Mark Boren: a real brass act
Inside MSU high brass instructor Mark Boren's office, the first thing one notices is the treadmill next to his desk. When asked if he jogs, Boren responds, "I use it to practice and exercise. I find walking one mile per hour, while playing my instrument, is the optimal pace."
Boren takes his music seriously.
His interest in music goes back to childhood. His older brother played the trumpet, and he would hang around hoping for the opportunity to try it too.
"I'd bug him until he let me play," Boren recalls with a smile.
He took private lessons in middle school and credits his teacher, Gary "Chip" Schutza, principal trumpet of the Kansas City Symphony, as a key person who nurtured what became a lifelong passion. He got serious about music in high school and was chosen as principal trumpet in the Kansas City Youth Symphony and Kansas All State Orchestra. At Wichita State University, Boren obtained a bachelor's in music performance and later a master's degree from DePaul University in Chicago.
"I am a big believer in following your dreams, and I was determined to play professionally. But there is a small window of opportunity, so I knew I'd really have to work hard," Boren said. "I figured I'd rather chase the dream and fall short, than give it up too soon and wonder 'what if?'"
Boren played extra with the Kansas City Symphony, toured as a member of the Kansas Brass Quintet, founded the Orenunn Trio, and played music conventions, recitals and clinics internationally and throughout the Midwest. It was through his work as a music teacher at the International Music Camp that his true passion for teaching awakened.
"While I had always pursued professional performing opportunities, Chris Moore, my doctoral trumpet teacher, helped encourage my pursuit of teaching and pedagogy."
In 2007, Boren was offered a job at Minot State and has become a pillar in the Division of Music. In addition to teaching studio trumpet and horn, he directs the MSU Brass Ensemble and MSU Beaver Athletic Band, teaches music fundamentals and assists with the Pride of MSU Marching Band.
"My specialty is performance mechanics. I am good at diagnosing the root of students' problems and correcting them," said Boren. "Music didn't come easily; I had to work hard at it. I think that allows me to be a good teacher and better equipped to help students overcome issues."
Teaching hasn't curtailed Boren's love of performance and travel. He has continued to present and perform internationally. In 2011 he presented at the International Trumpet Guild in Minneapolis and is scheduled to present at the International Horn Society Symposium in Texas and the International Women's Brass Conference in Michigan this summer.
A published author, his first book," Breathing for Performance," was released in 2005, and translated into German in 2008. In addition, he is currently developing a book series for trumpet and horn.
"I love doing what I do," he said. "Music is what drives me."