Friday, November 24, 2006

Unsung Heroes

A few random thoughts weave themselves into a thought...

My previous anticipation of teaching a complete beginner twice a week.
My upcoming spring semester edition of secondary trombone class (where I teach budding band directors how to play the trombone).
Briefly bumping into one of my student's students in the lobby of the music school.

The thought: Who are the top teachers for beginners?

Do we assume that the top-flight teachers in the country would be the best choice? How recently has Joe Alessi worked with a total beginner?

We all rightfully admire top teachers of advanced students but I believe teaching (and motivating) beginners is an important art. Excellent teachers of beginners are like the unsung heroes of our trombone world.

After all,if you can get them off on the right foot and instill those good habits before the bad ones take hold, you have saved these young trombonists a world of suffering.

These "heroes" labor away in back rooms of music stores, middle and high school band rooms and in student's homes. My hat goes off to them.

My first teacher was a man who drove from house to house in a VW packed with instruments. I only knew him as Mr, Paul (Paul, I believe, was his last name). He taught my friend his trumpet lesson and then came to our house to set me straight on the trombone. He wasn't young then and I doubt he's still around. As far as I can tell, he set me on a pretty good path.

Thank you, Mr Paul.