For High School age students and younger, lessons are typically given for 30 minutes each week. See "Schedule" page for current openings. For HS students considering majoring in music and for college students, lessons are typically 1 hour. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for current rates. Lessons are paid for at each lesson (not monthly). My lesson policy is: Please show up for your lesson, and if you can't make it, give me a couple of days heads-up, so that I can fill the spot.
WHAT TO BRING TO LESSONS?
Your instrument, your mouthpiece, valve oil, and a THREE RING BINDER (preferably with one-inch rings). This is where we will collect all of the weekly lesson materials. BRING THIS BINDER EACH LESSON.
SHOULD I PRACTICE, AND FOR HOW LONG?
My teaching philosophy has developed from years and years of teaching and finding what really works. My students regularly fill the very top spots in honors groups, from States to All-East to Nationals, even have been broadcast on NPR's From the Top, and many have gone on to the top schools of music and professional careers. Not saying this to toot my own horn - just that these kids have loved playing and engaged on their own, and I've perhaps been able to facilitate in some way that journey.
Others of my students have chosen not to do honors groups, yet find that they love playing in groups - and many continue in community bands and orchestras. They will carry this on to their own kids (I've been fortunate even to teach some kids of the kids I taught over 20 years ago...what a gas!).
In a nutshell, my TEACHING PHILOSOPHY is this:
Learning needs to be fun and engaging. Yes, developing skills as a fine musician takes hours/days/years of time and energy, but if this pursuit is dull or forced, the rate of learning will be slower. And most importantly, the joy will not be there in the sound. PLAYING BRASS IS ALL ABOUT A GREAT SOUND!
OK! HOW MUCH TO PRACTICE?
Playing a brass instrument requires a degree of toning of the musculature in the lips (embouchure) and good breathing habits, and both of these can only be maintained by fairly regular playing. Ideally, one would want to play for some bit of time every day, even if it is for just 15-20 minutes. Some of my students do this when they are doing homework, between subjects, and many claim that because of the deep breathing it "wakes them up". Perhaps this allows for them to get homework done more quickly and effectively??
So, WHAT DOES ONE PLAY WHEN PRACTICING?
Ah, this is where the lessons come in. Lessons are a weekly template of what the student can do when practicing - one half of my lessons are devoted to warmups (kind of like calisthenics) used for developing a good sound and control on the instrument. The warmups I provide for the students are specifically chosen and administered over time to address the particular student's issues/challenges/needs, and so therefore often I do not use the same materials across the board for every student. Much of the materials I've amassed are drawn from years of lessons I've paid good money for (as a student myself, in college and even HS), and masterclasses and music degrees and eavesdropping on great players. They WILL work!
The second half of the lesson we will play actual melodies that I provide for the student, offering the chance (at any level of development) to be a musician! Nothing is more embarrassing than having Uncle Bob and Aunt Sue visit your house, and when they ask you to play - only being able to play your (non melodic) band part for them. Bob and Sue are wondering why you are playing Morse Code. Low brass needs to play MELODIES, just like the flutes and trumpets. As a teacher, for all ages, I hope to find melodies that the student will connect with and WANT to play - hence making it fun, artistically rewarding, and musically satisfying...