Joe Mazzaferro says he can hear his father when he teaches students jazz and trumpet.
"I catch myself doing and saying a lot of things that come from him, " he said.
Joe is an adjunct professor of jazz studies at both Sacramento State and the University of the Pacific, and trumpet instructor at Delta College in Stockton.
His father, Jim Mazzaferro, 55, teaches music at Sheldon High School in Sacramento and moonlights at Cosumnes River College.
Every three weeks the younger Mazzaferro returns to the classroom he frequented as a high school student to volunteer alongside his father.
On Friday afternoon, Joe was running trumpet students through their paces at the high school. When a trio of jazz band members arrived for individual instruction, Jim slid behind a big upright bass.
The music students at Sheldon seem to enjoy the family dynamic.
"I think it's more intimate than most lessons," said Ryan Cook, a senior who plays trumpet in the jazz band.
When the Mazzaferros aren't in a classroom, they are usually at performances with their students in tow. Jim goes with various bands from Sheldon High School to their numerous shows. Joe plays in a house band with some of his California State University, Sacramento, students at a weekly jazz jam, among other things.
It would be fair to say that the two men have influenced thousands of musicians throughout the Sacramento region even though the younger Mazzaferro is only 27 years old.
Jim said he and his wife, Anita, who also plays the bass, are "really proud he's our son. It's nice to see him have such a strong passion for what you do."
The influence started early. The Mazzaferros offered their children a lot of options music, sports, academics but no one had to tell young Joe to practice his trombone.
"One time in high school, it was 10:30 at night, and I said, 'You have to play something else.' He started playing the piano. When you have to get up at 5 a.m., sometimes you need sleep," Jim said.
After high school, the younger Mazzaferro continued to follow in his father's footsteps earning a master's degree in music.
Sheldon students have noticed similarities between the teachers. "The first time I worked with the kids, they couldn't stop laughing," Joe said. "They said, 'You sound just like your father.' "
The similarities continue outside the classroom. Both men are performers in their own right. Joe leads the Joe Mazzaferro Quintet, and his father plays with the Nicole Hodson Quartet. Both have performed with numerous bands and orchestras.
The father has been a good role model. He has won numerous awards for his work as a music teacher, most recently the Legion of Honor Award from Bandworld Magazine, which honors instructors who have "contributed significantly to the profession through dedication to bands and band music."
His son tops the list he keeps of the accomplished students he has taught. Also on the list is Garrett Smith, the trombonist for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno"; Shawn Helwig, a country recording artist; and Matthew Muckey, associate principal trumpet player for the New York Philharmonic.
The rows of trophies and plaques that line the walls and shelves of the band room stand as testament to the elder Mazzaferro's teaching ability.
Their days are hectic. On Friday, Jim accompanied the jazz band to the Woodcreek Jazz Festival in Roseville and then hurried back so the school band could perform at a basketball game. A day that started with jazz band rehearsals at 6:45 a.m. ended at 9 p.m.
Joe's schedule includes being the co-founder and musical director for the Sacramento Jazz Orchestra primarily made up of music educators.
In the summer, both spend seven weeks at the Cazadero Music Camp at the Russian River in Sonoma County. The camp teaches music to students ages 10 to 18. Joe is on the faculty, while Jim is the camp's artistic director.
The younger Mazzaferro enjoys teaching jazz because the genre requires a lot of interaction among players.
"The way things have been going lately, a lot of kids are glued to the Internet and TV," he said. "It's a good way to get them out interacting with others."