About the School
Graduate Tubist and Composer Brett Copeland Prepares for Eastman

As graduate tubist Brett Copeland concludes his final semester at USF, he leaves the school of music with not only an exceptional education, but also with outstanding plans for the future. Brett has been accepted to the doctoral program at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, one of the top music schools in the nation.

Being accepted means that Brett is a part of the Eastman family, a great honor that has been noticed by his music peers. Brett says that he has been told that the Doctor of Musical Arts program is not easy, however, job prospects for Eastman DMA graduates are great.

“It is a pretty distinguished alumni base, which is really exciting,” he shares.

Brett's time at USF completing his Masters of Music in Tuba Performance has helped to solidify his credentials. School of Music faculty have encouraged Brett to develop specialized skills, market himself, and explore a wide range of interests.

Brett is grateful of the individualized attention he received at the School of Music, which has allowed him to refine his skills in order to become not only a musician, but a well-rounded artist. Instruction from Tuba and Euphonium Professor Jay Hunsberger gives the kind of well-tailored instruction that facilitates personal growth. 

Brett reflects on his time with Hunsberger, showing much respect for professors who give individualized care to students, “Jay is a person who works for his students. He goes out of his way to adapt to my needs.”

Brett shares that he learned not only from premier music faculty, but from the remarkable student base in the school, “I've never been around a tuba studio this great.” He also attributes his success to the support of his fellow graduate music students who have encouraged him to perform at his absolute best.

Time spent collaborating with other musicians and artists at The Music Box: Tampa Bay is among Brett's fondest memories of his time spent at USF. The temporary public art exhibition in Mann-Wagnon Park, riddled with quirky musical structures, hosted performances on weekend nights that featured improvisations and performances from local artists, attracting as many as 200 audience members per night. Brett collaborated with Ray Villadonga on his composition while also doing structured improvisation with others.

The experience not only inspired creativity, but brought about a connection between the performers and the audience that is not always accomplished in a concert hall setting. Brett shares, “It was a really intimate setting. Not like being on stage and having the lights in your face that make it harder to see the audience.” The Music Box Tampa Bay, a collaboration with the art collective New Orleans Airlift, was made possible by the USF Contemporary Art Museum and Sarah Howard of the Institute for Research in Art.

Upon finishing his formal music education, Brett plans to teach music technology and tuba in a university setting. He also wants to maintain strong ties to a local arts community, wherever his journey takes him.

To keep track of Brett’s music endeavors, visit his website for video performances, recordings, upcoming events, and more.