Here is my introduction to lessons document for new trombone students, intended both for them and for parents who may not know much about musical training:
My approach to teaching private lessons covers a wide range of topics. Music is a doorway to many different disciplines besides literal performance, and I think it’s important to show students how deep the rabbit holes extend, metaphorically speaking. Inspiring people can’t involve just showing what they’re already capable of grasping, but shining spotlights on deep ideas that expand on our understanding of our universe. Relevant topics include:
– Classical coaching; helping students understand how to effectively practice and be aware of what they’re doing.
– Understand perception and our relationship to music; how the ear is imperfect; how microphones, speakers, and the process of delivering music (even live music) alters it.
– Lots and lots of deep listening to great music, both live and recorded; emphasis on exposure to many different genres and approaches. Seeing what is possible.
– Understanding correct mechanics of physically handling their instrument.
– Awareness of history; knowing where music comes from and where it might go in the future. Not just literally who played what, but cultural contexts; changes in technology; how music in different realms is related.
– Mathematics in music.
– Strong encouragement to participate in lots of kinds of musical ensembles. Music is a community activity and is best experienced with others.