Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion Instruction
Westminster Conservatory offers music lessons in Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion.
- Flute lessons
- Recorder lessons
- Oboe lessons
- Clarinet lessons
- Saxophone lessons
- Bassoon lessons
- Horn lessons
- Trumpet lessons
- Trombone lessons
- Tuba lessons
- Drumset lessons
- Percussion lessons
Melissa Bohl, Department Head
Instruction on wind instruments typically begins with correct posture and hand position, breath support, and embouchure. The ability to read music is not a prerequisite, and any student who is new to musical literacy will learn the elements of pitch and rhythmic notation. As a student begins to acquire facility on the instrument, teaching concentrates on refinements of embouchure and tone production, articulation, dynamics, and phrasing. An advancing student will typically combine a study of technical materials, such as scales, arpeggios, and études, with solo repertoire such as recital pieces, sonatas, and concerti.
Drumset and Percussion
Drumset and percussion are offered at the South Brunswick and Princeton Academy locations for students of all levels. Beginners learn basic rhythm and reading skills through snare drum and drumset and receive an introduction to mallet techniques, while advancing students receive coaching in various aspects of percussion. All percussion students learn how to read music, maintain good sound production, and develop the dexterity to play the major percussion instruments.
Conservatory teachers in the wind, brass, and percussion department incorporate ear training, sight reading, music fundamentals, musicianship, and the promotion of good work habits into their instruction at all levels, and remain responsive to students' individual needs and learning styles.
Families with prospective students under the minimum age* may request an interview (30-minute maximum) if they would like to be considered for private instruction. Families will be asked to complete a registration form and pay an interview fee of $30 before the interview. Upon acceptance of a student under the suggested minimum age, the registration fee and tuition deposit will be due before the student can be placed with a teacher.
*The recommended minimum age for winds and brass private study is 9; for recorder study, 6; for Suzuki flute, 5; for drum study, 7. The recommended lesson length for beginners is 30 minutes.
Westminster Conservatory offers a wide range of classes and ensembles to meet the needs of every student, from the beginner to the most advanced student, regardless of age. Some classes are intended as an introduction to music, and require no previous experience. Others are designed to complement private instruction. Most classes run 32 weeks per year. Class length is based upon minimum enrollment. Some classes may be offered with a smaller enrollment by reducing the class length. In this case, the tuition remains the same.
- Brass for Beginners
Grades 2-3 (beginners only)
Meet Ragnar, possibly the first trumpeter in the history of the world, who lived about 15,000 years ago in the caves of Southwest France. He is the Brass for Beginners® tour guide who will take students across the globe to show the many uses of natural trumpets throughout human history. He helps students understand the importance of trumpet sounds for peoples of the past, and shows the many amazing types of trumpets through the study of history, geography, culture, and music. Students will learn the basic skills of brass playing in class, but will also spend time in their “practice cave” at home. Back in class, they will engage with their new friends in solo and group performances. This is an exciting way to introduce young musicians to the art of brass playing and can lead to private lessons on trumpet, horn, trombone, or tuba. Class size is limited to 6 Tromba players.
Number of classes: 32
Class length: 45 minutes (3-person minimum)
Materials fee: $115 (includes Tromba and textbook)
- Jazz Explorations
Paul Hofreiter, Instructor
Grade 8 through Adult
In this class, students who already have some background in jazz will take their knowledge to the next level by playing in a small group and combining jazz with other musical styles (jazz/rock, jazz/hip hop, jazz/Latin, etc.) in addition to honing their traditional jazz performance skills. Students will explore playing through longer forms over time-tested jazz standards, and will also be encouraged to explore different ways of playing these compositions, as well as working on their own arrangements or compositions. Music written and performed by the students will be presented at a year-end recital either on Westminster’s campus or off-campus at a live venue. An interview/audition is required for placement. Princeton Academy location only.
Number of classes: 31
Class length: 55 minutes (4-person minimum)
Experience the joy of making music in a small ensemble! Westminster Conservatory offers reading ensembles as well as coached chamber groups, depending on the playing goals of the student.
- Adult Chamber Reading Ensemble
Marjorie Selden, Coordinator
Dedicated to the joys of sight reading, this program provides an opportunity for adult musicians to meet every other week to play together in small wind, string, piano, or mixed ensembles. New ensembles are created each week. The groups, working on their own, read through music provided by the coordinator at the beginning of each session. Westminster provides music scores, studio space, stands, and pianos. Wind and string players bring their own instruments. Participants are expected to have some sight reading and ensemble experience. Each morning session will include a coffee break with light refreshments and time to socialize. Princeton location only.
Number of sessions: 16 (ensembles meet every other week)
Session length: 3 hours
- Coached Chamber Ensemble
Elena Panova, Coordinator
Students of any age or level are matched with other musicians in a small ensemble which meets weekly for individual coaching by a Conservatory faculty member. This program will introduce students to a broader range of repertoire and provide the opportunity for interaction with other musicians at the same level. Participants are encouraged to perform in community settings. This class is open to all instruments. An interview/audition is required for placement.
Number of sessions: 32
Session length: 45 minutes (3-person minimum)
*All PDF files require Adobe Reader (free).