He went on to get a degree in music education from University of Maryland in 1988 and a degree in classical trumpet performance from Rutgers University in 1993. Originally a classical trumpet player, Stafford soon branched out to jazz with the University of Maryland jazz band. His career in jazz soon picked up and has played with McCoy Tyner, Christian McBride, John Clayton, Steve Turre, Dave Valentin, and Russell Malone and on stages such as Carnegie Hall and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
He recently released a Civil Defense entitled New Beginnings featuring a number of other new up-and-coming musicians such as bassist Derrick Hodge.
In addition to his position at Temple, Terell Stafford has also worked with the Juilliard School"s jazz program, at the Lincoln Center"s Essentially Ellington program, and with the 2006 All-Alaska Jazz Band.