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Jason Pawlak

Me and my Internet

Husband, Dad, Navy Officer, Coder, and Tinkerer. I have many interests and am always looking to learn something new. This site is a launching point to the many areas of the Internet that represent me.

I’ll teach you to toot!

I started a new side job yesterday, teaching high school trumpet lessons!

I have two students from a smaller high school in Cincinnati that I will be teaching weekly from now until who knows. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard them play. Both are good players with (of course) areas that need attention.

I won’t narrate the lessons to you, because really… who would want to read that. But instead I would like to take this post and talk about teaching.

These are my first students and I quickly learned a few things through the course of the hour with two very different aspiring musicians. First off, they are eager, and that eagerness needs to be met with a confidence of what’s going on. When done with an exercise I need to be prepared to immediately start talking about what went well and what needs improvement. There isn’t anything much worse in a private music lesson than silence.

Another item I noticed (going along with always needing to have something to say) I must first analyze how I play the trumpet in order to teach them. We were working on the original attack of a note and the steps you take preceding the sound.

Step one, bring the trumpet to your lips
Step two, take controlled breath through the corners of your mouth
Step three, set your embouchure
Step four, release an intense stream of air to play the note

I always wondered how my past teachers always seemed to have methods that they followed religiously and knew forward and back. Well I believe this is how, just a simply teaching lessons. In my brain I know what to do, but to vocalize it to a student I need a complete thought and coherent sentences. Build up enough of these crazy methods and then you write a book!

Right now I have mixed emotions about how much playing I do during the lessons. One half of me sways toward my own learning curve where I learn best from modeling others. The other half of me thinks that vocal explanations from experience might be best. The best solution is probably a mix of the two. I will most likely play a bit during lessons though. The kids are young and imitation is much of the time the best course to learn a proper method.

That’s all for now, have a good Thursday!

  • Jason
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