My Music and Teaching Philosophy
Music builds our souls, a spiritual savings account. Music is “good” for everybody … even just a little bit. As a trumpet teacher, I work to inspire, to raise sound awareness, to nurture. I began trumpet in grade school and played through college when the Viet Nam War led me into medical school. Please read attached story about my return to trumpet after 35 years. I became a “come back” player, returning to music after a long hiatus.
I then spent several years studying with superb and well-respected teachers; the best: Jan MacDonald of Santa Fe, New Mexico, David Adams and Brian McWhorter at University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon; then Stephen Dunn, at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. I have worked with Gerald Webster on piccolo trumpet, David Hickman at Arizona State University, Jerome Callet on Long Island, Fred Mills, in Athens, GA, Edward Tarr in Germany on baroque trumpet, and Barry Bauguess in North Carolina … and others, performers, dedicated to playing trumpet well.
I built a solo career and have performed in symphony orchestras, small ensembles, brass trio and quintets, and much solo work, all specializing in classical trumpet repertoire. Currently, I am studying piano and I incorporate the piano in lessons.
I enjoy starting students of all ages. For children, I recommend starting piano at any age but trumpet, because of the physical requirements of holding the instrument and developing mouth structures, to begin after about 10 or 11. However, for younger students, when a child “really wants to play trumpet,” give it a try and see how it goes. I use repetition but not to boredom. I introduce exciting works and a student may suggest works he or she may like to work through. I praise students and bolster self-esteem and security.
Music is “how it sounds.” We spend considerable time on developing beautiful tone. I emphasize precise music rhythm reading and use the metronome when a student becomes ready. We work together to build personal and music confidence.
Often a student wants cultural enrichment; learn about music; learn the fundamentals of trumpet and brass playing. As a student progresses, we work on proficiency and all of the traditional works: Arban, H.L. Clarke, Guggenberger, Claude Gordon, St. Jacome, and so much more. In motivated students, I introduce solo playing and then playing with accompaniment; band playing. Typically, after about two years, a student is ready to commence the traditional trumpet masters: Haydn, Hummel, Fasch, Albinoni, Telemann and so many others. When a student is interested, we can discuss competitions, state bands, solo performances.
I have developed national and international contacts and associations and will connect students according to their dreams. I believe students should follow their dreams and develop towards proficiency. Diligent practice is essential. There are no short-cuts.
One bit of advice. Any “basic trumpet” is serviceable for many years. If a student or parents are inclined, invest in lessons.
In the community
Dr. Oppenheim provides instruction for all ages and levels; from beginners-to-virtuosos in the greater Billings, Montana area.
Elliott utilizes basic classical teaching, with emphasis on correctness in playing, rhythm, and theory.
Additionally, Elliott teaches preparedness for solos, duets, competitions, jury and recitals.
- Trumpets (B flat, C, D, E flat, A and B flat Piccolo)
- Baroque Trumpet
- French horn lessons