Thomas J. W. is an active music teacher, composer, adjudicator, and clinician in the greater Philadelphia area. He has over fifteen years experience as a concert band director, marching band director, jazz improvisation instructor, choral director, private instructor, and marching drill writer. His directing career has included small rural band programs, small metro programs, large high-achieving suburban programs, and non-profit youth bands. In addition to his band compositions, he also has over forty unpublished vocal arrangements to his credit, most written for use with collegiate men's a cappella groups. Thomas taught over 600 online and local private music lessons in 2016.
Thomas has a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from The Pennsylvania State University. He holds a teaching certificate in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has taught at the secondary level in both states. In addition to both instrumental and choral ensembles at Penn State, Thomas was a student leader in the Penn State Blue Band and a member of the brass section of the Cadets of Bergen County Drum and Bugle Corps in 1993 and 1994. He served as an Associate Director of the Warren Junior Military Band of Youngstown, Ohio from 1995 to 2005. He also served as a visual staff member for the renowned North Penn Marching Knights of Lansdale, PA for one season in 2004.
He is a current adjudicator with Drum Corps International and Cavalcade of Bands. He is a member of MENC, PMEA, NJMEA, ASCAP, CASA, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and the National Band Association. He appeared in the Marquis Who's Who Among American Educators in 2004 and 2005, an honor rarely bestowed upon teachers, as students who appear in the Who's Who Among American High School Students must nominate them. He currently is a music teacher at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts of the PA Leadership Charter School in West Chester, PA and resides in Downingtown, PA with his wife and two sons.
Thomas will happily work with students on the autism spectrum or students with ADD.
*** Lesson Details ***
My lessons are tailored to the needs and interests of each student. If a student is involved in school music ensembles, we will work with their lesson books from school in addition to material outside of the books, including SmartMusic, Noteflight, and teacher-created materials. We will focus on building proper tone production and individual technique - something that often is difficult to learn in a large ensemble setting.
I am capable of starting a beginner student on any band instrument including percussion, any classical string instrument (violin, viola, cello, string bass), and piano. I can begin a student on drum set and work with them through their first method book, but I would then recommend they find a specialized drum set teacher after a period of six to twelve months.
For advanced students, I work from selected conservatory etude books on developing advanced skills and can work with students on audition pieces for honors bands/orchestras or college auditions.
My lessons are a half-hour once a week, with the option of working for 45 minutes or 60 minutes.
*** Specialties ***
music, band, orchestra, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, violin, viola, cello, string bass, piano, Percussion
classical, jazz improvisation
Teaching since 1998
BS Music Education from The Pennsylvania State University
Thomas is honestly an amazing musician and teacher. He was really patient with me. Despite having to deal with major timezone differences (as I live in Myanmar), he took the time to figure it out. Also, he helped me figure out the stuff it took me months to figure out. He also really knows what he's doing. I learned so much in that hour of practice. 10/10 would recommend him.Show More
Fabulous! What a great teacher! And SO KNOWLEDGEABLE about all kinds of music! THANKS! looking forward to all my lessons!
Tom was my 10-year-old daughter's violin teacher, he is very kind, patient and professional.
I love my lessons. In only a few lessons, Thomas has given me some tips that I have been trying to figure out for years. He is very kind and knowledgable.
We were in a tough position getting ready for a performance that we were not prepared for. It was a big help to have a few sessions with Thomas.
My son was very nervous about his first online lesson. His instructor had him start right in on the lesson, which helped my son quickly get over his nerves. By the end of the lesson, he was all smiles and feeling very confident about his ability to play a very hard piece for his solo contest. He is looking forward to his next lesson.Show More
Thomas is so thorough & detailed oriented/ great with first-timers
I really enjoyed by first lesson with Mr. West, he was very knowledgeable , it was a lot better than I expected.
After well over a year with Thomas, he is still the best instructor! Patient, insightful and generous in his knowledge and experience- looking for a great teacher? Thomas is the one.
iI just finished doing a lesson with Thomas, and he has helped me tremendously wiTh my scales and embrasure building
Excellent. Great lesson
Mr. West is very knowledgeable and patient, my daughter enjoyed the lessons!
Very pleased with the first lesson. Our daughter has rare special needs and he was terrific with her
First lesson was a great success, Mr. West got straight to work and had my son sounding much better after only half an hour. Looking forward to my son gaining skill and confidence with Mr. West's guidance.
Mr. West is wonderful, so knowledgeable. My daughter is looking forward to her trombone lessons with him.
Great, knowledgeable and patient!
Thomas is very nice and very open to suggestions regarding what we should work on to achieve my flute aspirations. Very pleasant experience!
Very good for an 8yr old beginner!
Thomas West is a delightful person and a good teacher. Thank you.
I learned a lot! Thank you Tom.
It was excellent! Thomas is very good and I learned a lot. I thank you very much! I appreciate it very much! 😊
My son was very pleased to have learned a new technique during the lesson.
Thomas always does a great job on my lessons. He is professional, patient and and all around pleasure to work with.
The decision to take lessons online has really worked out.
Mr. West is an amazing teacher! He helps you figure out your notes, pieces, scales, etc., etc., and even takes the time to write out music sheets! I look forward to every lesson with him! -Spring Z. (Student)
I am really pleased with Tom's approach and simplification of cello basics others have made so complex! The instruction was easy to follow leaving me with the ability to play 3 scales the first lesson (with practice of course). I felt like there was hope for someone like me taking up cello so much later in life.Show More
It seemed like a great first lesson. My son was comfortable and got directly to learning. We are confident that Mr. West will have him caught up with the rest of the 7th grade band in no time!
Great introductory lesson and Izabella is very excited. Thank you.
Thomas did a great job teaching the lesson. He really knows his stuff and how to teach it! He wasted no time chit chatting and got right into instructing our son. Our son is looking forward to his next lesson.
Great lesson, Thomas took the time to take a song I wanted to learn to play and create notes so I may play them.
Today was our first lesson with Tom. He was very pleasant, professional and made my daughter feel
Very much at ease. She is looking forward to her next lesson!!
Tom is absolutely wonderful!! I highly recommend him.
Mr. West is great.He is my teacher at my school and has helped both my cello playing and my Trombone Improv so much. He is really knowledgeable and dedicated to helping his students excel in their area of interest.
Thomas has been a great teacher for my son. He knows how to interact with him to get him interested and involved and inspire him to work hard.
We have found Mr. West to be knowledgeable, patient, and very good with advanced beginner/intermediate young musicians. (My son is 12 and fairly new to the trombone.) Mr. West is organized, professional, and has a good step-by-step plan for improving their playing. We recommend him highly!Show More
- Levels Taught:
- Beginner, Intermediate
I have been singing with contemporary a cappella groups and barbershop quartets for over 20 years and can coach students on the basic and intermediate levels of vocal percussion
KeyStone A Cappella
I am an arranger and tenor vocalist for a part-time professional contemporary a cappella group based in Philadelphia, PA.
The A Cappella Project - Philadelphia
I sit on the board of directors of this non-profit organization, organizing and executing all of their educational programming.
Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School
I currently teach all band and orchestra classes in grades 6-12, jazz studies in grades 9-12, and digital music composition in grades 9-12 for a unique Center for Performing and Fine Arts program. I also direct the award-winning extra-curricular ensemble the CPFA Jazz Mavericks.
Lindenwold Public Schools
I taught all band activities, grades 9-12, at Lindenwold High School, Lindenwold, NJ. This included marching band and jazz band.
North Penn School District
I taught 7th and 8th grade band and directed the pit orchestra for Penndale Middle School. I was also a visual staff member for the renown North Penn High School Marching Knights.
Muncy Area School District
Taught all band, choral, and general music classes, grades 7-12, including marching band, concert band, jazz band, chorus, and keyboarding
The Pennsylvania State University
Fluent / Native Proficiency
New Jersey Department of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
The Pennsylvania State University
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