Student Testimonials

I first heard Phil and his teacher Mark Van Cleave play at Jazz Vermont 2005. I have had the good fortune to hear many of the world’s finest trumpet players, but there was something very different about the way these people were playing. I have rarely heard such a limitless depth, richness and sizzling excitement in the extreme upper register, coupled with a keen sense of showmanship and tasteful phrasing. Having tried every trumpet method imaginable and struggled with limitations for many years, I remembered Phil and contacted him recently about spending a weekend together. Not only did I learn a great deal and make some important changes to my playing, but I also got to play two rock / funk gigs with him and had a blast playing Tower of Power tunes, etc.

Imagine what it must have been like playing next to Maynard when he was thirty and this is how I felt playing beside Phil. It just doesn’t seem to make logical sense that it should be possible to play with such a sizzling, huge, beautiful sound for hours, sailing above a rock band (mostly playing between high C and double C) without even needing a microphone.

I have since experienced very surprising changes in my own playing using the concepts Phil guided me through. From understanding dental configuration and correct pivoting to centering and practicing control, the difference in my performance has already been nothing short of amazing, and this is coming from someone who has seen it all when it comes to trumpet pedagogy. I am producing notes above double C and beginning to consistently create the special kind of resonance that can only be obtained by centering correctly, that “burn” or “edge” in the sound exemplified by players like Doc Severinsen.

Each day I am improving a little bit and pushing back my limitations. I can hear and feel the difference. I am so excited about this improvement that my only real challenge now is not to over-practice.

I cannot speak highly enough of Phil’s skills as a teacher. He is not a “natural” lead player who will just tell you to blow harder or other nonsense, but a true high-note expert who can tell you exactly what you need to do to overcome your unique limitations. I recommend giving him a call and setting up lessons if you are interested in learning to practice in an very different way, in order to obtain extraordinary results. You will also enjoy his common sense and humor which made the trip a lot of fun.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Joachim Lépine
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada


It  (Jazz Vermont) ( was a great week, and I am glad you were on hand once again.  You exemplify the things I like about the jazz community.  You are encouraging, sensitive to needs of the section and an excellent player and teacher. Well, it is late, but I wanted to be sure and get an e-mail off to you before getting overtaken by events.   I hope to see you next year. Please put me in your address book and keep in touch.

Best regards,

Bob Penick
Georgetown, TX, USA