What Makes a Great Private Brass Instructor?


Brass Teacher RoundA great band director is the start to a great music education. However every great band director knows a great private teacher will lead their students to the next level. These private teachers are carefully chosen by band directors because they can mold the future success of each of their students and encourage the growth of their band programs. 


So what is a band director looking for in a great private teacher? Who will they trust with their students? These "job descriptions" were collected from some dedicated band directors in our Denis Wick Tips Blog community. Find what they look for in a great private teacher for their students.


Knowing the student, instilling good practice policy. Being patient, understanding and evaluation of student’s capabilities.

A great private teacher is one that, on top of being musically knowledgeable, a strong sense of humor is key to the success of the student.

Getting the students involved with the choice of material they are working on while still having a focus on fundamentals. Also not using a cookie cutter method. Every student is different and should be treated that way. Everyone learns and progresses at different levels. Also realizing what the student’s goals are with lessons and band.

Honest interest, praise, and patience in student's goals. Strong basics must be learned every day. Learn how to blow in a steady relaxed manner. Everyone is different yet you must demonstrate what you consider a good sound with the least effort. Teach how to stay in good physical and mental shape. Lots of duets and playing along with plenty of breaks. Know when to rest.

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Good technique, great ability to describe feel/sound and good ears to accurately adjust intonation issues

Trombone player (1)Engaging Interested in students (always looking for best musical outcomes) Communicative Knowledgeable - depth/range Ideally expert performer or experienced. In touch with current pedagogy

A great private teacher is patient enough to accept a student's current skills no matter what they may be and move the skills forward, but is tough enough not to accept sloppy play nor laziness from that same student. (S)he must have the wisdom to know the difference!

Scales fluency, articulation, phrasing, tone quality, and a life-long love and enthusiasm for musicianship.

Understanding the limits of the student’s ability and being able to maximize the student’s ability for their performance goals. Being able to help them to understand what they need to do in order to achieve those goals and making music fun for them.

A great private teacher is someone who can meet the student where they are at - musically, and emotionally. They need to set the expectation and not let up, as well as guiding the student step-by-step and doing everything in their power to reach their goals. Additionally, the teacher must be someone of great character who can be an ear to listen or the voice of reason in times of turmoil for the student. A teacher has many 'hats' to wear, and musical pedagogue is only one.

Must have taught for a reasonable time. Needs to have a plan/ system to evaluate the student’s current level. Develop a plan for the student for the next 6 months and discuss and agree this with the student… Be available within reason to answer student’s questions while not together. Evaluate and advise the students as to their progress vs plan.

Skilled musician and effective instructor. Reliable and consistent in meeting student’s expectations.

eUPH INSPIREIndividualized approach to each student with emphasis on their specific learning strengths and needs, in-depth knowledge of pedagogy AND equipment, well-connected/active in local performer community.

Great private teachers reinforce what students learn in the classroom then introduce and challenge students to go beyond those concepts, all the while providing a sincere interest in each student’s musical progress and performance. Private teachers should identify instrument specific problems students are having difficulty learning, providing solutions and guidance to improve, and communicate with primary teachers about those issues. Students should feel confident in their tutors, willing to ask questions of them and seek encouragement from them.

Understanding, encouraging, setting goals, not pushing too fast.

Setting goals having a lesson plan when they start the lesson. All teachers who are good shouldn’t have to pry information out of them. Hope this helps - I have a teacher now and this is what I see from time to time!




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