PASSION OF MUSIC
Minnesota State University student switches paths from accounting to music
By Leticia Gonzales | Submitted photo
For Jessica Landsteiner, music has long been an intricate part of the 25-year-old trumpet player’s life.
“I have always loved music and was raised listening to great music from many genres,” said Landsteiner, of Mankato. “My grandparents love polka and the old country tunes from artists like Conway Twitty, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. My parents introduced me to classic rock with bands like AC/DC and Queen, and my aunt showed me how cool Prince was. I fell in love with traditional New Orleans jazz when I visited New Orleans for the first time while in high school. All of these artists are big inspirations for me.”
Landsteiner, who also works full time at The Music Mart, used her family’s musical influence to shape her training. Although she started off playing percussion as a fifth grader in Mapleton, she decided to switch to trumpet in sixth grade, following in her brother’s footsteps. Having played through high school, Landsteiner studied trumpet through private lessons and also took music classes at Minnesota State University.
“Those consisted of theory, ensemble, private lessons, piano basics, music history, instrument repair, oral skills and music business classes,” she said. “I took most of these music classes while also taking classes for my accounting major. In my third year at MSU, I realized accounting wasn't for me and that my true passion was in music.”
Her experience helped shape her music career, having performed in various ensembles and groups at MSU, as well as with the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps of St. Peter.
“The schooling and training that I have had is entirely the reason why I am the musician that I am today. Without all of these learning and playing experiences, I would not have developed the skill or the love for playing music professionally. I have also made many crucial connections with fellow musicians that have resulted in new opportunities for me.”
She is a part of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota River Valley Wind Ensemble, Schell's Hobo Band, Machiko, The Bass Brand Brass Band, The Original New Ulm German Band and Mankato Area Community Band.
While most of her training is in wind band, Lansteiner also performs polka, jazz, contemporary, pep/marching music and classical genres.
“My favorite genre to play is a tie between traditional New Orleans jazz and polka. Both genres have great upbeat music as well as slower tunes.”
Her love for New Orleans helped earn a $1,000 grant from Prairie Lakes Regional Art Center in February to study traditional New Orleans jazz with mentor Catie Rogers.
“Catie is a professional trumpet player and band leader in New Orleans,” Lansteiner said. “I saw her perform at the Maison Bourbon when I was in New Orleans in 2018 and knew right then that I wanted to learn from a New Orleans musician themselves.”
She studied Catie Rogers via Skype lessons and was to perform a concert but had to cancel it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am working on putting together a video or two composed of several videos of me and my fellow musicians playing some tunes,” she said. “I am very thankful to have been able to complete my lessons with Catie, as I learned a ton of new things from her.”