Humans of Harker: Jack Farnham pursues career as trumpet player

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Heidi Zhang

“In four years, I hope I’m still in college,” he said. “I hope I’ve started to get my life together and maybe get a few gigs here and there, but I’ll still definitely be taking weekly lessons. I want to go to graduate school after that, maybe at a conservatory, and then who knows? Just hopefully playing whatever, however that is, whether it’s an orchestra or a salsa band or whatever. As long as I’m playing, it’ll be fine,” Jack Farnham (12) said.

by Nina Gee, Reporter

To the most of us, music is a means of relaxing, channeling emotions or escaping the stresses of daily life. But to Jack Farnham (12), music is much more than that: it’s his future.

“My dream job is to hold a position in an orchestra, but as long as I can play the trumpet I would play anywhere, for anyone,” he said. “I would play any music.”

Growing up in family of musicians, Jack started playing piano at age seven and the trumpet at eight. Soon, he discovered his love of trumpet prevailed over the other instruments.

“My dad was a drummer, my mom played piano, but I wanted something different,” he said. “I think it comes down to I got better at it faster. I was alright at the piano, but I didn’t practice a lot. It wasn’t a favorite thing to do. The trumpet, I think it just fit me better, and the longer I played it, the more I started to realize that.”

Throughout his high school career, Jack has also participated in swimming. He cites the pool as one of the few places where he can de-stress and reflect on his life.

“With all the music that’s going through my head and practice time and school and academics and stuff like that, it’s nice to kind of exercise and lose your mind a little, because there’s not much to think about when you’re staring at a black line going back and forth,” he said. “You can actually reflect what’s going on in your life.”

Even so, he prioritizes trumpet over all of his extracurriculars.

“I would choose trumpet over anything,” he said. “I love swimming, but I love trumpet more. I like being part of groups where you can make music but still be an integral part of the group. Usually, in most orchestras, there are only three or four trumpets playing the same piece, sometimes only two, so if you’re a part of this, you’re very important. I’d like to be that important part, while still making music with other people.”

Jack especially loves the challenge that playing the trumpet provides him, especially when expressing himself through music.

“Every piece is a story, right?” he said. “So, you have to tell the story without using words, and I really like that challenge. I really like the trumpet because every instrument gets to do that, but the trumpet is a more technical instrument. It’s harder to master just the technique of the instrument, let alone expressing yourself, than some instruments, so a lot of our time is spent just doing exercises and stuff. When you work hard to finally play something that you couldn’t before and then you can add emotion to it, it’s like that extra challenge that really gets me going.”

As a senior, Jack now plays for the California Youth Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. He hopes to pursue music as a career.

“In four years, I hope I’m still in college,” he said. “I hope I’ve started to get my life together and maybe get a few gigs here and there, but I’ll still definitely be taking weekly lessons. I want to go to graduate school after that, maybe at a conservatory, and then who knows? Just hopefully playing whatever, however that is, whether it’s an orchestra or a salsa band or whatever. As long as I’m playing, it’ll be fine.”