Victor Haskins: Successful Trumpeter & "Make It Real" Personality

Victor X. Haskins

Class of 2013 (was Class of 2014, but I am graduating a year ahead of schedule)

Jazz Trumpet/Performance

When did you start playing the trumpet and what sparked your interest in music?
I started playing trumpet in the 6th grade.  I started playing jazz seriously when I got to college (though the interest to do so existed long beforehand).  I became interested in music when I first played the trumpet in band class after we had made our instrument selections.  It was so much fun to play that I would practice as much as possible, and when I found out in high school that being a musician full-time was a viable career option, I decided that the musician’s life was the life for me.

What made you choose VCU?
The prospect of being able to study classical music and jazz with professors who could do a great job of teaching both was the main edge VCU had over other schools for me.

Who are your influences and role models?
My main influence for life has been my father—he always stressed doing the right thing, being honest, and working hard, all of which are key aspects to how I operate on a daily basis.  Consequently, these (amongst other lessons) guiding principles have been the reasons that I have been successful in life thus far.

Musically, my role models have been Miles Davis (more as a conceptualist with how he leads bands) and Woody Shaw (for his inventive approach to improvising as a trumpeter).

What other instruments do you play?
I don’t play any other instruments well enough to say I perform music on them.

What ensembles are you in? 
I am in Jazz Orchestra 1 and a small jazz ensemble as far as my school ensembles go.  Professionally, my main musical vehicle is The Victor Haskins Group, which is an ensemble which varies in size and instrumentation (except that trumpet is part of all of its configurations).  I write the music for this band and lead the group in terms of how we communicate as a band (musically) and how we play the compositions and arrangements.  I also do a lot of work playing with Jason Jenkins (local bassist and co-founder of 32 Bars Records—which is the label I will be recording my first album for in the next few months).


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