Interview with Colin Avery Hinton

by Hawa Konneh

All about Colin Avery Hinton!

Childhood Life

Colin Avery Hinton was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. At a very young age, he started to get familiar with musical instruments such as the piano. Keep in mind he was only 4 years old when he started exploring his musical talents! So, from a very early age he already knew what he wanted to do in the future. To get more familiar with his talents, Colin would always go to one of his friends’ houses after school just to play the piano. According to Colin, he didn’t really come from a musical background family so going over to his friend’s house and playing the piano was his way of exploring himself at the time.

High school life

Colin attended a local high school in his hometown where he was first introduced to jazz. He was a part of the jazz band in his high school as a drummer where they performed for the school. Because he was more advanced in his talents than others, during practices group leaders thought it was a good idea to have him sit out while others rehearsed. So, he would just be at practice not doing anything. Sitting around not doing anything in practice caused colin to start experimenting on other instruments like the trombone. The way he gained more experience in jazz was by joining an afterschool club in Dallas, Texas who held classes for students who did not have good musical departments in their school. Colin mentioned how hard the afterschool instructors were on the students because they knew that going into music was a tough career path, so he wanted to make sure they were ready for the real world. To this day Colin appreciates the way he was taught in the after-school club because it helped him later in the future.

College Life

University of Northern Texas was the college Colin was attending. It was the first public jazz school in the country. Colin was able to get into the school with a scholarship and paid about $2000 a semester since he was paying state tuition. He was commuting to school since the school was only an hour away from his home. The Jazz program that he was a part of in the school was such a huge program, it was filled with over 500 students! Attending school benefited his career today because he learned a lot from the jazz program that he was a part of. Things started to get a little rocky during his second senior year at the university. Colin had about 120 credits at the time, but you needed 150 credits to graduate. He had enough music credits, he just needed credits for general ed classes. Also, he was going on tour with people from Newyork at the time which caused him to miss a few classes. Eventually, he dropped out of school to move to New York.

Moving to New York!

After dropping out of the University of Northern Texas, Colin moved to New York because it is a huge hub for musicians. He had more opportunities to make money musically than he did in Texas. He was

also already familiarized with New York being that he was performing with people from there before he moved. Ever since he was younger, he knew he would move to New York someday, but he did not know when. Colin was working every single day just to get by, so he decided to go back to school. That is when he started attending The City College of New York to finish grad school. Attending CCNY benefitted colin because it was very affordable, he applied for the Pell grant, and it was able to cover his whole tuition. While attending CCNY, Colin was a TA (Teaching Assistant) for Steve Wilson. When he graduated from CCNY, Colin started to build his own private teaching studio. To fulfil that goal, he had to work major hours to save money to finish building the studio. He started working 7 days a week working at a juvenile psych care facility in Harlem. While he was working there, he was also still teaching private lessons and had gigs. So, he was on average about 80 hours of work a week. September 2019 is when Colin decided to quit his job at the psych care facility because he had finally saved up enough money to finish building his private teaching studio. Colin has about 34 students that attend his private teaching studio.

Biggest achievements and Future Goals

When asked about his biggest achievement, Colin says he is able to live just off music. What he means by this is that Musicians usually must work multiple jobs outside the music field just to make a living, but his earnings are coming from just music and his teaching studio. To him, that is a huge accomplishment as a musician. Another one of his huge achievements is that he got to work with people that he dreamed of working with as a child. He worked with Tony Malaby, Todd Neufeld, Eivind Opsvick, and Ingrid Laubrock. He got recognized by a lot of press in NY and intentionally for his talents and he was able to perform in his dream venues. Colins future goals are to have more albums planned and hope to be performing more. As I mentioned previously, Colin has about 34 students that attend his private teaching studio he would like to teach about 10-15 students weekly in the future, so he has more time to perform and tour.