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September 15, 2020

Faculty Spotlight: Paul Shewan, Professor of Instrumental Music and Conducting | Wind Ensemble and Orchestra conductor

  • D.M.A. in Conducting | Eastman School of Music
  • M.M. in Trumpet Performance and Literature | Eastman School of Music
  • B.S. in Music Education | Roberts Wesleyan College

Share a bit about yourself.

My Dad, Robert Shewan, was the chair of the Music Department for 30 years from 1969-1999. Music has always been a part of my life and I was attracted to the trumpet at a very young age. I was in 3rd grade when I saw a cheesy Bob Hope movie “Eight on the Lam” (1967) that used a jazzy trumpet solo throughout the movie and I’ve been hooked ever since. Here’s a clip from that movie.

How long have you been teaching at Roberts?

I started teaching in 1988, with two years leave for doctoral work, so I have been teaching here for 30 years.

What are a few interesting facts about you?

As a child I was extremely shy. While I still consider myself more of an introvert than an extrovert, teaching has forced me (in a good way) to come out of that shyness.

I’ve been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra trumpet section (part time) since 1998. I’ve been a frequent guest conductor including their inaugural side-by-side concert with community members in February 2014. I’ve also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

I received the Special Music Educator Award from the RPO for musical and educational contributions to the community in 2019.

Share any thoughts about teaching during a pandemic...

What’s working - Socially distanced rehearsals are challenging, but have exceeded my expectations. We continue to make music and are able to do it at a high level.

What’s challenging - Socially distanced ensembles (12 feet apart) means smaller ensembles. The orchestra is now a chamber orchestra and the Wind Ensemble is split into two separate groups of woodwinds and brass/percussion.

How students are adapting - The students are happy to be meeting face to face and are working hard to make our current situation work for everyone. I am impressed and extremely pleased with their attitudes.

Share about an academic highlight from your time at Roberts?

There are many examples of student success, in particular those students/graduates who overcame academic or musical weaknesses and who are now successful in their field stand out.

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

Seeing the “light go on” in students when they learn something and making music with students at a high level or at a level they didn’t think they could obtain.

Share about the spiritual experience for students.

My greatest joy at Roberts is seeing a student come to faith in Christ or deepen his/her commitment. At the end of each year or before the final wind ensemble tour concert, the seniors will often share their testimony. The spiritual change over four years in many of these students is always a highlight for me.

What are your interests outside of teaching?

  • Family (grandchildren!)
  • Golf
  • Home improvement projects

What is your favorite Bible verse?

Psalm 71:5, For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust…

Academic Work Include:

I am published in “The Conductor’s Companion” (compiled and edited by Gary Stith, Merideth Music Publications, 2017). Additionally, this past summer, I worked with a videographer and recorded 35 trumpet etudes, two solos with piano accompaniment, and 10 instructional videos related to conducting or trumpet playing.

Student Insight:

Adoria Figgins’21 (Music Education K-12)

"Dr. Shewan is a professor who seeks to strengthen his students academically and spiritually. He goes the extra mile to help each student feel encouraged as he challenges them to achieve their goals. Whether in prayers after rehearsals, or a kind word in passing, Dr. Shewan shows his students that he cares. His kind spirit and motivating teaching methods make him an awesome educator to look up to."

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