Tony Lada, Professor
"I never selected the trombone. When I was in junior high school, my father knew the band director and asked him, 'What instruments do you need in the band?' He said they didn't have any trombone players, so one morning a station wagon drove up to my house and the band director came out with a trombone case, and that was it. I had no interest in music, either, and didn't even want to be involved in a band."
"So what happened? I became really good at it. I seemed to take to the instrument naturally. But I have to say I had an excellent private instructor—a symphony player—who really knew how to explain the principles of playing a brass instrument. After maybe a year I was put in the high school band, and a little while after that, in the high school jazz band."
"When I was about 14, the bandleader Stan Kenton ran a series of summer jazz clinics across the country with his band. I went the first year they held it at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, and that's where I first met Berklee faculty Herb Pomeroy, John LaPorta, and Ray Santisi. That one week was inspiring, and it confirmed my decision to be a musician and to study at Berklee. Then right after I graduated, I started teaching here."
"In improvisation, the approach is to teach one concept at a time, ranging from the theoretical to the more creative, like how to shape a solo rhythmically or melodically. I like to think I teach students how, as opposed to what, to think musically, because with jazz, unlike any other kind of music, there's a lot more interpretive freedom for the individual. I also want students to feel safe about taking a chance in areas that they're not too familiar with. I know sometimes it's pretty intimidating to perform in front of your peers. So I try to make students feel relaxed and not worry about making a mistake."
- B.M., Berklee College of Music
- Performances with Glenn Miller Orchestra, Buddy Rich, and Woody Herman
- Recordings include The Very Thought of You and On the Edge
- Director of improvisation workshops at Jazz Vermont