[Trombone-l] Teacher?

Daniel Pliskin daniel_pliskin at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 18 18:59:20 CST 2005

I was hoping that this “best teacher” thread would evolve into something 
more than mentioning names.  Let me show you what I would have liked to see.

My first classical guitar teacher, whose name totally slips my mind, was a 
ho hum teacher.  I remember two distinct problems I had with him.  First, he 
never got it that the reason I had stopped practicing my assignments was 
that I absolutely hated The Merry Farmer.  It was years later, when I was 
working on Requerdos de la Alhambra that I discovered that he also never got 
me to hold my right hand correctly.

Mrs. Weinstein was an inspiration.  I guess I was a good student, because I 
tore through the material she assigned and evidently played it with some 
sort of musicality.  She was very fond of me and I of her.  But testosterone 
kicked in.  I “needed” to play lacrosse and lacrosse won out over piano 
(Talk about stupid.  I’ve touched a lacrosse stick only twice, since high 

Bob Hubbard was my main teacher on oboe.  I’m sure he’ll admit to being lost 
in trying to teach a jazz oboe player, when the repertoire he knew was all 
classical.  But I must have been getting something from it, because I stuck 
with him for a few years.

But let me pause for a moment.  You see, trombone is very different from 
guitar, piano and even oboe.  On those instruments, you wiggle your fingers 
thus and so and the notes come out.  Sure there are differences of opinion 
about what the “correct” way to play is, but most of those versions of 
correctness more or less agree with each other.

In contrast, the two good trombone teachers I’ve worked with have worked on 
getting me to find the correct way for me to play the trombone.  So right 
off the bat, their teaching technique had to be quite different.  But let me 
mention two trombone teachers I’ve had, who helped me a lot.

I heard John Gove’s playing and was then and there ready to be his student.  
John puts little slurs at the beginnings and ends of notes, kind of like 
leading tones.  It’s pretty remarkable.

Phil Jerome is the other teacher.  I only took one lesson with him, but it 
was like going to a mind reader.  I walked out of that one lesson with a 
dozen things to work on.

But I also want to mention that this list has done a world of good for me.  
First off, it was y’all who got me to the point where I could tell a good 
teacher from the rest.  But also, it was this list that answered the 
questions that I wasn’t even up to asking yet.  Thank you all.


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