Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion Instruction

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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

Private Wind Instrument Lessons

Wind Instruments
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 Princeton Academy 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.

Group Instruction

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.

Woodwind, Brass and Percussion Classes

See below for class descriptions

Class Name Number of Classes
(per semester)
Class Length Tuition
(per semester)
Brass for Beginners
Grades 2—3
16 45 minutes $288
Westminster Flute Choir
Grades 8—12
16 55 minutes $336
Jazz Explorations
Grade 8—Adult
16 55 minutes $320

Registration for classes is for the full academic year (most classes run 32 weeks per year). Class length is based upon minimum enrollment (3-person minimum for 45-minute class; 4-person minimum for 55-minute class). 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.
  • Westminster Flute Choir
    Kevin Willois, Instructor
    Grades 8-12
    In this class advancing flutists can take their musical experience to the next level by playing in a small group dedicated to arrangements for flute choir. Prerequisites for participation in the choir include: a minimum of two years of flute study; ability to play 2-octave major and minor scales; and strong reading skills. It is also recommended that members of the ensemble take private lessons. An interview is required for placement. Princeton location only.
  • 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.

Chamber Music

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.

Chamber Music Classes

See below for class descriptions

Class Name Number of Classes
(per semester)
Class Length Tuition
(per semester)
Adult Chamber Reading Ensemble 8 3 hours $138
Coached Chamber Ensemble
All ages
16 45 minutes $368

Registration is for the full academic year. Class length is based upon minimum enrollment (3-person minimum for 45-minute class). Some classes may be offered with a smaller enrollment by reducing the class length. In this case, the tuition remains the same.

  • 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.
  • Coached Chamber Ensemble
    Elena Panova, Coordinator
    All Ages
    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.

Flute Faculty
Kimberly Bryan
Jill Crawford
Ellen Fisher Deerberg
John Lane
Katherine McClure
Sandra Olson
Barbara Highton Williams
Kevin Willois
Amy Wolfe
Recorder Faculty
Timothy Urban
Oboe Faculty
Melissa Bohl
Clarinet/Saxophone Faculty
Kenneth Ellison Sung-Won Hwang Michael VanPelt
Bassoon Faculty
Zachary Feingold
Horn Faculty
Craig Levesque
Trumpet Faculty
Michael Green Susan Moxley
Trombone/Tuba Faculty
Susan Moxley
Percussion Faculty
Mika Godbole