Good Students Make Good Teachers


When choosing a school for advanced study one element that students consider is that of finding a teacher that will help prepare them to win a job. I know I try to do my best in regard to this with every student, and I feel confident that I have students in the ASU studio now that will make a mark in the horn world. They are working on the right things and will take their playing up to a high level.

I studied with a variety of teachers, in fact had lessons with over a dozen teachers over the years. And I have taught students that have worked with many other teachers. One fact that is rarely publically addressed in relation to this topic is that not all famous/successful horn teachers are actually good teachers. I am not going to name names but the fact is I am convinced that there are very famous teachers that can’t teach, communicate their ideas poorly, grandstand excessively, or more or less only coach students, seeming to be more concerned with building up their own careers than those of their students. Big personal problems of various types are often a part of the mix, relationship issues, chemical dependencies, etc. There are teachers out there that I don’t believe would have had the success their record shows without having had a number of very talented and motivated students basically stumble into their studios that needed at that point in time very little actual teaching–students that would have won jobs having studied with virtually anyone.

That all said I have met people that did not like their studies with several teachers that I consider to have been among the best teachers I ever encountered in my studies. Why? The fact is that different people will mesh with different teachers. And some will only be happy if they study with a “famous” teacher. That is just the way it is.

Again, I don’t want to name names here but just offer the gentle advice to not be overly impressed with the statistics that are trotted out. They can mean something but may mean little more than they (or the institutions they teach at) have been able to maintain a selective program with good students. Sure, a string of successes is a good thing but it really does not mean that any given teacher would be a good teacher for you.

University of Horn Matters