As a trumpet teacher, I strive to help my students love being musicians. Every student is unique and has something special to bring to the music world, even at a younger age. I teach private lessons and group lessons to students in high school, middle school, and elementary school, ranging from beginners to advanced students.
For a student’s success, it is important to me that they are curious about music and open to new ideas. I encourage my students to explore recordings of their favorite trumpet players, and also to listen to different instrumentalists and vocalists. It is also important that the student has a growth mindset and is ready to learn. Honesty and vulnerability during lessons is essential to growth, and will be met with support instead of judgment. Teachers can be known for being highly critical of their students’ work, but I think helpful critique can be received by the student when they are given the space to be fully themselves and fully respected. Most importantly, I help young trumpet players learn that it is good to have fun with music, and when you play music you love, you will want to practice more instead of forcing it. Some challenges of the teaching-learning process include students with low self-confidence, students who may not want to practice, and also myself not knowing what the student may be going through in their personal life. Therefore, I prepare my students to appreciate their gift of music-making and to grow within it because music can bring light and joy to any situation.
For private lessons, in order to measure student learning, I require my students to keep track of a practice journal and write down what they practice and what they hope to work on. This journal could also include names of other musicians they admire and the songs they are listening to at the moment. For my younger beginners, I am not looking for them to be practicing every single day, but I do want them to write at least once a week, and to start getting curious about trumpet and music in general. While looking at my students’ journals will definitely help me see their progress, it is mainly to help them discover their personal relationship with playing trumpet.
As an educator, I create a safe space for students to grow because it allows them to engage in a vulnerable space to learn the trumpet. I enjoy teaching young trumpeters the fundamentals of trumpet playing while focusing on creating a great sound. We talk about healthy posture, proper air flow, and I guide them towards making their own unique musical decisions. I encourage my students to learn the music that they enjoy listening to, and I show them recordings of diverse trumpet players throughout the world to help them learn about different trumpet sounds and career options in music. In these efforts, my students want to practice more when they like the music they are making, and their curiosity launches their lifelong journey in music.
Alongside learning music that the student enjoys listening to, I aim to promote diversity within the repertoire that we choose to learn by incorporating music by composers of different races, genders, and ethnicities. I believe it is important for young students to value music written by underrepresented groups because music embraces all. As musicians, the moment that we step on stage, we are representing humanity, and humanity includes everyone.
– Abby Temple