Born With Two Fingers, Trombonist Earns Prestigious Concert Spot


A local trombonist is gaining a lot of attention, and it is not for what he is missing.  20-year-old Matthew Watt has earned a spot in Augustana University’s premier music competition. Watt has worked hard to achieve something that was not necessarily right at his fingertips. 

Slide into Matthew Watt’s world, and you will hear he has it all.  When it comes to his trombone, he plays it with a mastery of pitch, intonation, and quite the set of lungs.  Watt has been practicing his whole life, and after a few auditions, he has a spot at Augie’s 2017 Concerto-Aria.  Watt is one of only four students to perform a solo in it.  

“I’m really excited! It’s something I’ve had in my sights ever since I started taking applied lessons,” Watt said. 

Most people do this with ten fingers, but Watt only needs two to work his trombone. 

“There were relatively few things when I was younger that made me feel, I guess, uncomfortable with the way I am,” Watt said. 

Due to a rare condition called ectrodactyly, Watt was born with only one pinky finger on each hand.  However, it is a non-issue for Watt, because these are not the two parts of his life that influenced him the most. 

“I’m really grateful for my parents Kevin and Marsha.  they helped me to see it not much as a limitation but as an advantage,” Watt said. 

Watt, a computer science major, is looking forward to sharing this music at the concerto next month. 

“For me, it’s a stress-reliever.  For me, it’s a way to get out what I’m feeling at the time,” Watt said. 

When he performs, Matthew Watt will wow you and you will quickly hear he is not missing anything.  Because, really, who needs ten fingers, when you have this much talent and an abundance of heart. 

“You get to be an example to other people and you get to inspire other people and that’s all I’ve ever hoped to do is inspire people,” Watt said. 

If you would like to hear him play, Watt will perform with the Augustana Orchestra in the Concerto-Aria concert on Sunday, April 9, at the Washington Pavilion. 

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