How Long Have You Been Teaching Trumpet?

I've been teaching trumpet since I was a sophomore in high school, or about 15 years. In high school I was teaching my two younger sisters who also played trumpet, and elementary and middle school students in my hometown of Plainfield, Illinois. It was about a year into teaching that I learned how important teaching was, and how much joy I got out of helping others improve. 


WHat should I be looking for when searching for a private trumpet instructor?

One challenging part of becoming a musician is learning how to find a quality instructor with experience. I have lived in many different places, and been to many different music stores or "music lesson schools." One thing that I see 9 out of 10 times is the person teaching trumpet at these places also teaches trombone, french horn, flute, clarinet, guitar and tambourine. I believe many parents are misled by this thinking that teacher is extremely qualified because they do so many different things. However, that teacher actually knows very little about each of those instruments. Though one of those instruments are their specialty, the rest are instruments they know very little about. This lack of knowledge could make learning the instrument very frustrating down the road if the instructor did not set them up correctly. Here are a few things you should ask when looking for a teacher...

1. Do you have a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate in Music?
          -Is it a degree in the instrument you want lessons on, or something else?

2. Are you currently active in the music community?
          -Do they play with a symphony orchestra, band, ensemble currently?


Do you still take trumpet lessons?

Though we usually don't call them trumpet lessons, I do have a number of trumpet mentors that I play for and talk to. My mentors are people playing with some of the worlds greatest symphonies and concert bands in Arizona and in the world. I think it's essential to have these people in my life as they continue to help me grow, which in return continues to make me a better private instructor for my students. 


Where do you teach lessons?

I primarily teach at my location in northern Phoenix, Arizona. I also am willing to travel to your home to teach for an additional fee (fee is dependent on the time/distance it takes to get there). I currently travel to students in Glendale, AZ, Peoria, AZ, Buckeye, AZ, Verrado, AZ and Phoenix, AZ. 


How much should I expect to pay for private trumpet instruction?

This is a very good question, and one to be well educated in when looking for trumpet lessons. The prices range anywhere from about $25 - 75 per hour. For a young/amateur student, or teacher without a college degree in your instrument you could expect to pay about $30 an hour. However, for a professional teacher of your instrument you should expect to spend between $40-75 an hour. When I take lessons from professionals around the world I pay anywhere from $80 - 250 per lesson. 


This answer varies on the type of student. For my beginners, I believe we need to meet once every week for about thirty minutes. For my advanced or intermediate students I believe we should meet once every one to two weeks for an hour. 

With some students schedules, and financial abilities it's sometimes necessary we meet on a less than weekly basis, which is fine. However, in my experience the students I see on a regular basis are the ones that improve the most in a shorter period of time. 

how often and how long should students be taking lessons?


How do I look for a new trumpet?

Getting a trumpet upgrade is extremely exciting. It can also be a very confusing time as well. The first thing I would do would be to go to the biggest music store you can find in your area that has the biggest selection of trumpets in stock for you to try. If you are here in Arizona, it is Milano's Music in Mesa, AZ. Give the store a call ahead of time so they can possibly reserve you a room to try them in, bring your mouthpiece, and maybe a pad of paper to help keep track of all your observations. Narrow it down to one or two. Maybe take a break, and come back for a second test. 

Then when you have decided which makes/models you are interested in, I would recommend contacting a professional trumpet player. They can help guide you in your choice making, and also help you find the very best trumpet of that make/model. They may even be able to get you a better price for it as well. Trumpets are still often handmade, which means they can vary quite a bit in quality. When I purchase a Bach trumpet I typically go through 5 of that same make/model before I find the one that is best. Strangely enough, each of those five I try has it's own unique characteristics. 

My favorite trumpet manufacturer is Bach, however many professionals use Yamaha as well. There are many other great quality brands, but as far as what most professional trumpet players are playing, they are playing those two brands.