Date: Sun, 23 Nov 1997 08:49:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Teaching (long)

Based on two decades of teaching and performing, I offer the following on the teaching thread. (The readers may decide whether any factual basis exists for my conclusions or if they are relegated to the realm of opinion.)

I find that the approach a teacher should take varies with the student. That said, it is essential for any student to have a model of sound that is, at least in some respect, superior to his/her own. To that end, I play much for every student I teach. If the student has no sound ideal, or musical goal, s/he will wander around in vain attempting to "arrive." I find that I do my best teaching with trumpet in hand. (I might add that it is quite humbling at times as well. There are occasions [more than I'd like to admit] when, try As I might, I cannot effectively illustrate the concept I'm trying to convey.)

In addition, I find that some students respond to musical example with little explanation. However, many respond better to musical example and some explanation. If a student's playing problems derive from faulty mental constructs, those  constructs must be addressed in some way. Sometimes, sound alone can help. But sometimes, the student's presuppositions need to be addressed verbally.

Moreover, as I have contended previously, while there is no one correct way to play the trumpet, there certainly are ways that most respectable teachers and players consider wrong. Perhaps it is a weakness in my pedagogy, but I
have never been able to correct the thoroughly-developed bunched-chin embouchure, faulty hand position or inadequate breathing techniques through example alone. (And I have seen as many of them as any competent veteran

Yet, I have advised some students to address cert they leave, they have gained insight regarding what to do in given circumstances, and in how to apply both technical and musical problem-solving skills to the situations they will doubtlessly encounter.

I view successful teaching as a "both-and" rather than an "either-or." Some technical advice and fundamental instruction give students the necessary "tools in their toolboxes." The art of applying those tools toward refined and variegated musical craftsmanship requires a solid musical concept that can only be had through effective listening. To that end, teaching through playing can be highly effective.

My take on a complex issue,

Bryan Edgett