The weekly lesson is a "pit stop" along the road of improvement. It's where you check the following things:
Alignment and Efficiency.
Interpretation and Delivery.
My job is to guide you as you improve. When I become the motivating force, studying the instrument becomes an obstacle to joy, rather than a vehicle for joy. Always remember that we are playing an instrument! Let's take these one by one, shall we?
Alignment and Efficiency
In the hustle and bustle of weekly preparation, we often don't have a great music stand, so we hunch over. Some weeks, we get lazy with the slide grip, or a strange horn angle is adopted, which affect everything from the embouchure to breathing to reaching seventh position. Without regular check-ins with your teacher, these quirks become habits, which impede your progress, usually by making you work harder than you need to in order to execute passages easily. Here, we check in with technique, which is most directly monitored through study of scales, arpeggios, and other fundamentals.
Interpretation and Delivery
I have been playing the trombone and making music for a long time....possibly longer than you have been alive. Consequently, I have strong opinions about how most music should be played. However, I am NOT interested in making robots! I want you to have an opinion, and if we are in opposition, I look forward to intelligent conversation on the subject. Who knows...I might learn something from you! Also, a particularly awkward passage may come across to the listener as less than confident, and I need to be ready to help you make sense of it, so that you can come across to your audience as cool, calm, collected and confident.
The aim of college is to prepare you for the marketplace. I don't expect a collared shirt and tie at lessons, but I expect a few things. As "intern" musicians, I believe that you must:
- Be early. It is the only way to be on time and maintain a calm demeanor.
- Be prepared. It really doesn't matter if you are here on time if you aren't warmed up and ready to play. Check your problems at the door so we can roll up our sleeves and get to the task at hand!
- Be honest. Please don't try to pull the wool over my eyes with a story about why you aren't prepared. When you are out working, excuses won't matter. Putting the right note at the right time with a beautiful sound is all that matters.
- At my door at the appointed hour, not beating my door down 10 minutes before their lesson begins.
- Warmed up and ready to play. (Use the 10 minutes before your lesson starts to get the instrument warm again...your chops should be limber from your daily routine.)
- Has all required paperwork (practice logs, assignment sheets, lesson binder).
- Has all assignments prepared thoroughly.
- Has thoughtful questions prepared for me based on the week of preparation just completed.
Dont' shoot for a B, C, D, or F. Striving for an "A" lesson should be your only concern! Every student is capable of an "A" lesson each week!!!