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2009 North American Brass Band Association Solo Division 1st Place
2012 + 2013 National Trumpet Competition Solo Competition 3rd and 2nd Places
2013 Eastman School of Music Merit Scholarship
2017 Eastman School of Music Sidney Myer Trumpet Prize
2019 Philip Jones International Brass Ensemble Competition Semi-Finalist
I have been playing trumpet since the summer of 2006 and have been in love with the art form ever since. I am also an advocate for historic music performance practice and an avid avant-garde performer. I hold degrees from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts high school program and the Eastman School of Music. In addition to these degrees, I have received graduate level training from the Royal Academy of Music in London, UK and the Boston University College of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. I have been fortunate enough in my young career to have performed across the world in countries including the U.S., Sweden, Germany, England, Scotland, and Canada. I have even had the opportunity to tour to NYC with the Eastman Philharmonia and Renee Fleming to Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center. During my time as a freelancer in London and Boston, I have performed with a variety of ensembles ranging from brass bands, mixed brass ensembles, chamber orchestra, contemporary chamber ensembles, and full orchestra. Currently I perform with Flower City Brass quintet, New England Brass Band, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, and Fensgate Chamber Players.
I first began teaching in the summer of 2011 as a volunteer for a music camp and instantly fell in love with teaching. My first lesson teacher engrained in me the importance of sharing knowledge with colleagues and the younger generations. In addition to various private students over the years, I have taught at the Summer Brass Bash, Eastman Community School of Music, Discovering Brass, and North End Music and Performing Arts Center. I have found success teaching when I can relate what we are doing on the trumpet to other elements of students lives. When I was teaching in Boston, the only thing my kids seemed to care about was Angry Birds. Instead of fighting for the kids attention, I transcribed the Angry Birds theme and had them learn it by ear. After learning the song by ear, we would talk about the basic music theory behind the song and put names to the notes we just learned. When a student can have something they both understand and care about tied into their music lessons, they are suddenly more engaged and will unintentionally set goals for themselves. I firmly believe this is a great step one to a wholistic music education.
For all students, I will do a fair amount of playing be ear and call and response in hopes to avoid an unhealthy association with printed high notes, which is a very common occurrence for trumpet players. I will prescribe various books or exercises from books such as Arbans, H. L. Clarke Technical Studies, Chris Gekker's Slow Practice, Getchell Book of Etudes, Concone Compete Solfeggi, I Reccomend, Allen Vizzutti Trumpet Method Book, Vincent Cichowicz Long Tones and Flow Studies, Bai Lin Lip Flexibilities, James Thompson's Buzzing Basics, Saint Jacome, Bousquet, Charlier, and others as I see fit for the student. I ultimately hope after being exposed to a wide variety of methods and ideas, students will begin to create their own exercises to solve their own musical and technical challenges. I like to assign listenings of various musicians and gage what musical interests a student has. For example, if I notice a student has a particular affinity for cornet solos, I will begin to assign solos in that vein. Alternatively, if I notice a student struggling with an articulation necessary for French solo repertoire, I may encourage a student to listen and learn solos in that style. When starting out, I am more interested in a student learning a piece they are excited about than forcing them to learn a solo they may not ever have any emotional attachment to.
The best summarization of my teaching style can be condensed to one quote from a former professor of mine. "Guided self discovery." The first step in guiding a student to their own discoveries is to put them in the best possible mentality to succeed. A clear, present, and focused mind is the ultimate goal. I will try meditation, breathing exercises, or simply talking through problems that are too cumbersome to put aside. Once an optimal mentality is reached, I like to have the student play any prepared materials. During this time, I am listening as if I am the one playing and how I would go about bettering myself. I will ask the student what their thoughts are, where their priorities are, and how they would go about bettering themselves. If our answers do not happen to line up, I will share my position and we will attempt both solutions to see what works best. I may also challenge students to justify their answers and consider a completely different solution. Regardless of what solution works, the humility of accepting possibility of an answer completely different from your own is important to me. Different days may require different solutions, and as a result a lot of ideas will be shared. Once we find something that does work, I like to have the student try to teach me what they have learned so I can see how deep a concept has been engrained.
Dean is a thoughtful, talented And passionate person. For as long as I’ve know Dean it has been a privilege to glean practical knowledge And lessons that are now ingrained in my own playing. There are very few people who can talk trumpet for hours without losing curiosity. I believe weather you are just starting out, or are a seasoned professional, Dean can help bring a fresh look at your current playing. He will intuitively prescribe valuable exercises and approaches to better your music making.
The very first thing I'd want any aspiring musician to know about Dean, is that he's super thoughtful, and always makes meaningful suggestions! In my experience with him throughout my high school and undergraduate career, he has given me lessons and directions that I'll carry with me through my entire life, all of which apply to both the trumpet, and my everyday life! What's so inspiring about Dean as a teacher, is that he always has an alternative approach to give, incase the first one doesn't work for you. He understands that each student is different, and goes out of his way to find new and ingenious methods to move his students in the direction to be an astounding musician! If you haven't already listened to him perform, what are you waiting for? You'll easily understand what makes Dean Oaks a highly competent teacher, with the humbling musicianship to back it up!
Dean is an amazing teacher and friend! He is very prepared for every lesson I have had with him. He shows me new strategies and techniques all the time that help me become a better player. Dean is the type of musician that you could listen to all day and never get tired of it. I highly recommend Dean as a teacher! He will push you and guide you to become the best musician that you can be!
Dean is a passionate musician who cares and understands how to teach the basics of the trumpet, breathing, articulations, and having students think outside the box. I have taken multiple lessons with Dean, and I always come out with a better understanding of how to approach the trumpet. I personally trust his knowledge, and Dean does not have a “one-way approach” of teaching. There are many teachers out there who say, “do this, and moves on.” Dean is detail-oriented and will spot weak points in my playing and suggest many ways of fixing or being aware of that problem that I never realized. I recommend Dean as a teacher for whoever wants to learn how to play the trumpet.
Dean is someone who I have worked with on a regular basis through Boston University. He is an extremely talented and hard-working musician who just so happens to be an equally fantastic trumpet player. He's very knowledgeable and from the few lessons I've had with him, I've always come out with more knowledge than I came in with, whether it was techniques: how to approach a certain piece/etude or exercise, working through issues in my playing and sound and understanding why I was either consciously or unconsciously doing the things I was doing, or just the actual facets of the trumpet itself. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for a teacher!
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