In our private lessons, we will explore the mental and physical game of learning to control your instrument. Our many focuses will include proper holding and playing technique, sound and tone production, accuracy, flexibility, articulations, dynamics, rhythm, and interpretation. Private lessons will also incorporate some music theory and history.
Beginning students are recommended to start with 30min lessons, once per week. Lesson times can range from 30min, 45min, and 60min sessions - depending on the student's aptitude and/or attention duration (or budget).


  • Your Instrument.
  • Your Band Book.
  • Any music you are playing in class.
  • Any instrument method books.
  • A pencil.
  • Reeds, oil, etc.

Advanced students may be asked to purchase additional method books.

Learning to play an instrument requires Muscle Memory, which is where we teach our muscles how to do certain things. If we repeat this enough correctly, our muscles (our lips, lungs, diaphragm, tongue, cheeks, fingers, hands) will "remember" the right way to do the work. Playing an instrument includes many fine motor skills and coordination. Sitting in a chair correctly (no slouching, crossed legs), breathing properly, holding your hands and fingers in the correct position, forming the correct embouchure (the way your lips and mouth form around the mouthpiece), tongue placement and shape of the inside of your mouth, evenly and actively moving the air from your body through the instrument - these are only some of the physical requirements. Add to that the mental exercises in identifying the correct notes and fingerings/slide positions, dynamics (loudness and softness), then there is a lot going on at once.

  • Find somewhere quiet, without distractions. No TV, No Phone, No Pets, etc.

  • Find a good flat, balanced, straight chair. Try not to practice on your bed, and do not sit on the floor.

  • Sit up straight - don't slouch. Don't prop yourself up on your legs or chair.

  • Make sure your feet are flat on the floor - no crossed legs.

  • Hold your head up - raise your stand if needed. Don't play toward the floor (or the ceiling).

  • Take a deep breath and actively move the air through the instrument - our air is like gasoline for cars. If you don't use enough air, your sound will suffer. Playing a wind instrument is not like passively breathing during the day.

  • Don't puff out your cheeks. Focus the air and energy through the instrument and mouthpiece/reed.

  • Make sure you are using correct hand and finger positions. When in doubt, refer to your fingering chart in the back of the book. Make notes (in pencil) when needed.

  • Try practicing in front of a mirror - pay attention to your embouchure, finger/hand placement, posture, puffed cheeks, etc.

  • Write down questions that arise, and ask Mr. Paul about it when you can.

  • Insist on making GOOD sounds. If it sounds like a duck, moose, etc. - it's probably not a good sound. Think about making the kind of sound you want to hear. Use rounded vowel shapes (oh, ah, oo), be aware of the position of your tongue (up or down). Always use lots of air!

  • Practice music that is giving you problems, not just the easy stuff that sounds good.

  • Always include scales and long tones in your practice routine.

  • When practicing a challenging section, break it down into smaller groups (one measure, two measures) and slow down the tempo. Sometimes even working on the same two notes over and over can be helpful.

Preparation - Practice - Patience - Perseverance - Performance