Getting the most out of college
Brennan came to IU and the Jacobs School of Music from Fairfax, Virginia. He was considering the nation’s top music schools, but he didn’t want the small, hyperfocused experience of attending a conservatory: “I was like, ‘No, this is college. I need to get the whole experience.’”
So he took advantage of every musical opportunity he could at IU. He studied and played classical music, early music, and jazz, and earned a minor in jazz studies. He performed with several orchestras and ensembles—as many as seven in one semester. And he played freelance gigs in Bloomington and all over the Midwest.
He estimates that during his four years, he played at least 400 IU and freelance shows.
“This is the only place you can get the Big Ten university experience while also getting every conceivable musical experience you could want,” Brennan says. “I didn’t want to waste any opportunity.”
Along the way, he earned impressive accolades, twice winning the IU Brass Concerto Competition (once with bass trombone and once with euphonium) and winning the 2013 Eastern Trombone Workshop national solo competition for bass trombone in his division.
His willingness to try new things is also how he discovered a genre of music that changed his life.