Trumpeter Brandon Choi, International Trumpet Guild Jazz 2019 winner, World Trumpet Society Jazz 2021 winner, Caruso 2021 finalist, BM in Jazz and Contemporary Media (trumpet) from the Eastman School of Music, and MM from Manhattan 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 is an avid performer in the New York City music scene, where he enjoys a burgeoning career as one of NYC's top young players.
In July 2019, Brandon was awarded first place in the International Trumpet Guild's jazz improvisation competition. In 2021, Brandon won the World Trumpet Society jazz competition, and was a finalist in the Carmine Caruso Competition.
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 simply have a conversation. We discuss short term and long term goals, and go through an organic assessment of skills to gauge where our starting point is and where our journey might take us. Naturally, this differs with every student, and I ensure that I can meet the needs of each individual.
I hold a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music and a Masters of Music from Manhattan School of Music, the top schools of music (especially for music education) at the time of writing. I was fortunate to have won first place at the 2019 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation competition, first place in the 2021 World Trumpet Society jazz competition, and was a finalist in the prestigious 2021 Caruso Competition, empowering me with performance and competition knowledge to provide a musical education of the highest degree.
Whereas the average price of trumpet lessons is $72/hour, I charge the average rate of $60/hour for Zoom lessons and lessons in my home studio, and $65/hour if you prefer that I travel within 10 miles to you for lessons, or $75/hour if I have to travel over 10 miles and within 50 miles. If I have to cover any greater distance, it's probably best that we use Zoom.
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. I have worked with these students in both school and classroom settings, as well as private lesson settings. 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 musical sound.
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 general idea of what their goals are. It's always good, even after many years, to ask the following questions:
Firstly, WHY do you play music?
What are you good at? What things can we accentuate in you playing?
What are you bad at? What things can we work on together?
What do you want to sound like? All adjectives are fair game here.
What DON'T you want to sound like?
What are your short term, medium term, and long term goals?