Dan Young Music
Not many teachers can say that they are an active teacher and performer; fewer of those can say that they maintain their own private studio at the end of their public school day. That being said, I think what really separates me as a teacher is not my many hours of teaching, but rather my dedication to my students. I teach outside of my public school job because I feel that music can be a powerful and underrepresented force in a student's public school education. I strive to help students realize musical concepts in ways that inform both their musicianship, and their concept of learning.
My favorite part about teaching music is building relationships with the people I teach that center around a love and appreciation for music. I love having the opportunity to inspire a passion for music in my students, and encouraging young musicians to advocate for their musical selves.
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
Assessment is the first step in any teaching situation for me. I need to know what my students know, and what they want to know to inform my approach. When assessing, I look for where the student is in terms of instrument proficiency, content knowledge, reading skills, natural aptitude, preferred learning styles, etc....Then I tailor that to helping them develop a sustainable practicing routine.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I completed the 5-year Music Education/Jazz Concentration degree at Temple University which includes intensive study of instrumental performance, teaching pedagogy, composition, music theory, etc. in both the classical and jazz idioms. As a saxophonist and doubler, I studied for 2 years with Frank Mazzeo (the lead reed player at the Walnut St. Theatre) and for 2 years with Dick Oatts (the lead alto player for the Village Vanguard Orchestra). I also had the distinct pleasure of studying advanced music theory concepts and composition with the great Greg Kettinger (local first call guitarist, pianist, bassist in Philadelphia). Outside of studying with these great teachers, I also studied improvisation with Ben Schachter, Mike Frank, Dan Monaghen, Elio Villafranca, Gary Smulyon and Tim Warfield.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
I encourage any student who is concerned about the price of a lesson to contact me about an initial lesson at a reduced rate. This allows me to inform the student on how I think I can help them best, how long I think their lessons should be, and what options I can make available to them if cost is prohibitive. That being said, I typically charge a pro-rated $60/hr for lessons in my studio, and more for lessons that I travel to.
How did you get started teaching?
I started teaching to help my divorced mom pay bills when I was in high school, and to begin preparing for college. I managed a studio of 10 students for nearly 3 years in Massachusetts, while attending school at Temple University in Philadelphia. It was then that I realized I have a complete and enveloping passion for music education.
What types of students have you worked with?
I have worked with students age 7-50 from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. I have worked with affluent and impoverished students, students with special needs, English Language Learners, beginners, high schoolers with music profession plans, and students with degrees in saxophone performance from major conservatories. Recently, I started working at Abington School District as one of their music teachers where I teach over 300 kids ranging from grades 2-9.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
I have a student that I have been working with for about a year now who came up to me and shared that she absolutely loves playing the saxophone. For a 5th grader, I find the notion of loving playing an instrument to be a pretty exciting thing. She practices nearly every day, and helps to enlighten me as to what some 5th graders can accomplish if we work together to set them up for success.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
I advise all of my students to look for teachers who are active performers and teachers who love their jobs. It is hard to recommend a fellow teacher who has deficiencies in their musicianship or pedagogy, because I think for private lessons, those things go hand-in-hand. I also find it hard to recommend people for lessons who are just punching the clock to make some bread. Don't get me wrong, there are some excellent music teachers that I have gotten to know, and who I strongly recommend. Certainly some of my private teachers have been the greatest musicians, teachers, and people that I know.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
I wish there were more sources available to educate students on the dangers of studying with professionals who are unqualified to teach. There are many professional musicians out there, but few have a background in education, and I think education training or equivalent experience is a key component of a successful teacher. I also wish more students came to me with an idea of what they hoped to learn on their instrument. Who do you want to sound like? What types of music do you listen to? Why do you enjoy playing this instrument as opposed to another? These are all common questions that I will ask prospective students.