Daniel Louis Duncan, Trumpet

Daniel Louis Duncan, Trumpet

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that the trumpet holds a unique set of challenges. Teaching a student that deep inhalation is the most important setup for a good beginning and mastering an understanding of tongue position, aids in over coming these challenges. The art of diligent work on process, integrated with a Zen philosophy of letting go empowers my students to optimize their abilities. My teaching is designed to teach students how the mechanics of air flow and tongue position work together. Once understood and practiced with set drills, I implement a psychological method of re-training subconscious cues that are detrimental to what actually needs to happen to produce optimum ease of play. For example, the "sense of sight" will lead the player to assume low notes require blowing down with less air, thus creating instability and tightness in the back of the throat, when in reality it is quite the opposite. Blowing up lowers the middle of the tongue which places the tongue more appropriately, with relaxation, than just using an "ah" syllable which is a much used approach. This enables more open relaxed air flow. The next equally important element is the loss of air flow after a note is produced, which allows the tip of the tongue to move back too much causing air flow instability. By teaching students how things work, empowering them with methods to self correct, and instilling an understanding of consistent long term commitment; self reliance and self confidence soars then their ability to relax (Zen) manifests. All of this process orientation occupies the subconscious mind replacing much of the performance anxiety that occurs when the mind focuses on fear. Once the basics are in place I continue to build confidence and security in the students by tackling the literature and pushing performance opportunities. There is no greater feeling than seeing students sound and feel better than they ever imagined possible. Giving them the tools to be great music communicators in any style they have to present, this is the true reward of teaching.