Welcome to the first #TeacherFeature of April! Every Wednesday this month I’ll be highlight the work and career of one of my favorite educators and talking about how they’ve influenced my career and teaching philosophy.
It’s timely that I featured this first artist, because he just featured me on his site (and I am very humbled and honored to appear there amongst some truly great musicians!). Please welcome to the blog San Diego-based trombonist and educator Sean Reusch!
Sean was my teacher in high school in San Diego in the late 1990s. We had weekly lessons and I remember always feeling like I had his full attention in whatever I said or played. He helped me prepare my college auditions and was ecstatic when I found out I was accepted to the University of Wisconsin, my first choice. We’ve kept in touch ever since, meeting up for beers and good conversations whenever I’m back in Southern California.
A graduate of Penn State and the Manhattan School of Music, Sean performs regularly around the region and the country and was a founding member of the excellent Presidio Brass Quintet. He’s taught at many higher education establishments, including San Diego State and UCSD, but recently told me he wants to focus more on his grade school students, helping prepare the next generation of professional trombonists from the ground up. In 2017 he ran the tremendously successful Junior ITF at the International Trombone Festival in Redlands, CA.
He also manages the website Trombone 101, an “information highway for trombonists” which is chock full of resources, insights, learning tips, and amazing materials. I highly recommend the Daily Routine Songbook, aka the book I wish I had written, which offers players simple tunes for each day of the week that cover the basics in intonation, articulation, phrasing, and musicality.
Sean describes his teaching philosophy as simple: “I try to inspire my students to do their best, to be positive, to dream big, to be creative, to be thoughtful musicians, to learn valuable life lessons through music, and to deepen their love of music.” I want to add that what Sean has taught me most about music has come from his intrinsic accepting, optimistic outlook. We’ve experienced a very similar evolution of our teaching philosophies over the years, and come to the agreement that the most important thing to teach is the outward expression of our musical spirit- the rest, the technical, comes along easily if we’re focused on what we want to happen.
I still have in my possession a large three-ring binder that contains just about every piece of music and resource that Sean ever gave me. It’s copies of orchestral excerpts, solo repertoire, articles about playing and practicing health, duets and chamber music. I’ve opened it many times over the years to find something to give to one of my students or use for myself. It speaks to Sean’s incredibly giving spirit that he never asked for compensation or thanks for these materials. The mentorship that Sean gave me first as a young player and then as a developing professional was so invaluable to me that I promised myself I would pay it forward someday down the line. I would love nothing more than to offer the same friendly, encouraging spirit to my students that Sean gives to me and everyone he teaches. His example was my first experience understanding what the importance of a truly kind and supportive teacher means for the learner.
Do yourself a favor and explore the many wonders of Trombone 101, and if you ever have a chance to meet, study from, or see Sean Reusch perform, don’t miss out! He is truly one of the great pedagogues of the trombone and is building a legacy of students well-balanced in ability and mind.