All students can learn and outperform what they originally think themselves capable of doing. It is only a matter of time and effort when students meet the “Aha! I can do anything!” moment. That moment is pivotal as it is when that belief is ingrained in them internally and backed up by experience. There is no stopping them, and their growth becomes more rapid, extensive, meaningful, confidence-boosting, and genuine. Afterwards, they repeat that moment time and time again, only to reinforce its validity. This is also one of the most rewarding and life-changing moments a teacher and student can experience.
As a teacher, my goal is to direct each student to meet that “Aha!” moment and many to follow by guiding them to independently lead themselves to meeting goals and experiencing genuine accomplishments that point to that moment. Each student is unique and learns differently; therefore no one method or technique leads all students to success. Because of that, I believe in personalizing teaching methods, goals, and criteria for success for each student to help inspire all of them to perform their very best and reach what they and I determine together to be what success looks like.
I also am convinced that the most inspirational and motivational teachers are those who constantly want to learn and grow themselves and find excitement in new things. That excitement is contagious, and students cannot help but to grab a hold of that enthusiasm. I search for and collect viable and useful pedagogical tools to continually improve as a teacher. As a teacher of several years in private studios and a few years in public schools, I am positive this philosophy applies in Princeton and Trenton for any trumpet student.
Story behind philosophy
As a beginning trumpet player at 10, when I was forced to listen to recordings of professional trumpet players, my mind wandered and I wanted the recordings to end quickly because everything on them was far beyond anything I could aspire to be capable of playing. After a while taking private trumpet lessons, and learning tools and tricks of the trade along the way, at age 14 there was a moment when listening to another professional recording of trumpet players where I realized that I could actually play all the pieces on that recording. The most technical piece was one in a method book I had, and I knew I had the tools to even work that one up. It was an “Aha! I can do anything!” moment. I then looked for more professional trumpet player recordings, and I kept saying to myself, “I can do all of these pieces too!” Within a short span of time, I kept finding those statements to be true. I performed my first solo, Carnival of Venice by H. L. Clarke, within months, and I hungered for more challenging and interesting pieces to learn from that point forward. There truly was nothing stopping me from moving forward. If I heard it done, I knew it was possible, and I had the tools to do it too. Obviously, guidance and feedback from others after this moment were still key to continuing to have those “Aha” moments to continue the momentum, but I went from being a stubborn student who could not imagine going far in music to becoming an enthusiastic listener who loved taking chances and working hard to meet challenges of any level. My musical appreciation and maturity blossomed and became a passion and a way of life. These are the rewards from being a musician that I love, and I cannot wait to inspire others to experience them as well.