Beacon Features: New prof. ‘feels blessed’ by position

By Evelyn Ticona
Features Editor

In the midst of French horns, trumpets, flutes, xylophone and a piano, Dr. David M. Jacobs, conducts Palm Beach Atlantic University’s brass ensemble.

“Being at PBA has definitely been a God thing,” said Jacobs, new director of instrumental studies and assistant professor of music at the School of Music and Fine Arts. “I was not even aware that there was an opening here. A friend applied, got the job, but didn’t take it, so I did.” 

Among other reasons, Jacobs decided to move back to Florida because his 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with diabetes last year. “Family support is always important in these kind of situations,” said Jacobs, whose parents live in Titusville.

“I’m a follower of Christ. Music is what I do for living,” Jacobs said.

For Jacobs it is a blessing to be where his two greatest passions coexist, saying, “It’s pretty awesome to be here. God has called me to serve Him by serving students here at PBA.”

Jacobs started off his career as the teaching assistant at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York; where he has finished the coursework for a doctorate, but still need to finish his dissertation.

Jacobs has a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance at Duquesne University, an M.A. in music education at University of Central Florida, and
A.B.D. from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.

He has taught at various levels, including elementary and high school. Jacobs also taught at Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Fla.

Jacobs obtained his undergraduate degree as a trumpet player, and has been playing it professionally for the last seven years. “My favorite instrument, though, is the French horn,” Jacobs confessed.

Despite the fact that he is the only musical person in his family, he was always drawn to instruments and performing: in high school he was an actor.

Jacobs also participated in the 2008 International Women in Music Festival, a conference that highlights women composers like Chen-yi, a Chinese composer of contemporary classical music; and Judith Lang Zaimont, an Israeli composer of classical pieces.

Just as English teachers would choose Shakespeare as mandatory reading for their students, Jacobs selects pieces from which his students can learn. 

Jacobs’s inspiration for teaching comes from the composer he’s teaching about. “Whoever wrote inspires my interpretation,” Jacobs said. “It’s the actual aesthetic quality of a piece.”

Stylistically, students learn from a wide variety of genres. According to Jacobs, it is important to establish a balance between styles and different kinds of music.

Jacobs’s favorite composers are Johannes Brahms, a German composer and pianist, and contemporary American composer David Maslanka. The latter was the subject of his doctoral dissertation. “The music of David Maslanka is often inspired or based on Christian themes,” Jacobs added.

Ensemble is open to all students and the Music Department is currently seeking new members. Anyone is eligible to join regardless of major. For students taking over 18 credit hours, the Music Department is willing to pay for the class. For more information, contact Jacobs at (561) 803-2408 or at david_jacobs@pba.edu. 

Photo by John Calloway

Photo by John Calloway

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