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Marcus Answers Your Questions!


You've reached one of the more informal sections of my website! Over the years, I have been asked literally hundreds of questions personally, via email, and through every means of social media available... questions ranging from how old was I when I started music, how do I write drum corps transcriptions, and why I devote my life to music... to what my favorite color is, what my favorite sport is, and who is my celebrity crush. I love interacting with fans, with friends, with colleagues, with mentors, and with the community as a whole, and I greatly appreciate the interest and support in what I do, so I have decided to make the process easier than ever! You can now submit your fun-filled questions all in the same place using the form at the bottom of this page, and I will answer as many of them as I possibly can, either in writing on this page, in a VLOG on my YouTube Channel (included on this page), or - in less common instances - privately via email. I cannot promise that I will answer 100% of the questions and publicly share them all, but I can definitely promise that I have read through them all!


What to ask here: Superlatives such as my favorite artist, favorite food, or guilty pleasure; Simple questions related to my composing/arranging process, my performing and teaching experience, or my professional affiliations; Anything generic, fun, respectful, and in good taste -- I'll be the final interpreter of this by which questions I choose to answer :)


What not to ask here: Business Requests (please use my contact tab for this); Requests for scores of my DCI Transcriptions or Pop Artist Covers; Questions related to inside-jokes only a small group of people would understand; Overly personal questions or anything passive-aggressively aimed at specific people or groups within a social context -- let's make sure we play nice!


Thanks so much to all of the people who submitted the initial questions that got this page started off -- the quantity and variety of questions I received was overwhemingly delightful and humbling!

Q: Top 3 Favorite Drum Corps?

A: Carolina Crown, closely followed by the Bluecoats, then by the Oregon Crusaders. Honorable mention to Genesis - love those guys!


Q: Have you ever marched DCI?

A: I came close. Try as I might, the challenges I faced when I was of age to march DCI made it impossible to march.


Q: Why do you only transcribe Crown's shows now days?

A: At some point as I sought to develop my music educational philosophy and expand my brass pedagogical training, I discovered Crown's organization most represents what I aspire to promote in our music world - music that is intellectual but accessible, run by an organization that puts class and excellence in the smallest of details. This along with their general style (and lots of other smaller reasons) brought about a desire to specifically follow their organization as a whole year-round in every aspect possible and learn everything I can from them. I still follow DCI as a whole, but I follow Crown's organization with a microscope because there continues to be so much to learn. Naturally, it just happens that I transcribe their music naturally as a way to learn more about their organization from a design standpoint. There's much to learn from every corps, but if you focus on one,  there's no telling what you can discover about how cool our activity really is. I'll answer this even more thoroughly in a video some day soon.

Q: Why have you never majored in composing? You teach and play very well but I always thought you'd be composing for a living.

A: Thanks for the compliment! Of the three things I do most - composing, teaching, performing - the only one whose degree doesn't necessarily further validate my ability to carry out the task in the manner I wish is composing. I enjoy simply sharing my music with others much more than I desire making a living out of it, so a composition degree hasn't appealed to me enough to consider pursuing it. I'll make a video with a more detailed answer on this at some point in the future.


Q: Who's your favorite trumpet player?

A: I love many trumpet players all for distinctly different reasons. It would be impossible to choose one. Why don't I answer this question in the next video?


Q: Besides music, what's your biggest passion?

A: Anything media-related. I live on YouTube. I also consider myself an ameteur AV producer and will hopefully be able to use it in my career some day.


Q: Who do you admire most in the business?

A: You used the word "business", so I'm going to say Joshua Gall, the founder of Ultimate Drill Book, and the visual caption head with Genesis. I met Josh in college at VCU. Amazing human being and a genius in many regards with a real knack for all things music.

Q: What's Your Favorite Color!!!

A: Blue. Specifically, Aquamarine.


Q: How long have you been composing?

A: Since I was 6 years old. I had no training and it sounded awful, but I loved it. That's how most passions develop!


Q: Favorite Pop Artist?

A: Taylor Swift is perfection. Video coming about why in the future.


Q: Why did you choose the Trumpet?

A: I sang in a boys choir that did a collaborative concert with a youth orchestra. When I heard the trumpets open Festive Overture, I was hooked.


Q: Why did Keep Off The Grass disband? I miss you guys so much!!!

A: You go way back, don't you? :) I love those guys. We never really disbanded, but after we recorded our album, high school demands and desires to follow our own dreams eventually led us apart. Fun group and very talented musicians!


Q: Favorite NTC performance ever?

A: National Trumpet Competition fans unite! I can't pick a single favorite, but I'd point you in the direction of Ansel Norris's 2012 solo performance, Natalie Dungey's 2009 solo performance, and Baylor Green's 2013 ensemble performance. Inspirational. If I HAD to choose a favorite? Oklahoma State's 2015 small ensemble performance.

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