Prof Quiz

At Seattle Pacific University, we have 195 full-time faculty who are experts in their respective fields. Each issue, we’ll introduce you to one and hopefully you’ll learn something new — we always do.

Brian Chin

Name and title?
Brian Chin, Assistant Professor of Music 

Moscow, Idaho … the Pea and Lentil Capital of the World. 

I am a professional trumpet player. I play with orchestras such as the Seattle Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, and Seattle Opera; record for movies, TV, and video games; and travel all over the world as a soloist. 

Who are your heroes?
Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, Miles Davis … they were never afraid to reinvent themselves.  

How many trumpets do you own?
Sixteen. Different tools for different jobs! … If only I could find the one that makes me sound good!  

What is the Universal Language Project, and why is it important?
I founded the Universal Language Project five years ago to explore the question of what it means to make music in the 21st century. I am striving to create music that does more than fill airspace, or tantalize the intellect, but that can connect directly to the shared human experience.

Why do you teach?
Empowering students to find and develop their artistic voice is one of my biggest thrills. 

Like many musicians, you seem to have a love/hate relationship with your trumpet. Please explain. 
A life in music is a daily lesson in humility. No matter how much I work and practice, I can always be a better musician, reach larger audiences, and discover new sounds. This is truly my path, but there is nothing easy about this road. The hours are grueling, the work never done, the pay is embarrassing, and jobs are scarce. Still, the rewards are beyond compare.

What do you do when you're not teaching?
I hang out with my boys, ages 4 and 2, and I relax by cooking. I find it similar to music improvisation, you study the basics and then break all the rules! 

If you could make sure that all your students understood one thing, what would it be? 
You can become anything you want in this life, but be committed to stepping up and doing what it takes.

Want to meet more SPU professors? Check out the Prof Quiz gallery.