MSJC Music Program Picks Up Tempo

A new music degree and CD recordings are taking the program to a new level
Jeremy Brown has been dividing his time between the classroom at Mt. San Jacinto College and the recording studio.
Brown, associate professor/chair of the Music Department at MSJC and director of the college’s Menifee Jazz Ensemble, recently released two CDs: one is titled Hop Scotch and highlights the student group, including saxophonist Kasey Cothran, drummer Zach Rask and trombonist Don Jackson. The other is called Jeremy Brown Quartet. That group includes Jeff Ellwood on tenor saxophone, Hamilton Price on bass, Matt Politano on piano and Brown, the leader of the group, on drums. He is also at the helm of the new Associate in Arts Transfer Degree in Music at MSJC. The degree will allow MSJC music students to transfer to four-year institutions.
Brown said recording in a studio gives MSJC music students real-world experience and a taste of the pressures involved in that aspect of the industry. As an instructor, Brown said being in the studio as both musician and producer keeps him current and enhances what he can bring to students in the classroom.
“The recording experience finds its way back to the classroom in several ways,” Brown said. “I can speak from my own experience, and when I play or demonstrate or offer advice, it’s coming from someone who’s actively making music.  Ultimately, though, it’s all about having fun and creating music.  The spirit of creation is hopefully what translates and inspires students.”
Making Quartet, a collection of 10 new songs and older tunes Brown had written over the years, gave Brown the opportunity play a selection of his original music and to reconnect with an old friend, Price, whom he knew in college in Texas.
“The musicians were great,” Brown said in a telephone interview, adding they are “just a really great bunch of LA jazz musicians.”
Two songs on Quartet, “On the Verge” and “Hop Scotch,” which also appears on the Menifee Jazz Ensemble CD, are dedicated to his two young sons. 
Ticket sales for concerts and performances by the Menifee Jazz Ensemble over the years helped pay for the making of the Hop Scotch CD. The ensemble performs on the Menifee Valley Campus and in the communities MSJC serves.
Brown used the website Kickstarter to help fund Quartet. The website assists independent artists to secure funding for projects in the arts, ranging from films to music and design to technology. He said that crowd-sourcing – as the funding method is called – has become common practice for professionals seeking to raise money.  Quartet is available through CDbaby and iTunes. 
Brown earned a masters and doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.  While in Austin, he performed as a drummer and classical percussionist and played with groups ranging from big band and rock & roll to blues, funk and classical. 
He also toured with “Chicago – The Musical” in his last year in Texas, and was a member of Disney All-Star College Bands in Paris and Orlando.
Brown, who is married, has two young sons and lives in Temecula, has been teaching at MSJC since 2007. He started as a part-time instructor teaching a handful of classes. His goal then, he said, was to learn what it is like to be on a community college campus and eventually to become a full-time professor.
“It’s really been a great ride. It really matches me well,” Brown said. “I’ve been a professional musician for a long time. Being a professor is another side of me. I like both. I like introducing people to music.”
Brown said he looks forward to the upcoming school year and beyond because of changes at the college. The new music degree will attract more students to the program and Brown said the college will reach out to area music programs, provide copies of the CD and “spread the word about the great things happening in MSJC music.”
Brown said he would eventually like to see the formation of additional musical ensembles at the college and a new performing arts center. In fact, cultural and performing arts centers on the San Jacinto and Menifee Valley campuses are in the college’s facilities master plans.
Hop Scotch is available through the college’s Music Department for $15 each or two for $25. It soon will be available at MSJC bookstores.
For more information about the MSJC music program or the CDs, Brown can be reached at 
Jeremy Brown, associate professor/chair of the Mt. San Jacinto College Music Department, conducts students in a studio during the recording of the recently-released “Hop Scotch” CD. The college’s Associate in Arts Transfer Degree in Music is new this fall.  
"Hop Scotch” is a recently-released CD by Jeremy Brown, associate professor/chair of the Mt. San Jacinto College Music Department, and students in the college’s Menifee Jazz Ensemble. 
Jeremy Brown, associate professor/chair of the Mt. San Jacinto College Music Department, recently recorded two CDs: one with the college’s Menifee Jazz Ensemble, consisting of students and the other with jazz musicians from Los Angeles. The college’s Associate in Arts Transfer Degree in Music is new this fall.
The new CD the “Jeremy Brown Quartet” was recorded by Brown, associate professor/chair of the Mt. San Jacinto College Music Department, and recently released.