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Trumpet Professor

Although there can sometimes be many answers to a question, The Trumpet Professor tries to answer questions about trumpet playing- from the most basic to the most complex.

Question: I’m having some difficulty keeping my young, private trumpet students engaged. I’m wondering if you having any suggestions or tricks that can help me out.
Experienced trumpet teacher, Nashville

Trumpet Professor: Not knowing what you may have already tried with your students, I’ll make a few suggestions based on what I’ve found to be successful motivators:

1. Avoid using the student’s school music as lesson material – The exception being if the student needs help with difficult school music. Often students become bored playing their school music over and over again, your lesson should counterbalance that with some newness. Try to assign new materials every week – New music should be progressive and continue to deal with the student’s development in a linear fashion. While the assignment should be challenging, the student should, generally speaking, be able to learn the new material in a week’s time. There is also nothing wrong with a student working out of more than one book at a time. This strategy also requires the teacher to be familiar with materials appropriate for different levels of study.

2. Include duets in each lesson – Play with, and for, your students, but be aware of playing too much. Let your students perform for you. If the student is advanced enough, have them learn a solo with a play-along CD.

3. Use practice logs – Having students keep a practice log each week can be very helpful. This helps remind them of their practice commitment and helps them organize their practice time. If needed, have a parent sign it every week. Finally, I encourage you to stay fresh and engaged in what you do: search out new materials, play more gigs, get creative, and think outside the box. Good luck.

 

Question: I was very late for a very important professional concert. The contractor is very upset and has cut me loose. What do I do now?
Young pro. New York City

Trumpet Professor: Oops! Well, you’re in a very difficult situation! You can bet that the contractor has taken a lot of heat from the conductor, so not only is the contractor upset, but also your professional reputation may have suffered. The #1 rule in the business is dependability. Ok, so where do you go from here? I would suggest writing the contractor a note of apology. Remember, mention that you take full responsibility for arriving late, and apologize for letting him/her down as well as the members of the orchestra, the promoters, and the audience. You can’t make up for the past but you can learn from it. Moving forward, make it a personal rule to arrive 30 minutes early for EVERY rehearsal or performance. Over time, people will see that you are a dependable and professional member of the musical community.

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