Trumpeter claims spot in Marine Corps band

Senior AJ Jackson plays trumpet at spring band concert.

Listening to American jazz trumpeter, Miles Davis, when he was little, senior AJ Jackson found his passion for trumpeting and the genre of jazz in the fifth grade. Inspired by his father, Jackson was accepted to join the Marines after his senior year of high school and play in one of the most prestigious and oldest bands in America.


When did you start to play trumpet? Fifth grade

Who is your biggest inspiration? “My dad showed me a lot of Miles Davis when I was younger, so that influenced me a lot. I chose it because it looked pretty easy. It is a lot more difficult than what I expected in fifth grade, but it is not too hard.”

Is there a certain style of music that you like to play? “Jazz. Any kind of Jazz.”

What made you want to join the Marines? “I knew I wanted to join some branch of the military. My dad was in the Marines, so it was going to be that one for sure. I think it is better to play in the band than be a grunt on the ground to me.”

Any role models that made you want to join? “My dad was my role model to join.”

Are you excited for your future plans? “I feel like it is something new to experience”

How much do you have to do to prepare for the Marines? “I leave July 22 to go to San Diego for 13 weeks at Basic. After that I come back for 10 days and then have to go back for combat training for 27 days. Then, I go straight to Virginia Beach for six months for music school.”

Was it a long process to audition for the Marine Band? “It took a while. I got the music in October and now just got in. I had to send one video of all of the music to make sure I sounded decent. Then, I was asked to go audition in Des Moines for a guy who then said I can go to Chicago on Feb. 4 for the final audition. It was a little stressful, but I have done auditions before, so it wasn’t that bad.

What do you plan to do after your time in the Marines? “I plan to stay in music. I know you can be in the band for 20 to 30 years, so I guess I will hop in there. I think that while I am in it would be cool to get a business degree, so I have my options open for more.”

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