South America, and Canada. As a professional trumpet player, he also has played with brass ensembles and as a featured soloist.
So what does it take to achieve these milestones? According to Austin, “Up to six hours a day of practice (combined with) hard work and focused study while in school. I’ve also had the privilege of studying with some of the greatest brass players in the world, like Armando Ghitalla (Boston Symphony), Arno Lange (Berlin Opera), Robert Nagel (Yale), Roger Voisin (Boston Symphony), and Arnold Jacobs (Chicago Symphony).”
Becoming part of Trinity’s faculty has provided Austin the opportunity to fulfill his desire to work at a liberal arts, Christian college in the Reformed tradition. Initially, his goal for Trinity was “to establish an instrumental music program with ensembles and a certified degree program including instrumental music.” Today his focus is on broadening the music enrollment and attracting more international students.
Austin sees music theory as the language of music, and teaches music as a discipline. He encourages his students to work hard if they want to pursue a career in any aspect of the music world (especially churches). The hard work and perseverance they undergo as a student will equip them “so they will have the opportunity to succeed and serve God with the best skills they can develop.”
He finds joy and satisfaction in sharing a common bond with Trinity’s “great faculty.” An avid triathlete, Austin counts two second-place finishes in his age group in recent competitions. Father of three Trinity graduates, Austin resides in Orland Park with his wife, Lynn, a well-known Christian author and international speaker.
“Historically Informed Solo E-flat Cornet Performance Practices in the United States from 1850 to 1870: The Difficulties, The Possibilities for Modern Performers.” Historical Brass Conference, Judson College.
Principal Trumpet, New Philharmonic Orchestra.
Principal Trumpet, Southwest Symphony Orchestra.
Solo Cornet, Yankee Brass Band.
Solo Bb Corner, Great Western Rocky Mountain Brass Band.
The Yankee Olio, a CD of 1860s E-flat cornet solos.