It is my goal as a teacher to help each individual student achieve his/her fullest potential; both creatively in a musical sense and technically on his/her instrument. I have worked with students of all ages and abilities, and believe firmly that the best way to teach is to guide each student to realize his/her own personal goals. While becoming a good player/musician takes a great amount of very hard work, I believe that first and foremost, it should be enjoyable. Music is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and it is my goal to help bring its joys to as many people as I can.
In teaching horn technique, I place the highest emphasis on breathing, and along with it, relaxation. If the breathing apparatus is not moving freely and working correctly, the air stream will not flow properly into the instrument, and all of the other aspects of the player’s technique, no matter how highly developed they may be, will not function properly. Another concept of utmost importance is the idea of “connection between notes.” Basically, this means keeping the air stream moving between the notes, and this concept is an aid not only to maintaining a full and steady air stream, but also to the student’s technique, and general musicality. Concentrating on the flow of the air helps the student to keep his/her mind on the phrasing of the musical line and not so much on specific technical problems that can interfere with the music and worry or frustrate the student. Also of great importance is helping the student to establish a daily warm-up routine which covers the full range of the instrument and incorporates all of the basic concepts needed to play the horn. Establishing and maintaining this daily routine is very important to keep the embouchre in top condition at all times.
I always try to insure that my students become well-rounded musicians. I like to guide the student to use his/her own feelings while playing, to be creative, and to listen to as much music as possible, not only the horn repertoire. I try to make sure that my students have adequate ear-training skills, as well as a firm grasp of the basics of music theory and history, as these things are so important to developing a good sense of both intonation and musical style. Students should be scholars of their instruments, not just performers.
I also like my students to know that I am available and willing to help them outside of the regular lesson time – their contact with me need not be limited to one hour per week. I always encourage them to work with and play for each other, to get involved in chamber music, and to take advantage of any other ensemble opportunities, as these things help them to be better players and musicians, besides being very enjoyable. All of this creates an environment of positive reinforcement around the students, which is one of the teacher’s most important tasks in helping the students to achieve their goals.
The ultimate goal of a teacher is to help students to self-reliance. They can find everything within them needed to make great music; the teacher guides this search.