I started taking private lessons from Phil Holland in 2004. As I write that, it's hard to believe that was ten years ago. Aside from being a world class trumpeter, Mr. Holland as he was to me back then (still feels funny saying Phil) was a mentor to me and a person who really shaped what I have become up to this point in my life.

Among learning countless other valuable life lessons from him, he instilled in me one of my core beliefs and lit a fire within myself; and that is that hard work and practice are two pillars that success rests upon. From countless long tones, to singing our parts loudly in practice rooms (thank god we had those, trumpet player voices aren't great) I slowly realized over those five years of lessons that what I had gained wasn't just the ability to hit that higher note and get through tougher technical passages, it was the capacity and ability to apply myself. It went beyond practice too and I can't stress that enough; Mr. Holland knew what I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to be very good at playing the trumpet and he gave me all the tools, philosophies and coaching I needed to be great at it, but more importantly, to be great at anything I pursued in life.

I stopped playing the trumpet in 2008, but I carry these lessons with me to this day. I truly believe Phil Holland is a large part of why I am continuing my education in medical school this coming fall; I never would have made it to this point without the lessons I learned from him years ago.

Alex Williams