Jul. 6, 2022

Out of the Box - International Horn Society

Out of the Box 

by Joshua Pantoja

I consider myself to be passionate about the horn, regardless of the style or genre being performed; from symphonic music to popular music, my personal interest has always been to transmit music of the highest level, the type of ensemble notwithstanding, to break the stereotype of the horn as an instrument used exclusively for symphonic music, and to allow the world to see it as the versatile instrument that it really is. Since my early days in music, I have found it fascinating to be able to play without having to have something written down, to create from within and develop an idea through creativity. My admiration for great trumpeters such as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, and Arturo Sandoval, motivated me to try to bring their way of playing to the horn, and that's how I began to explore the world of improvisation, both empirically and intuitively, since my main focus had been classical music and my training as an orchestral musician.

Five years ago, I finally decided to begin to give shape to my idea of using the horn in jazz in a structured way, and that's how I got to know my teacher and friend Julio "Julito" Alvarado, one of the most widely-recognized trumpet players in Puerto Rico, known for his contribution to jazz and Caribbean music. With him, I began my formal learning process of jazz, and at the same time I began to investigate how I could share this knowledge with classically trained musicians in a clear way that is familiar to those who have not had the opportunity to have contact with the world of improvisation. Thus, I came up with the idea of writing my first book, From Classical to Jazz, an Improvisation Method, in which I compiled practice exercises that I have used as improvisation tools, presented in a simple language for players of any instrument. It is based on different scales and chords and their structures, allowing for the learning of these resources in a gradual manner, making use of the circle of fourths. As an additional tool, I created individual tracks for each exercise; this makes the process more fun and complete as it expands the aural aspect to new sonorities. The book contributes and enriches the creative possibilities when improvising, giving the musician the freedom to create without the need for a score.  

Musicians around the world have begun to look for ways to diversify and have found, to my great satisfaction, a possibility in my book. We have created a community through the Facebook group “From Classical to Jazz, an Improvisation Method” and through my website www.joshuapantoja.com, where we discuss the book, analyze its exercises and work on jazz standards in a simple way. In addition, I have had the honor of visiting several universities in the United States, where I have been able to teach virtual master classes and individual lessons for the purpose of sharing all these tools with as many musicians as possible. More and more people are receiving this information and are beginning to explore improvisation as another possibility in their musical training. 

I would like to close by saying that music is an infinite world, where learning is limitless, in which the more skills we develop, the more opportunities we will have at a professional level. To me, jazz has been an infinitely enriching experience that has opened my mind, and expanded my creativity and my way of listening to and enjoying music. I invite you all to rediscover yourselves, to dare to experiment and not set limits for yourselves.

Latest comments

09.11 | 02:19

Hi Gary,
Hope you are doing well!Looking forward to meet you here in Puerto Rico.On January 28th we are going to have an ET Movie Concert at the new Coca Cola Music Hall in PR.It’s going to be great

07.11 | 20:53

Hi Joshua
I am visiting family in PR around the beginning of February. Are you playing anywhere in late January or early February? Also, what publication or website lists all types of music in town?

24.09 | 20:59

Yes! I am accepting students. I will contact you asap!
Joshua 🙏🏼📯

13.09 | 14:47

I am interested in taking private lessons on the French horn. Are you accepting students? Please let me know
Sincerely Jean luzon

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