From military to jazz: WU sax man

“I had always enjoyed my music. It was my passion; what I loved,” said Craig Treinen, director of jazz studies. “But it was really my music teachers who convinced me to make a career of music. They are the ones who influenced me to share my passion with others.”

Annastasia Glover is an english and music major

Craig Treinen, director of jazz studies and applied saxophone at Washburn University, was born in Topeka, Kan., he is also a descendant of the original Pottawatomie Native Americans.

As a kid, Treinen was an athlete playing many sports including football, baseball and track. Despite his physical prowess, Treinen decided against an athletic career path in favor of music education.

“I had always enjoyed my music. It was my passion; what I loved,” said Treinen. “But it was really my music teachers who convinced me to make a career of music. They are the ones who influenced me to share my passion with others.”

With this life-changing influence, Treinen went on to become a member of the United States Air Force Band.

“As professional musicians we were expected to practice at least six hours a day, travel 200 days out of the year and perform in as many as five different ensembles,” said Treinen.

Despite these expectations, Treinen described his experience in the Air Force as one rife with success and adventure.

“It was really fun,” said Treinen. “Really fun…and really hard.”

He elaborates by explaining how he played lead alto saxophone in both the jazz and wind ensembles, flute in the woodwind group and tenor saxophone in the Air Force country and rock bands. In these bands, Treinen performed in front of many famous and important politicians, including presidents, vice presidents, ambassadors, foreign dignitaries, and even a Russian general.

After retiring from the military, Treinen began teaching music at local public schools. He then decided to pursue a more advanced musical education and took several college courses.

While studying in college, Treinen took a teaching job at Kansas State University, and after a few years he eventually earned his doctorate in philosophy. Soon after this, Treinen received a phone call from a colleague wondering if he would be interested in teaching at Washburn University.

“It just happened,” said Treinen. “I wanted to leave Kansas, but it seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

Thus, Treinen began his teaching career at Washburn University, where he offers the wisdom of his life experiences to his students.