Why Teach This?

You teach stuff I’ve never seen before. Why is that?

There are several reasons why I teach and tell more to my students than you’ve experienced before.

1. Most players were taught by either non trumpet playing H.S. Band Directors or by players that have limited experience. Since nobody can teach more than they know the pool of knowledge shrinks.

2. College education for trumpet performance is different than for teaching. Most college teachers prior to 10 years ago were general Music Ed majors or performance majors. General music may teach alot about the chant but it does not cover the trumpet well. As for performance majors they study the one embouchure they play . If they play well they never study playing problems and solutions, or other embouchures. After all the teacher assumes that if it is being played well then there is no reason to discuss embouchures or tonguing. ( Except to pass on teaching.)

3. Some people who really know can NOT teach at college. I know a great many famous trumpet teachers who don’t have DMA’s or Masters so we can NOT teach in college. Even Don Jacoby could NOT get a teaching job and he did try. We chose to study the trumpet and not art history, the use of the recorder in Europe or any of the other pertinent topics of study at colleges 20 years ago.
One of my college teachers was a trumpet player and for his PhD he studied and wrote about the natural trumpet in the 1700’s. Did this prepare him to teach current trumpet techniques or waste a year of his life. He was a very nice man but the college did not attempt to provide what he needed.

4. Those who have made it to the college level and deserve it don’t teach teachers. They teach performers and overall trumpet education still suffers because the information never filters down to the H.S. level.

5. Those of us who try to educate end up being flamed and called things that I won’t repeat here. It is not even possible to say a basic fact like the lips should be together, without being confronted.

6. To learn all about any one embouchure only requires the study of several books. But how many know which books. And some are even out of print. I decided about a year ago that I wanted to share my knowledge of the trumpet. I had already written my book and it was collecting dust on my bookcase. I wanted to teach like Arthur Ford and Don Jacoby did. Meaning that I wanted to teach what was useful and have the student make some improvement every lesson. That requires some rethinking of how things are taught. For example: I do embouchure changes in parts. This type of rethinking is why I talk about things like aperture shape, aperture control, moving corners…. Whereas others like Stevens or Farkas considered it very advanced. I feel that the sooner it is taught the better it can be used. Therefore I will openly discuss ideas that in the past were only taught to long time students of a master. I know of instances were things I’ve posted were taught to students of teachers like Gordon only after 4-5 years of study under him. You have to remember that trumpet playing was taught to these people that way. They may have put in years to get 1 pearl of wisdom. So they taught that way. I was lucky in that Arthur Ford (a student of H. L. Clarke) was very old and he wanted to share his knowledge before he died. ‘JAKE’ on the other hand was always only after results.


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