Trumpet Discussion Discuss Music Education & Keeping Your Playing Up in the General forums; How many of you out there are music teachers who have been able to keep up your playing? How many ...
Music Education & Keeping Your Playing Up
How many of you out there are music teachers who have been able to keep up your playing? How many of you haven't? I'm looking at going into the field and was wondering if it was still possible to keep up my playing...so many teachers I know of literally stopped playing when they started teaching. That kinda scares me...
*I may not be great yet, but I'm working hard on it and one day I'm gonna be there.*
I teach middle school band and pretty much have a second career as a trumpeter. I have the kind of job that doesn't need much preparation at home. My teaching day is usually over at 3:00pm. I practice everyday, some at school and some at home. This is all my choice. I have turned down more prestigious teaching jobs that also would have paid more because they would have interfered with my playing. In New York City there are many opportunities to play and after living here all my life I'm a very active performer.
I retired from the US Marine Band in 1994, and taught full time at a Catholic High School here in the DC area. The program became quite large ( four bands), and was time consuming, to say the least. HOWEVER, I never stopped playing. It just meant getting to school at 6:00 AM and getting in a solid hour before kids started coming in for extra help. It meant practicing during my lunch period, and in the evenings when I came home.
I must say it is easier this year, as I am retired from the school as of last June, and I only teach privately. So, I just play in 1/2 hour sets all day. It's great!
Even after 50 years of playing, I can't imagine not playing!
Good luck with your career!
Music Education & Keeping Your Playing Up
I just retired 2 years ago from teaching Elementary Instrumental Music after 32 1/2 years. I, too, have a second career playing trumpet. I used to live in NY State near the Catskill Mt. Resort Hotels. I ended up working in the various show bands there for about 17 years. Some years it amounted to 180 gigs per year, besides teaching privately 3 nights a week from 3:30 'till 9:oo PM...BESIDES my full daytime gig in school. I would also get called to do various big band gigs/rehearsals during the week! So the hard part wasn't finding time to keep my chops up...it was trying to juggle my schedule around in order to fit everything in!!! Do the math...2 hrs. a day with the kids in school + 1 hr. lunch/prep period + 5 hours with my private students (some of which were college kids that were quite advanced) = 8 total hours per day with a horn in my face! So to answer your question..YES...your trumpet and you CAN have a life together after graduating from college. I'm sure there are many players out there with the same experience as mine! As for becoming a teacher...GO FOR IT! You have NO idea what a thrill it is seeing an 8 year old kid getting his/her first instrument and watching them have fun and turn into a pint-sized musician!!! It's VERY rewarding to say the least! Good luck! 8)
i do trumpet 'calisthenics' before school. playing demos for beginners is good, too....as is duets w/advanced players.
playing along w/a-sax players on my C helped me do Eb transposition better.
Mezzo Piano User
My story is not as positive. I recently resigned from a High School teaching gig after 8 years. During that time the porgram had to be built back, due to some bad decisions by the former director. The kids where great and I loved the job because of them. Unfortunatley the time it took to build back the program, with no support at all from the county administration, really cut into my life dramatically. I was at school from 7am-9pm most nights, but I didnt mind since my kids where learning and growing.
It should be understood that the area I was living at the time was not a reall "gigin hotspot". So the horn went in my office and came out sometimes to play along with students. Long story short, 8 years and not much playing. But i had a hell of a band program.
Recently i have been on a little bit of a come back. Im playing more and starting to feel better about playing. The good out of all this is I became a pretty good conductor, which has led to some possible military officer oppurtunities.
I made the decision to sacrifice playing for my kids. I dont regret it, just wish I would have found ways to do both. I cant say I am sorry I was a teacher. You will have kids you just cant forget, and kids you wish you could. I would only advise you to find a supportive community, consider Elmentary or Middle School instead of High School, work near a place with gigis available, and dont put the horn in a case.
I wish you luck in teaching.
i think that every music teacher should do something to grow musically once they are out on the job. To many directors dont play or even go to concerts for that matter once they are out of school. How can we expect kids to love music when we dont?
practicing at school is a good way to keep the chops up but you have to make sure that you dont fall behind on things you need to do for the job. I normally get 40 mins before school 30 mins for lunch and 1 hour of planning that i use for practice. I will then practice another session or two once i get home. one thing i can tell you is that my Home room class is VERY tired of flow studies! I get more practice now then i ever did in college. then i was in ever ensemble around and gigging all the time, i was lucky if i got in 2 hours a day, now i get in 3 to 4.
The best way to make sure that you stay on top of things is to keep taking lessons from someone, that will make sure that you keep growing on the horn and keep at it.
I dfeinately like and agree with everyhting said. My biggest thing is the students need to see their teacher practice an advance on their instrument also. I think students need to see their teacher even struggle a bit on their instrument but also see how they overcome it. I think one of the other big problems is students hear all these awesome players but don't see how they got there by all their hard work and also trial and error with learnign the instrument. They just see the greatness, so when they don't play perfectly they get frustrated and want to give up. If they could see their director having some problems and then over coming them it would be some good inspiration. Plus as said before, if you are not continually practicing to be a musician how can you teach someone else to be a musician and why should they even listen to you anyways because you are certainly not showing you care for music by not having anyhting to do with your instrument. Hope this makes sense:) Happy Playing!!
Mezzo Piano User
I would play along with my students every chance I got. I agree 100% that they should see their teacher as a musician. I also would invite them to gigs I was playing and have them practice along with me if they where in the room waiting on mom and dad to pick them up. This helps you build a better relationship with the students.
I would also have buddies come in a play along from some of the military bands and orchestras. I was lucky to have made such good friends before I started teaching. When guys where in town for concerts they would stop by the bandroom and sit in. I had everyone from the tuba with the National Symphony to Doc Severenson stop by. I feel my kids got some great experiences.
I admire anyone going into teaching at this time, it is very tough and very unappreciated. The select few who do it well should be commended.
I too am a middle school director. I never went to the high school because it would have cut into my playing. I am proud to say that not only have I continued to play, but also I have continued to grow musically every year. You are never too old to get better.
I have a quote from John Haynie at the bottom of my post. That same quote is framed in my office. It is a constant reminder to me to live the "do as I do, not as I say" when around my students. I still find time to practice EVERYDAY. I also play every hour of the day with my students demonstrating proper tone, technique, and intonation.
Since 1976 I have played everything from Broadway road shows, symphony work, 20+ years in an 8-piece combo, 11-years in a big band, several years on with a rodeo (a very tough gig), and of course my favorite work - playing in the House of God!
I'm getting older now, and not in great health, but I still find that my love of my trumpet has never diminished in any way. At age 47, and post heart attack and 4 surgeries, this year I bought a new Harrelson C and a Kanstul 1525 flugelhorn. I have no intention of EVER giving up my horn until they put me in the box and plant me in the ground!
By the way, to this day I still perform at least one number on every concert my band gives. The parents of my students look forward to my musical addition to the concerts, and they appreciate that I demonstrate to the children what I would like them to accomplish. The tunes I have played on band concerts have ranged from jazz arrangements of show tunes to the Handel and Hummel Concertos. This year I will be playing a beautiful original tune I wrote for the Christmas season. My wife (who has a degree in piano performance) and our Parish Priest (who is a magnificent musician) will be singing and playing and singing with me.
Good luck with your music career, and NEVER set that horn down.
"To be a teacher you need to be as good a performer as you can be: you'll have more to impart to your students musically." - John Haynie
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