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ESTA MA Music – Brass

About the course

The instrumental teaching profession demands constant reflection and improvement from its practitioners. This course will help you to validate your personal development and formalise your academic qualification to teach.

Our programme of study is designed to enable you as an instrumental or vocal teacher to progress from the stage you are in your career and to take a fresh look at the way you approach your teaching.

Your studies will be online, engaging with tasks including webinars, meetings with your mentor, taking part in discussion groups, reading, making videos. You will reflect on and develop your teaching focusing on the context in which you work. This will help you to question things you may have taken for granted, explore work with and without notation and develop a holistic approach to your teaching.

You will be assigned a mentor who shares your specialism (e.g. brass, bowed strings, piano, voice, woodwind, percussion, plucked strings) and your mentor’s job is to guide you through the course, lead study sessions and feedback on your work and progress.

Being a student on this course is all about developing as a reflective practitioner, someone who is willing to stand back and look at their work and contemplate changing aspects if both you and your students will benefit. Your course leader will provide an overview of the whole course, lead study sessions, and also make assessments of all students’ work to ensure fairness.

To gain the maximum benefit for your investment in this programme of study you should plan your diary carefully to make sure you have all the deadlines for completion and submission of work highlighted – and then please take notice of them.

This programme is delivered by ESTA and validated by the University of Chichester.

Who is it for ?

Moving on from the ESTA PG Cert in Teaching, the ESTA MA (Brass) Practical Teaching provides students with the opportunity to reflect more deeply and demonstrate the application of learned theory in their own personal teaching setting.

The instrumental teaching profession demands constant reflection and improvement from its practitioners. This course will help you to validate your personal development and formalise your academic qualification to teach.

Participants will:

  • Develop practical skills in teaching musical and technical material, fostering an engaging and student-appropriate approach to music learning and performance

  • Foster an investigative and inquisitive approach to teaching by developing skills in both research and reflection

  • Actively develop communication skills to enable effective teaching

  • Develop skills in curriculum planning that are highly relevant in the profession.


Who teaches the course

David Barnard

Head of Department – Brass

David Barnard


David Barnard is CEO of Resonance (a multi-million-pound music centre in the Black Country), a part-time education official for the Musicians’ Union and a freelance consultant specialising in music education.

His clients have included Roland Europe, I Like Music, Music for All and a number of music education hubs and co-operatives. He holds a first-class honours degree in music, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, a Performance Diploma from the Royal College of Music, and a Diploma in Management from Leicester University.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and member of the Chartered Institute of Management. David’s professional career has included a number of senior positions, including: Director of Education for Roland UK; Course Leader for the ABRSM’s professional development programme; Director of Swindon Music Service; Head of Music Centres for Kingston Music Service and Enfield Arts.

He has also worked as a professional trombonist, conductor, lecturer (Middlesex University), publisher and examiner (Guildhall School of Music), and was founder of the Swindon Music Co-operative. David is Chairman of the Music Industries’ Association education committee and is a trustee of the Ernest Read Music Trust.

Course content by unit

Unit 1: Teaching brass instrument technique to children and young people learning brass instruments 

  1. Physiology & posture

  2. Breathing & breath control

  3. Embouchure formation

  4. Articulation & tonguing

  5. Tone quality

  6. Developing tonal and dynamic range

  7. Mouthpieces

  8. Effective practice routines

  9. Repertoire

  10. Problem-solving strategies

Unit 2: How children and young people learn to play brass instruments

  1. How learners learn

  2. Simultaneous Learning

  3. Learning spiral

  4. My learners now

  5. Understanding, assimilating and consolidating skills, knowledge and understanding

  6. Learning music musically

  7. Developing aural awareness/perception and acuity

  8. Pupil/teacher relationships

  9. Learning scales and studies

  10. Starting a lesson

Unit 3: Teaching strategies for brass instrument teachers working with children and young people

  1. Understanding my teaching now

  2. Preparation for teaching

  3. Expectation of teaching outcomes

  4. Diagnosis of learners’ needs

  5. Audio-Visual-Kinaesthetic learning

  6. Aptitude for learning

  7. Motivation for learning

  8. Simultaneous learning

  9. Assessment

  10. Exams/Festivals/Competitions

  11. Tutors/methods

  12. Teaching whole classes/small groups/individuals

  13. Proactive and reactive teaching

Unit 4: Developing a brass instrument teaching curriculum for children and young people           

  1. Understanding what is meant by a curriculum and a syllabus

  2. Preparing and implementing schemes of work