Trumpeter Brandon Choi, ITG Jazz 2019 winner and BM in Jazz and Contemporary Media (trumpet) from the Eastman School of Music, has been teaching classical and jazz trumpet, theory, improvisation, and composition lessons for over ten years. While others have been teaching for longer, Brandon differs in the amount of passion, effort, and care he puts into every lesson.
Brandon Choi comes from the Los Angeles area where he performed with Gordon Goodwin, Tom Kubis, and funk band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
He currently resides and performs avidly in western New York after having finished his degree at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with professors Clay Jenkins, Bill Dobbins, and Harold Danko; and has played with such luminary musicians as Joe Martin, Jim McNeely, and Bill Holman.
In July 2019, Brandon was awarded first place in the International Trumpet Guild's jazz improvisation competition.
Brandon is very grateful and excited for the opportunity to have music in his life.
In all forms, music is my biggest passion. Whether classical, jazz, improvised, composed, whatever, it holds immense meaning to me. In that, I try to be as informed and educated as possible about my passion, and the more I know, the more I know that I DON'T know, which I think is a great place to be. That means, that I can always learn more; that I am always a student of the music; that I can always delve deeper into this thing I love so much.
And perhaps the best thing is, by its very nature, I get to share this interest, this passion with others. Through performance, I get to share it with audience members. But, and perhaps more importantly, I get to share it with students through teaching. When I can see that I've ignited something similar to what I have for music, that might be the best feeling in the world.
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New students with me will go through an organic assessment of skills to gauge where our starting point is and where our future goals might be. The assessment will differ depending on the student and their goals with me.
I hold a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music, one of the top schools of music. In 2019, I won first place at the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation competition.
Whereas the average price of trumpet lessons is $72/hour, I charge the average rate of $55/hour for Skype lessons and lessons in my home studio, and $65/hour if you prefer that I travel within 50 miles to you for lessons, or $75/hour if I have to travel over 50 miles and within 100 miles. If I have to cover any greater distance, it's probably best that we use Skype.
I started teaching in high school once I developed a passion for music and sharing that passion with others. Of course, some of the avenues through which I could share this were through performance, but there was a definite discovery of a love of sharing this through teaching. I garnered a small private studio of my underclassmen in high school, and I continued to teach through my education at Eastman and have been growing ever since.
I have worked with complete beginners all the way through advanced students verging on professional. All are a pleasure to teach.
It's always an amazing experience to get students to experience the "a-ha!" moment. There have been many fond memories of breakthroughs throughout the years, but one that stands out in particular is the most recent. A member of my private studio had a lesson with me where we were working on our major scales. The student found the scales boring, because to him, they are just an exercise. In reality, they are the simplest complete expression of a sonority, but he didn't quite realize this. That is, they didn't realize, until everything clicked into place when I told them to think of the scale like a simple melody. Then, out came the most beautiful scale I'd heard from them. We had had a game-changing "a-ha!" moment! Their scales never sounded the same after that, always musical, always beautiful, a simple expression of music!
If a teacher, especially a trumpet teacher, tells you that their way is the only way, it's best to treat what they say with a fair amount of skepticism! There is always a best way for YOU that the teacher has to work to discover with YOU. It could be that their way works for you, but everyone is different, and it's important to know this.
Students should have a clear idea of what their goals are. Goal-oriented questions are key before coming to a teacher.
Firstly, WHY do they play music?
What are they good at? What things can we accentuate in their playing?
What are they bad at? What things can we work on together?
What do they want to sound like?
What DON'T they want to sound like?
What are their short term, medium term, and long term goals?