James Blackwell

James B.

Lancaster, PA
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100% Satisfaction Guarantee

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Lesson Details



James passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
James delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 9 to 85 and special needs

Teaching since:
March 2003

Hi there, My name is James Blackwell and I love trumpet playing!

While it can be frustrating from time to time - especially before developing your confidence as a trumpet player - learning what it takes to make daily progress as a trumpet player is incredibly rewarding and super fun! I am passionate about sharing these insights with students so that you may discover your sound and play the music you enjoy as quickly as possible!

As an instructor, you can expect lessons that are practical, straight-forward and easy to understand. The concepts that I impart on my students are those that have helped me survive a career as a full-time lead trumpet player and the challenges associated with performing every day.

My approach is to learn and develop the basic fundamentals of efficient brass playing. When you get your habits straight, the rest comes easily. Unfortunately, many students fall into some not-so-helpful habits along the way, and may find themselves struggling with range, quality of sound and endurance - even after many years of playing. However, with some simple and encouraging guidance, you can learn to master the instrument and the the music you enjoy!

All lessons offer both clear explanations and laid-out progressions that start where you are, and get you moving in the right direction from the start.

I do hope to see you for a lesson. All age groups are welcome to apply and I love teaching beginners. If you have particular needs you are wondering about, please send along a message and I will respond as soon as possible.

A bit about me...I began playing 23 years ago and hold two degrees in jazz trumpet performance - one from the University of North Texas where I played lead trumpet in the GRAMMY nominated One O'clock Lab Band, and another from the University of Southern California. During this time, I spent nine years in Los Angeles as a professional trumpet player recording for television, record dates and many types of live performances from the theater pit to the 10,000 seat rock show.

I am currently the lead trumpet player for the Brian Setzer Orchestra (of The Stray Cats fame) and have held that position since 2012. Aside from this, I love jazz, improvisation, and the big band style - everything from the early swing era to the contemporary writers of today is my music of choice!

As a lead and jazz trumpet player I have performed with Bob Mintzer, Carl Saunders, Scott Whitfield, Rich Perry, Willis (Bill) Holman, Ron Stout, Peter Erskine, Poncho Sanchez and many others.

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Featured Soloist
Feb 2014 - Present
Theme song to Amazon's hit show, "Bosch"

Lead Trumpet
Nov 2012 - Present
The Brian Setzer Orchestra (of the Stray Cats)

Split Lead-Trumpet
Feb 2014 - Sep 2018
Bill Holman Big Band


Masters Jazz Studies (Performance)
Sep 2009 - May 2011
University of Southern California
Jazz Studies (Performance)
Sep 2003 - May 2009
The University of North Texas


Fluent / Native Proficiency


GRAMMY Nomination
Feb 2017
Bob Mintzer All-LA big Band
Feb 2016
Clare Fischer Big Band record "Ritmo!"
GRAMMY Nomination
Feb 2010
The University of North Texas' "Lab -09"

Photos & Videos

I'm the guy with the hat. Mike Barone big band "Birdland" recording session.

Brian Setzer Orchestra trumpet 2013.

FOX morning football broadcast.

The microphone hears all!

Recording sessions are the best because you don't need to dress up for work! :-)

Sometimes you gotta practice in the car...

EMMY Awards

W/ the legendary jazz composer and arranger, Bill Holman

Magnolia studios, North Hollywood.
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3 Reviews

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Justin Apr 27, 2019
Music Performance · In studio

James is a superb musician. He is so because he is a superb thinker and problem solver. He understands how learn and effect change and does so with infectious humor.

It would be the delight of any young musician to study with James. The payoff from James’ tutelage would last a lifetime. I can attest to this from my own experience. Over the many years of our friendship, I am always learning new things from James that help in so many ways.

He is a good teacher.

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Walter Apr 15, 2019
Trumpet · In studio

James is a serious trumpet player who understands how to teach what he does. I’ve expertises his online trumpet course and personal trumpet lessons. In both environments he is energetic and passionate while still keeping a level of compassion I wouldn’t expect from a trumpet player of his level.

He’s taken great pains to understand how to teach the mechanics of the trumpet while still keeping the goal making music. I appreciate how he would always address my airflow in terms of how it affects my music making.

James is a master teacher and I am extremely grateful for all of his help. He has made me a better musician. I highly recommend studying with him if you can, you won’t find anyone better.

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Nick Apr 15, 2019
Music Performance · In home

James is the guy in the trumpet section laying down powerful and accurate lead over everyone else while looking like he is doing something as easy as potting plants. Not only is he a first-rate trumpeter and educator, but also extremely relatable, reliable, organized, and fun.

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