Have you got a good trumpet teacher?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Walter, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. Walter

    Walter Piano User

    Sep 11, 2006
    I am always fascinated by teaching approaches and would love to hear how you are getting on with your teacher? It would be good to know how you met and what you are working on. It would also be helpful to know your level of playing..ie pro, advanced, intermediate...beginner. Do you have regular lessions or one-offs. If you have one-offs are they worthwhile? Particularly with a famous teacher/player?

  2. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    Though I stopped taking lessons for the moment (I finished college 1 year ago) I think that on-offs can be good as continual teaching may be as well...in a different way. While a permanent teacher can go for long-term goals the on-off teacher can do remarks that the permanent tacher have not done for many reason...In switzerland I have studied with jena-Francois Michel who is not very famous in US and UK but he has made quite a name in the Swtzerland-France-Germany area...My experience with him was quite useful (he really gave me the basics which I needed at the time) and gave me right concepotion of what I should sound like, although by the end of my studies our relationship became somewhat frustating, as he though that I was not progressing as fast as he wanted.
    Then I had few lessons with Rod Franks (London Symphony) which were quite revealing to me, mainly on physical things (posture, embouchure) and style as well (articulation and vibrato).
    The thing is that different teachers em[hiseze on different things...For Example:

    Bill Wiliams, who was a friend and colleague of my teacher (Swiss Brass Consort) came in Fribourg for a weekend Masterclass). Most of the problems he was solving by flexibilites exercises.

    Erich Rinner, who came for a weekend as well, was emphasizing mainly on articulation, and was doing with as a lot of Arban like articulation exercises.

  3. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Great topic Walter,

    I first tried to work with the Professor of Trumpet at the local University down here in Georgia. When I met with him he surely seemed competent enough and had a long and impressive resume; his "people" skills and presentation however were a bit flat.

    By the end of that lesson all I knew was that I had a problem with air support, I had some basic counting issues, and he didn't care for the mouthpiece I was using. He offerd no real remedies for my problems other then just to identify them.

    My teacher I met here at Trumpet master. She had original suggested that I try to study with the University guy as he was closer to me but when I told of my expirence with him it was obvious to both of us that a little road trip was in order.

    Alex Yates; a regular contributor here. Lives about 1 1/2 hours upstate from me. But lessons with her are worth their weight in Gold so the drive was not an issue. We met for a lesson and within 1/2 an hour she had most of my problems well on their way to being cured. He style and approach are second to none as are her playing abilities.

    She's a pro in every sense of the word! As for my level I guess when I started studying with her I was about high school level? :dontknow: Now I'd say I'm easily some where in the college level and working hard to progress. I don't do this for a living; I just enjoy doing it.

    As far as what we did; or learned. We just took each lesson casually and let it lead to a destination rather then walk in the door and say ok today were doing this. I personally am glad we handled it that way and I think it really opened up my creativity as a direct result. I suspect she uses differnt approaches with different people; but this seems to be the one that worked quite well for me.

    In the 1 1/2 years that I've studied with her I've progressed my playing many years. She uses a common sense approach to playing that I "just get" and as a result I'm playing at a level I thought I'd not see ever!

    I think the mark of a good teacher is many things to many people. To me it's quite simple; if you leave the lesson enlighted with a renewed sense of vigor and ready to take on the world and anxious to return to learn more. Well, you must be studying with the right person. I've never left her home and not felt this way!

    So that is my story and I'm sticking to it! :-)
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  4. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    I have had two main teachers since I graduated from college. My first teacher (Jim) played 2nd trumpet in the Phoenix Symphony and I worked with him in weekly lessons, played with him in a Brass Band, Wind Ensemble, a community college orchestra, a brass quintet, and a community summer band for several years. This was quite simply the most amazing playing / study opportunity that I had ever experienced (I was a Mechanical Engineering Major in college). I met him the first time I went to the Brass Band rehearsal and told myself that whatever I had to do, this was the person that I needed to be studying with.

    He left for Sweden for 5 years to play Principal Trumpet in two orchestras and I started lessons with another player in the Phoenix Symphony (Benny). We worked together weekly for the next 5 years (mostly orchestral literature and working on lists for auditions). He left to play a season with the Chicago Symphony at the same time that my other teacher was returning from Sweden. So I started working with him again!

    About the time that Benny came back from Chicago, Jim was off to Mexico to play in a newly forming chamber orchestra, so I started working with Benny again.

    My focus in lessons is mostly on interpretation of literature, but I take my lessons in all sorts of directions. Sometimes I’ll do a deep dive on a specific fundamental when my instructor has come back from a lesson (yep, they take lessons too!) and has some new insights to offer. I’ll always remember the lessons that led up to playing through all of Mahler 2 (I played 2nd trumpet). We spent several months taking everything apart and diving into the specific details. Then, we put on a Laser Disk that Jim had and played through the entire symphony. Wow! We did the same thing with several of the Ring cycle operas too. That was just a magical time for me!

    I’ve had the one-off lessons as well (Ramon Parcells, Charlie Schlueter, Russ Devuyst, David Krauss), and they are all extremely memorable in my mind. Getting a unique perspective from these players just strengthened what my main teachers tell me. I think that I've written about each of my experiences with these players (just do a search).

    Lessons help me to play my best (being held accountable to a high standard each week provides lots of motivation to practice every day). When I’m playing in ensembles it’s easy to stay motivated. My regular seasons (wind ensemble and orchestra) run from October through May. For the other months, it’s very important that I’m meeting with my instructor on a regular basis, and we target areas for continued improvement.
  5. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    I have had two teachers since starting my come-back. One was not worth the effort or money. After the music store fired him, I tried to find a trumpet teacher close to home for MONTHS. Finally, the store called me back and introduced me to my present teacher. And he is simply FANTASTIC! He is a professional musician, with a good history of teaching.

    I would gage my level to be in the intermediate range. To use John's words, I am probably at the late high school level right now, but getting better by the week due to my teacher.

    We have weekly 30 minute lessons. Aside from being a nice guy, he has a very good style of teaching. At least his style fits me! Our routine is basically "Hello. How are you. Sit down. Play" Not much small talk. And frankly, if I only have 30 minutes I don't waste to much time discussing anything other than trumpets!

    He started off working on my bad breathing habits and articulation. Now that most of those problems are solved, we are advancing a bit. Now we are working on double and triple tonguing, flexibility and musical interpretation.

    I do not have the words to describe to you how much he has helped with the community band music! He has basically taken me from just playing the part on the page, to playing lead and being a section leader.

    The lessons seem to be just a bit pricey. Money well spent, in my opinion.

    <Based on the improvement in my playing, my Wife agrees with that too!>
  6. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I would say I'm an advanced player.
    I have been studying about 4 times a year with a pro.

    We work mostly on playing musically.

    I go in with a list of questions and he answers them on top of him helping musically.

    We have also worked on tuning, not playing high on the pitch, breathing, posture, playing relaxed and multiple tonguing.
    Indirectly we have worked on confidence. (how is my level of playing compared to others)

    These are the things that come to mind quickly sitting here typing.

    I think the lessons are well worth the money but I think I might benefit from going more often and having an assignment.
    The problem is the teacher is too far away and I have a full time job.
  7. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I forgot to say how we met.

    When I bought my trumpet I was having some trouble so I sent an email to the Symphony. I knew that he played the same brand.
    My teacher answered and we emailed first then he sent me an instant message and tried to help that way.

    I couldn't get it so he offered a lesson.

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