💥Low brass lessons in O'side & North County San Diego!💥

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About Me

Hi, my name is Berk and I teach brass musicians of all levels at my Oceanside studio. Do you want to learn how to improvise or play jazz? Are you serious about a career in a symphony or concert band? Do you simply like to play along with your favorite pop or rock tunes? Come on over!

I have degrees in music from Oberlin College, Rice University, HfMDK Frankfurt, and UC San Diego, and have worked with some of the most amazing musicians from around the world. A major focus in my graduate education and professional life has been to lead and participate in academic support programs that make music education accessible for all students. Whether I’m serving undergraduate or graduate students as an Associate Instructor within the UC San Diego Music Department, teaching as a low brass music clinician in local public schools, my focus has been to invest in the community in which I live. 


As a result of these efforts, I have taught over five hundred undergraduate students and thirty graduate instructional assistants in the subjects of Introduction to Western Music (MUS4), Fundamentals of Music Series (MUS1A-B-C, theory focus), Popular Electronica (MUS15), Electronic Music (MUS6), and trombone pedagogy/andragogy during my 6 years of collegiate teaching. 

I maintain a small studio and enjoy teaching brass instruments (trombone, trumpet, euphonium, tuba) to beginner and intermediate players in Southern California. With over 15  years of experience teaching privately in public schools and preparatory colleges, many of my students have gone on to pursue music professionally. My former trombone students have been recruited by the Fred Fox School of Music at The University of Arizona, Sam Houston School of Music, San Diego State University, and Moores School of Music in Houston. Lessons can be taught via Zoom or in-person at my Oceanside studio or In-home — Contact me to learn more. 

“Not only is he great at communicating with his students, but he is able to not make one feel intimidated, instead [creating] an environment where it's easy to exchange ideas and learn. On top of that, he was able to help me with auditions for region, college, and drum corps, from everything to audition etiquette, dealing with nerves, and time management. And, most importantly, I have grown as a musician, and as a performer, and have learned many things about trombone, music, and education that I will take with me for a long time.”

Mason Wallis studied with Berk at Cypress Woods High School (2012-14) and is a graduate of The School of Music at Arizona State University.

 

Sample Student Material 

Private Teaching Recommendations and Testimonial 

“In addition to being a great musician and teacher, Berk is the utmost professional in all he has done for Strake Jesuit College Preparatory. Whether through communication, adjudication, instruction, or performance, Berk has kept a very high standard. We are happy to have Berk with us!”


Ben Ware, Director of Bands at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, June 28, 2011, Ben worked directly with Berk at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory from 2010-2015


“Berk performed and recorded several of my compositions and it was always evident that Berk is one of the finest musicians and teachers out there. Due to his tremendously diligent work-ethic and level of professionalism, he is always prepared for his commitments and brings a refreshing amount of enthusiasm to everything he performs. Incredibly accurate with impeccable intonation and rhythm, it is always a pleasure and a gift to be able to work with Berk.”


Ryan Lester, Composer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Criminal Minds, August 20, 2011, Ryan worked with Berk at Oberlin College


“Being a senior at Cypress Woods High School I have had good amount of lesson teachers over the years, both Bass Trombone and Tenor. It’s safe for me to say that Berk has been one of the best lesson teachers by far that I have had, and I would not have been able to make it through this year without him. As a Bass Trombonist I have learned so much from Berk, he makes the lessons stress free and enjoyable while at the same time keeping a (mostly) serious tone throughout the lesson. His instruction has proven most valuable to my success as I just received my acceptance letter to Sam Houston's School of Music.”


Ryan Carr, Bass Trombone, studied with Berk at Cypress Woods High School 2012-14, a graduate of Sam Houston School of Music.


“I am in my senior year of high school, and I have had a decent number of teachers, clinicians, and directors to study with. I can honestly say that he is one of the best teachers I have ever had. Not only is he great at communicating with his students, but he is able to not make one feel intimidated, like I have felt with some teachers, but instead creates an environment where it's easy to exchange ideas and learn. On top of that, he is a great player, and a great teacher. I have learned the most from him this year than any other teacher I've had so far, and he was able to help me with auditions for region, college, and drum corps, from everything to audition etiquette, dealing with nerves, and time management. And, most importantly, I have grown as a musician, and as a performer, and have learned many things about trombone, music, and education that I will take with me for a long time.”


Mason Wallis, Tenor Trombone, studied with Berk at Cypress Woods High School 2012-14, a graduate of The School of Music at The University of Arizona.


“I have had many trombone teachers over several years, and Berk is by far the very best I have ever had. He's taught me to play music that is harder than I could ever learn to play, but now it is quite feasible with his teaching methodology. Berk is awesome!”

Lana Huston, Tenor Trombone, studied with Berk privately 2010-13.


“My daughter has been taking lessons from Berk the past year and she has improved tremendously. Her tone is beautiful now; sounding almost like a french horn. She has also won several first places in solo contests which I know would not have happened without Berk's help! We will sign up for another year! Thanks Berk!”


Mother of Lana Huston (2010-13)

University Teaching Testimonial  

"The discussions allow me see where I am with my learning and every time I complete them I feel like I have a community where I can comfortably share my thoughts... I receive constructive criticism and acknowledgement when I do something well, this ultimately helps me reframe my thinking and work on improving my final assignments."

-UC San Diego Student (Summer, 2023)


"Berk always found time to take and answer questions during his lectures. He was always looking for student feedback and consulted the class many times throughout the quarter regarding how they felt about the content we were learning in terms of its difficulty and what we felt we needed to spend more time [on]. He really showed that he cared and wanted everyone to succeed."  

-UC San Diego Student (Fall, 2022)


"The lectures to me have been extremely engaging and helpful in preparing me for both the final paper and project. The readings and the lectures have allowed me to learn new things about electronic music, such as how it evolved into what it currently is today, but I’ve also been able to learn about artists I had not known of in the past."  

-UC San Diego Student (Summer, 2022)


"Berk was really nice to everyone throughout the entire quarter, and he always had an enthusiastic attitude in the class. It seemed like he was genuinely interested in the material we were covering in class..."

-UC San Diego Student (Spring, 2022)


"I loved this course! It was almost exactly what I came in expecting, and I got what I wanted and more. I learned so much even though I thought I knew a lot about electronic music already. We learned history, had active listening, and our own input and analysis. The class was super fun and always stimulating. I might be biased because I love all music, but it was definitely a great window into a lot of other genres I don't always look at and it was great to see an instructor bring so many new and fun things to the table." 

-UC San Diego Student (Fall, 2021)