Meet the Chair: Brian Chin

Years ago, a trumpet teacher said something like this during one of my lessons: “Be thoughtful about what you do and how you play, Brian. Your intentions are always conveyed.” Since then, I have come to understand how purpose and intention are paramount to making captivating art, creating brilliant careers, and finding happiness and fulfillment through our work. Again and again, we have to ask ourselves, “Why?” Why do we practice so hard to build talent and risk so much to become fearless artists?

I believe that art created with a social consciousness can change the world, make it a better, more transcendent, more unified place. Music is most certainly my tool, vehicle, and voice.

Brian Chin

“As I work with aspiring young musicians to develop lifelong habits of talent growth, become fearless artists, and to evolve into future leaders, I am both encouraged and grateful.” — Brian Chin

The early 21st century is a fantastic time to work as an artist. We are living in an age where we have global access to music, the ability to create music for a fraction of what it cost in previous decades, and we can share our work on platforms that build audience in direct and powerful ways. Most beautifully, the rigid rules of the past are breaking down. Musical genres are fusing together, traditions from around the world are coming together to create new sounds, and we are seeing a return to collaboration and community at the center of the artistic process.

And yet, with all this new freedom and access comes new skill sets to acquire and new challenges. To thrive both personally and professionally as artists, we need to be uniquely prepared; we have to become that much better.

Throughout two decades as a professional musician, performing and teaching around the world, I have observed that the 21st century artist’s career is becoming increasingly portfolio-centric and project-based. A typical working musician might be nurturing several projects at any given time by performing with different bands or ensembles in various styles, creating new music, using advanced technology tools, teaching, and operating as a business person.

Today’s young musician needs to develop a broad set of skills to prepare for this kind of project-based career while understanding that the fundamentals of music are relatively unchanged: that all art is created within the context of traditions that have come before, and that there are no shortcuts to building talent.

Here at Seattle Pacific University, we are striving to create a program that both inspires artistic creation in a socially conscious way and prepares students to thrive in a dynamic musical landscape. The incredible faculty of full-time and affiliate teaching artists are among the best and most diverse musicians in Seattle, and are truly world-class artists and educators.

As I work with aspiring young musicians to develop lifelong habits of talent growth, become fearless artists, and to evolve into future leaders, I am both encouraged and grateful. I have one of the best jobs in the world! I hope you will join us in this mission.

Brian ChinBrian Chin
Chair of the Music Department
Associate Professor of Music

Brian Chin

Why I Teach at SPU

Brian Chin, Professor and Chair of Music

“A life in music is a joy-filled and humbling lifelong education, and I believe that we musicians, young and old, are on this journey together. The 21st century is an era that rewards the skills of the complete musician, and SPU is uniquely positioned to encourage this blossoming of talent. Through teaching, I consciously choose to invest my sacred time on Earth to walk and create with my fellow artists and incite human flourishing.”