Megumi Kanda is an incredible musician who inspires others to work hard with a positive outlook. Her personal journey as a trombone player is full of obstacles, both physical and mental, that should encourage others to keep working through their flaws and barriers. I am extremely honored to have her participate in this interview series. May her answers be a blessing to you as they have been for me.
Recently, Mrs. Kanda has written some incredible tomes that every serious trombonist should own. Both her edition of The One Hundred, a collection of the most common excerpts asked for in auditions, and Trombone Unlimited, a great resource for fundamentals, technical development, and greater flexibility, are both published by Encore Music.
- When and how did you become a Christian?
I was born in a Christian family, so there is not really a dramatic story here. I committed my life to Jesus when I was in 7th grade, and asked him to take the driver’s seat in my life.
- What is your favorite Bible Verse?
Matthew 6:34. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” It’s a great reminder for me to take one moment at a time when I get overwhelmed.
- What is your favorite hymn?
There are many, but the one that keeps giving me comfort when I’m in trouble is “He leadeth me”.
- What are some project you are working on?
I just finished writing a method book, so now I’m focusing on some premieres for the next few months. I have 4 brand new pieces in the works, Mark Narins’ Trombone Concerto, Amy Mills’ Golden( based on Matthew 6:34!), and also her Red Dragonfly orchestra version, and Bruce Stark’s Sketches of Japan.
- How do you seek to serve God and the church through music? Other areas of service?
Church is where my music developed. Ever since I was young, I have tried to express the words through the hymns. Some people click with words, some people click with words spoken through music. I still play in church along with my husband and kids to speak God’s words through music. I’ve also made a couple of sacred CDs years ago which was always on my top to do list.
- Who is your favorite Biblical character?
There are many interesting characters, but David may be my favorite.
- What piece of advice would you give to young Christians looking to pursue a career in music?
Being able to play music is a gift from God. He can take it away at any moment. Look out for pride, and always be thankful for what you are able to do. The more broken you are, the more people will see God through your music. Be like a clay jar full of cracks, so that Jesus who is within you shines through. Serve God and people with the gift you were given.
- What piece of advice would you give to someone juggling a music career and a family?
Love your spouse and kids to the max and live one moment and one day at a time. God will not give you more than you can handle.
- In what ways does your faith influence your approach to music, both philosophically and pedagogically?
My faith gives me a mission in life. With my gift of music, I’m here to serve God by lifting listeners’ spirits up, and help people get a glimpse of God’s glory through music. I’m also here to see the best version of what God made me to be. As a teacher, I’m here to encourage and help students, using the challenges God gave me throughout my life. I’m here to serve as long as I’m allowed.
If you would like to learn more about Mrs. Kanda, please visit her Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra page or listen to the highly informative interview she gave to the Third Coast Trombone Retreat Podcast.