Frequently Asked Questions
What should I be looking for in a private trumpet instructor?
There are many things to consider when finding an instructor. Over all it is up to you to decide how much or little each of these factors matter to you. Teaching style: Do you or your child thrive with positive reinforcement or need something more strict? Do you like a teacher who is more light-hearted or serious? Do you do best with clear goals or do you like to keep things more open-ended? Whatever your preference, the teacher should be flexible enough to meet your needs. Budget: Consider how often you would like to take lessons. Be that once a week, every other week, or on an as needed basis. Also think about if you would prefer 30 minute or 1 hour lessons. Qualifications: Does the instructor have a degree in music? If so, is it in the instrument you want lessons on or something else? Many times when visiting a music shop, you will see many instructors who can play a wide variety of instruments. It can be easy to believe that if a person can play many instruments they are extremely qualified. However, most people have one instrument they specialize in and have gaps in knowledge about the others. Distance: How far are you willing to drive to see highly qualified private instructor? Or do you want an instructor who does house visits (at possibly an extra cost)? Community Involvement: Do they actively play around town such as in symphonies, orchestras, bands, or do freelance work?
Do you still take private lessons?
I no longer take lessons on a regular basis. However, I have a circle of mentors and colleagues I play and talk to when I am in need of advice. Having these people I can trust helps me continue to grow, and in turn makes me a better instructor for my students.
How often should a student take lessons?
This typically varies by student and their needs. I recommend for my young beginners to take 30 minute lessons once a week. For older students, 1 hour lessons once a week to every other week works well.
In my experience however, the students that meet on a more regular basis are the ones that improve in a shorter amount of time.
How do I look for a new trumpet?
Buying a trumpet is an exciting time, but can also be quite overwhelming. Firstly, I recommend avoiding stores that don't specialize in music (e.g. Amazon, Walmart, etc.). Find a reputable local music store that has a lot of the instrument you want to buy in stock. They will usually let you use a private room to try them. Try to narrow your choices down and take note of the make/models. Write what you liked/disliked about each one. You may need to take a day or two to think about it and possibly come in for a second test run. At this point, bring in your private instructor or a professional. They can help you listen for the nuances of each instrument. My favorite brands are Bach and Yamaha. Most professionals play on these as well, but there are many other manufactures that would make for good alternatives. If you are not ready to invest in a trumpet outright, rent one through your local music store! Most provide a "rent-to-own" program that puts your monthly fee towards store credit to purchase a trumpet. Looking for used trumpets online is an option as well. However, it is best to consult a professional right away to look out for scams or poor quality instruments.