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Brian Kay


Teaching Elementary School Aged Students

trombone lessons

"Tom absolutely loves his lessons. You make a great difference in his life."

- Dottie Whitlock, Parent of a Middle School Trombone Student (formerly an Elementary School Student!)

"I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate all your years of dedication as Dan's trombone teacher. You were his first teacher, and the development and opportunities he has had with your guidance have been immeasurable and beyond my highest expectations. I am so glad he stuck with it all these years (9 and still counting), and that we were lucky enough to have you there as his teacher, role model, and friend, watching him grow from beginner to advanced player. You have always been positive and encouraging and I truly feel this has nurtured his love of the trombone and his confidence as a player."

- Chris, Parent of an Elementary through High School Student, 1991-1998.

"We can't say enough how much we appreciate Brian being our son's trombone teacher. Although we live in Newburyport, MA, we find the 2 hour round trip completely worth the travel time to have our son study with Brian. He is not only a professional and talented performer himself but a teacher totally dedicated to the skill of teaching. Brian approaches teaching in the most positive way, successfully acknowledging both his student's strengths while setting personal and continuous goals for improvement. Our son looks forward to his lessons dearly and finds the personal attention and commitment of his teacher to him a support in all aspects of his life, with music being only one of them."

- Penny and Joshua, Parents of an Elementary student, 2005.


Instruments Taught

  • Trombone
  • Bass Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Euphonium (Baritone)
  • Trumpet
  • Horn

Teaching Philosophy

Kids deserve a teacher who makes the learning process exciting and enjoyable. Kids need a teacher who makes sure they develop habits that will serve them well as they progress on their instrument. Most important is that a young player experience a positive momentum, fueled by genuine improvement. An experienced teacher can nip bad habits in the bud very easily and effectively, and will lay the groundwork for continuing musical success. Learning an instrument is a serious endeavor, but there is plenty of room to have fun along the way!

Even in the first two years of instruction, kids are not too young to begin doing some jazz improvisation and playing by ear. I have developed the "Easiest Blues Play Along CD", which is now in use by other teachers as well, as an entry level vehicle for exploring blues improvisation. In addition to being an important skill, improvisation provides variety in the lesson, and is an excellent motivational boost for young students.

Three Foundational Skill and Habit Areas

Musicianship Diagnostic

I have developed a comprehensive set of assessment tools for use with new students. These checklists and graded playing and rhythm exercises allow me to efficiently and thoroughly identify a new student’s strengths and weaknesses in a manner that is enjoyable to the student.

Lesson Structure


Communication is the name of the game. If a private student doesn't understand what I have told them, then I need to explain it in a different way.

Some books that have been instrumental in developing my teaching style are:

  1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-70863-5.
  2. How to Get Your Child to Practice Without Resorting to Violence!!, Cynthia Richards. Advance Publications. Available from Ithaca Talent Education (800-338-7483).
  3. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele and Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Avon Books, 1999.
  4. What to Say to Get What You Want, Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-57712-7.
Numerous additional books on teaching are listed in the Instructor Resources section of this website.

Some of the key principles of communication from these books are:

  1. Put first things first.
  2. Expect the best.
  3. Seek to understand then be understood. Listen before talking, think before acting.
  4. Get to the point.
  5. Change what they do, not who they are.
  6. Model the behavior you desire.
  7. Adapt your approach to the person.
  8. Provide for dignity and self-respect.
  9. Appeal to self-interest using natural rewards.
  10. Rejoice at success.
  11. Feel your losses with remorse not guilt.
  12. Think win/win--synergize.
  13. Sharpen the saw--take time out to improve yourself and your teaching methods.
  14. Be positive and enthusiastic.
  15. Use tension dissolvers.


Here are some links to pages on this site that will help you get a good sense of what my teaching is like.

To schedule a lesson, or if you have other questions about my teaching, please feel free to email me.


Trombone Sheet Music

My Intermediate Methods