Teaching a masterclass at SMU

Teaching a masterclass at SMU

I have been teaching for over 11 years and I have a real passion for working with students who have the drive to improve and a love for music making!

In the Austin-area, I work primarily with high school and college students on honing new skill sets and building up fundamentals that were learned during students’ first few years on the trumpet.

I believe that studying an instrument, whether for enjoyment or for a career, is journey that helps a young musician develop life skills that go far beyond just making music. Studying an instrument in-depth helps to create a strong work ethic, greater discipline, allows for creative output, and helps to strengthen communication skills. For me personally, music has taken me places and allowed me to experience people and situations in ways that I don’t think any other careers or organizations can come close to. Ultimately, studying an instrument shapes a person into becoming their best self.

High School Students

Lessons for students in grades 9-12 focus on making sure that sound concept, first and foremost, is strong and beautiful - you can play the most difficult thing in the world, but if it doesn’t sound pleasing to the audience, no one will be interested!

In addition to making sure each student is getting constant reinforcement on sound, I really like to address all techniques:

  • Articulation

  • Flexibility

  • Scales/Arpeggios

    • My expectation is that within the first 1-2 years of study with me, all students know all 12 major scales/arpeggios and all corresponding minor scales. While not a glamorous aspect of music, mastery of scales make music making so much easier!

  • Range (both high AND low)

  • Intonation

  • Finger dexterity

  • Sightreading

  • Breathing (seems silly, but without good form, you will work MUCH harder than you need to)

  • Developing musical vocabulary and phrasing concepts

I don’t believe in the “one size fits all” approach to teaching. Each student I work with will have different directives and goals assigned by me that are determined between myself and the student within the first few lessons to best suit their needs and aspirations. I aim to make a student’s perceived “worst” abilities their best by the end of our time together.

As a note for those in Texas: Every year we work through the All-Region/All-State. I was, myself, a 3-year All-Stater and have had great success helping my students navigate the competition, placing many students in the All-State bands. The process can be grueling, mentally and physically, but having lived through it myself, I can effectively structure how to practice and prepare for those students whose goal it is to place among the best players in the state.

College Students

I love working with college students because I focus not only on musicality and technical aspects of the trumpet, but also on how to teach. Those students who are trying to make a living as a musician, regardless of whether the goal is to be a full time educator or a full time performer, all need to understand how to teach. It’s a very important aspect of our lives. Performers in particularly really need this exposure as maintaining private teaching students is often how we make much of our income! It is also very beneficial to our personal practicing - if you understand how to teach others, you should be a more efficient practicer.

At this point in a musician’s journey, I really like to push the limits of what the student can do while focusing concurrently on skills that are necessary for success as a performer in the professional music world. I go more in-depth with the techniques listed for high school students in addition to:

  • Transposition

  • Mastery on different trumpets

  • Orchestral/band excerpts

  • Extended techniques

  • Solo Repertoire selection/preparation

  • Etudes

    There are numerous etude books out there for our use. I believe that having exposure to as many different books and styles as possible really helps to create a well-rounded player. I spend a lot of time helping students to identify the purpose of each etude and how to quickly prepare and perform pieces from week to week.

  • Teaching

    Students will be assigned teaching etudes/solos that will be taught to me (and others - by video) so we can discuss the effectiveness of how they breakdown material and communicate ideas.

  • Listening assignments

    An important part of the learning process for any aspiring professional teachers and performers is immersion into the musical world (very similarly to learning and perfecting a new language). Being well-versed in various performance practice, soloistic stylings, and sound concepts help to shape the preference of the student to define who they want to be.