We’re so happy to have a new great teacher on board. Larry (new trumpet/trombone teacher) shared some great advice about learning music. You’ll read his words of wisdom, personal stories, and a bit about his background in the interview and bio below:
Larry Toft teaches Trombone and Trumpet at Philly Music Lessons
Meet Our New Trumpet and Trombone Teacher
I teach trombone, baritone horn/euphonium, and trumpet. I’m a full time teacher and performer in Philadelphia and obtained my BA in Music Education from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music. I have over 15 years of teaching experience, and I currently teach at 3 schools in the Philadelphia area on a weekly basis. I enjoy performing and teaching many styles of music such as: classical, jazz, salsa, blues, reggae, r&b, funk, and folk music from Balkans. I enjoy designing lessons around what the student wants to learn as well as establishing basic brass techniques in regards to tone production, rhythm, and harmony.
When did you begin playing [instrument], and why?: I started at age 9 when I was in the fourth grade. There was a brass ensemble playing music for everyone in the school to try and get students excited about playing music. I remember the trombone player piqued by interest by playing low splatty notes and the melody to “The Imperial March” from Star Wars.
What are your personal goals as a musician?: To be well versed in all styles of music and to make people forget their troubles and dance/listen/enjoy!
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?: I remember the first time I was able to produce a clear, resonant tone on the trombone. This ability, for some, is one of the most challenging aspects to a brass instrument. Also, being graceful and fluid on the slide of the trombone. This really helps with precision and accuracy of notes in particular passages.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?: It’s only music. Wrong notes have never severely injured anyone. Be adventurous! Take risks! This can open your ears and mind to new, exciting possibilities.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?: Learning how to improvise. This concept, in the beginning, was very foreign to me. Once you become familiar with how chord and harmony structures work, it starts to fall into place.
What is your biggest musical achievement?: Besides being able to succeed as a performing musician who is well versed in many styles, I think performing with other notable musicians such as Johnny Pacheco, Jimmy Heath, Lalo Rodriguez, Jon Faddis, Johnny Rivera, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Coleman,
Michael Ray, and Freddy Bell
Favorite thing about teaching?: Seeing the progress of the student and having them discover that moment when it starts to click for them.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?: Enjoy the process. Be patience and persistent and the rewards will pay off.
Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any): West Philadelphia Orchestra (Balkan/Gypsy Folk music), Red Hot Ramblers (Trad/Hot Jazz), Cultureal (Reggae), various Salsa ensembles, New Pony (New Orleans/original funk/blues)