Ben Gessel
Kenmore, WA
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Ben Gessel

Ben G.

Kenmore, WA
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I teach all horn players up to the collegiate/very advanced levels.

About Ben G.

I have been teaching French Horn, piano and composition privately for about eleven years, mainly in Snohomish and King counties. I have also coached horn players in local school bands during this time, as well as helping students with learning disabilities. There are many difficulties that students encounter when studying music, and I want to help you turn weaknesses into strengths, and help you find out where your greatest strengths (and interests) lie in music. I'll work with you to help you understand your own musical desires and goals, so that you can get the most out of your lessons. I am committed to understanding each of my students, and to sharing my love of music with each one of them. I teach French Horn, piano, music theory and composition as well as songwriting. Currently, I teach in the South Snohomish County and North King County areas.

I was eight years old when I started taking piano lessons in Tacoma, WA. When I was 12, I discovered that I had perfect pitch while playing church hymns with my dad. This ability has served me well on a number of occasions. I discontinued formal piano lessons when I started college, but I continued to play piano on a nearly daily basis from that point on, keeping my technical skills at a very advanced level. I played trumpet in school bands starting in the 5th grade, and switched to French Horn in the 8th grade. The appeal of the horn may have had something to do with its rich, warm sound, its intricacy and complexity, and the demands that it placed on me to play with a high degree of pitch accuracy. I loved the challenge of playing accurately on the horn then, and I still do. As a horn student, I have studied with Jacqueline Shannon, Kathy Farner, Kathy Colton, Lawrence Lowe, Elizabeth Ward, Jeff Snedeker, Rodger Burnett and Stacey Eliason. As a horn performer, I have played with community and regional professional orchestras in the Seattle area, Central Washington, Olympia, in the Tacoma Youth Symphony, and in numerous ensembles in college.

I have studied music at Tacoma Community College, Brigham Young University and Central Washington University. I received Bachelor of Arts in Music at Central Washington University. I plan on attending graduate school in the future, focusing on music composition and film composition, as well as French Horn and piano performance.

As a music composer, I have written works for many different ensembles, choral works, solo piano pieces, and works for solo instruments. I am drawn to rich harmonies and beautiful melodies, as well as interesting timbres and musical variety, in my own music and that of the music I listen to. I am easily able to visualize music in color, and I have a thorough understanding of how the elements of music combine together to affect emotions in listeners. This is one of the reasons that I am currently pursuing film and media composition.

As a student, teacher, performer and music composer, I know that there are countless musical topics that students are curious about. I feel that students should feel free to ask any question in the field of music, even if it may seem like a "dumb" question. I value the sincerity and passion for good music that so many students have. I will help you acquire the knowledge and skills that you need, so that you can see more clearly your own musical goals. Previous and current students I have, each have made improvements in their own playing and knowledge of music, some of whom have made vast improvements in their playing and knowledge of music.

As I have taught music privately for a little while now, and can reasonably compare how I teach with other instructors that I know well, I can say with certainty that there are at least a few areas of my teaching that are somewhat unique and highly beneficial for certain students, if not most students. I value ear training and using flashcards with beginner students quite a bit, and am fond of teaching not only the "nuts and bolts" of music, but also, how music "works", such that a student of mine can write their own music if they have the desire to do so. I also try to assign a wide variety of music for each student (which differs according to each student's musical interests, abilities, and areas of their playing that need to be improved), especially as they improve and approach the intermediate levels of playing. There are many reasons I do this, but for the student, it is very important that they do not feel particularly "bored" with the music they are playing. I also have found that students who have a more sensitive nature tend to be more comfortable with the way I teach, as I reserve higher, stricter expectations for more advanced, older students. I also try to always be as patient, kind, and considerate with every student as I can be. Lastly, I highly encourage questions and feedback at any time during a lesson, and I try to create an atmosphere where the student feels comfortable to do so.

I accept students from seven years old on up, but I prefer horn students to be at least ten years old before starting lessons, unless they have noticeably greater abilities to focus for a certain period of time than other children their age.

Note to parents of new students: Please read the following if you are interested in music lessons for you or your children:

1.) Please let me know in advance, in person, if you are discontinuing lessons or looking at having a different music instructor, etc.

2.) I am currently teaching in the Kirkland and Redmond areas on Monday. Tuesday I am in North Seattle and Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, etc. (I also currently have more availability after school on Tuesday.) Wednesday I am in the Woodinville area. Thursday I am also in the Woodinville area. Friday I am in the North Bothell area. Saturday I am in the Brier and Martha Lake areas, and currently have more availability for lessons on this day.

3.) Please refer solely to TakeLessons for billing (for music lessons).

4.) I am only interested in teaching students who are going to stick with music lessons for at least a half year or so, roughly speaking. Please inquire about other teachers if this does not fit the desires of you or your children, regarding music lessons.

Employment and Musical Experience:

Transcription Work for David Templeton, Composer, 2010

Private Composition Instructor, January 2009-Present

Private Horn Instructor, January 2009-Present

Private Piano Instructor, Fall 2006-Spring 2007, January 2009-Present

Summer Camp Counselor: Lutheran Summer Music, Summer 2006

Principal Horn: Ensign Symphony Orchestra, December 2014

Second Horn: Thalia Symphony Orchestra, 2016-present

Fourth Horn: Olympia Symphony, September 2012

Third Horn: Mid-Columbia Symphony, February-May 2007

Second Horn: Washington East Opera, Barber of Seville, January 2006

Substitute Third Horn: Yakima Symphony, Winter 2006

Third/Fourth Horn: Wenatchee Symphony, Fall 2005

Substitute Horn: Leavenworth Summer Music Theater: Summer 2005

1st Horn: Shoreline Community Church, Christmas 2004

Principal Horn: Central Washington University Symphony, Chamber Orchestras

Principal Horn: Central Washington University Wind Ensemble

Finalist, Northwest Horn Workshop Mock Auditions, March 2005


Education:

Graduate, Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program

Post-Baccalaureate Music Education Courses: Central Washington University, 2006-2007

Bachelor of Arts in Music: Central Washington University, Summer 2006

Associate of Arts and Sciences: Tacoma Community College, Fall 2002


Other:

Eagle Scout

Served 2 Year Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Music Composer/Arranger

*** Lesson Details ***
I have always wanted people I interact with to be, as a general rule, comfortable and relaxed in any setting. This certainly applies to the students I teach. However, students can expect that musical improvement will only occur through daily practice and constant effort. That being said, I am more interested in helping students overcome any difficulties in this area through reviewing their own practice habits and motivations, rather than using harsh discipline. It is crucial that students see the connection between their own practicing and musical improvement. Once this occurs, they can take more responsibility for their own progress with that added awareness.

The material chosen for each student will vary considerably, depending on their current knowledge, experience and ability level, innate abilities, musical tastes and priorities. The progress that is made will, to a large extent, be determined by the student's practice habits and natural ability. However, over the course of a few months or so, students should see noticeable improvement in their own musical abilities, if they practice and pay attention during lessons.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Piano, music stand, computer/printer, metronome

*** Travel Equipment ***
-French Horn: pencil, mute, tuner/metronome, maintenance/cleaning supplies, some books depending on if it is a first lesson, etc. I bring my own horn, and expect the student to have their horn. I also expect them to have a music journal to use as a reference for practicing and keeping track of their progress. Occasionally, I will employ a recording device for the purpose of assessing personal teaching effectiveness, or for the student to evaluate their progress/record their practicing.
-Piano: Metronome, pencil, some books if it is a first lesson, music journal, possibly a recording device from time to time.
-Music Theory/Composition: Music paper, pencil, music journal.

*** Specialties ***
Regarding method of instruction/teaching style, I am student oriented, and tend to adapt to each student's personality and learning style. I tend to teach more in the classical genres, with some pop/film music thrown in for variety (from time to time). I prefer using the Bastian, Alfred, and/or John Thompson piano methods, and Pottag-Hovey, Maxime-Alphonse books, etc. for French Horn.

Reviews

Write a Review
4.6
17 Reviews
5
76%
4
18%
3
0%
2
6%
1
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Janie J.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Great teacher even with a language barrier.

Posted Mar 12, 2020
Jeana J.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Shared lots of knowledge about his musical expertise. Excellent working with my 9 year old.

Posted Mar 12, 2020
Tam
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Ben is a wonderful teacher! He is very dedicated and patient. My kids play piano greatly improved since they started with Ben.

Posted Oct 10, 2017
Lynn
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Ben is great if you want your child to love piano. He is a fun teacher and was very patient with my son, who was a bit turned off from music due to prior experiences. He actually wrote songs for my son to play since he needed more time at the beginner level. He was great when my son was nervous at recitals and festivals and had strategies to help him deal with nerves.

Posted Sep 14, 2017
Ryan /.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Not good for beginners. Ben is knowledgeable, however.

Posted Sep 14, 2017
Chloe J.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Ben has a remarkable ability to engage a six-year-old, extremely active, and pretty lax piano practicer. She loves her lessons but not so much the practice.

Thanks Ben

Posted Sep 4, 2017
Melissa
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Great with my girls, on time and very patient. We are new to the piano, and he does a great job working at their level. He is also very kind and fun to talk to.

Posted Nov 30, 2016
Lucas C.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

So far, Ben has been very patient with my two children, aged 6 and 8 years. He's punctual and answers all our questions.

Posted Feb 3, 2016
Isabella C.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

So far, Ben has been very patient with my two children, aged 6 and 8 years. He's punctual and answers all our questions.

Posted Feb 3, 2016
Erik R.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

He wrote us a list of what Erik needs for music, he said that he is going to write some music as well, and recommended us to have our instrument tuned and cleaned. He had his instrument out and ready to play with him when we arrived.

Posted Jan 27, 2016
SANG H.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Ben has a positive appearance that could make people feel welcome. Not just the piano skill but he is also knowledgeable in classical music history. I highly recommend him.

Posted Jan 7, 2016
Sam 9.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Ben G. has had 5 lessons with my sons an 11year old & a 9 year old. He observed their personalities while taking notice where their abilities were on the piano. Which allowed Ben to quickly understand how to plan his lessons to cater to each boy. My boys are enjoying lessons from Ben. They like watching him play their music in an entertaining way to show them how different a song can sound. Which keeps them interested in playing the piano. He is kind and attentive and makes learning fun. We appreciate the lessons Ben is creating for our sons.

Posted Sep 26, 2015
Sheila M.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

I was apprehensive to the type of instructor I would hire. As we got over the first two sessions and able to get more acquainted, I like that Ben paid attention to the type of music I wanted to learn and tailored his lesson based on my skills level.

Posted May 29, 2014
DeidreD

This Music Man is great!

Having taken piano lessons for over 40 years on and off, Ben is a refreshing change. He makes me laugh and learn in new ways and has rejuvinated my love of playing music. (Even though I had to bring out the dusty Hanon book!)

Posted Jul 27, 2012
DaynaT

Tre's mom; REALTOR/Broker

Ben is teaching Tre wonderfully. He is really getting to know Tre and adjust the lessons accordingly. Tre likes his lessons and seems engaged in the songs, material (theory, practice book and flash cards) and process. It helps that Ben is patient, seems to be a good listener and gives helpful praise when Tre gets a concept or improves in his technique. Keep doing what your doing Ben. We care that it is all a positive experience for everyone : )Dayna

Posted May 3, 2011
PearlS

Hi Ben,We won't be going forward with any lessons. Please pass this along to TakeLessons.Dad is doing well, but is definitely experiencing greater loss of abilities.Thank you again for the time you spent with him!Pearl

Posted May 19, 2010
DesireeT

Great

My seven year old has had a great time learning with Ben, he has made learning the piano a great time for! Isabella has only been playing for a little over a month and has learned so much! Thank you very much Ben! You have been wonderful with Isabella. She has enjoyed every lesson!

Posted Apr 23, 2010

Photos & Videos

Education

Certificate of Completion, Film Scoring
Jul 2009 - Jun 2011

Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program

Bachelor of Arts in Music
Apr 2003 - Jun 2006

Central Washington University

Associates of Arts and Sciences
Jun 2000 - Dec 2003

Tacoma Community College

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