Bill Stevens

(Earl's) interests in jazz did not grow until he met Bill Stevens in ninth grade. Mr. Stevens was the jazz band director at FSSA until he retired in 2015. He was an incredible trumpet player, and had a unique way of teaching music to young people. A whole new viewpoint and perspective was introduced to (Earl) by Mr. Stevens. In Simons’ eyes, Mr. Stevens impacted him with the way he approached jazz in class. Jazz began to be the music that he really liked. “It was a way I had never experienced it,” Simons continued. “Mr. Stevens would help our technique to improve, and he treated everybody equal in Big Band by giving opportunities to everyone.”

From "Giant Steps in Jazz" November 9, 2017
The Bennett, featured article on trumpet player Earl Simons by Astra Rincon


Bill Stevens has recently retired as of February 1, 2016 after 25 years of service in the New York City Department of Education as the Assistant Principal - Administration, Supervisor of Performing Arts, Film and Fine Art and the Director of Jazz Studies at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens.

Currently Bill has directed and coordinated student Jazz programs with the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, the Lucy Moses School and the New York Jazz Workshop.


I play a 1948 Martin Committee model trumpet and a Yamaha YFH-631 flugelhorn (1979). Both my trumpet and flugelhorn mouthpieces are custom made by Giardinelli, New York and Greg Black Mouthpieces. I also own a Yamaha YTR-634 trumpet (1979) and a Benge 3X trumpet (1972). 


While in high school in Syracuse, New York two individuals, my high school band director Burt Dunlap and Jazz drummer George Reed, taught me that the study of music, and Jazz improvisation in particular, requires dedication. Years later, in my studies with Jack Walrath and Joe Solomon, I have learned that the study of music is a life long journey best taken slowly. What is learned during this journey must be shared with your peers and passed on to the next generation.


As a doctor diagnoses each patient, my mission as a teacher is to seek each individual student looking to expand their musical knowledge through the long term qualities of mastery of their instrument through deep practice to develop the musical concepts of style, taste, communication, chord/scale theory including the study of chord progressions and rhythm. 

An explanation of each quality:

1. Mastery of the Instrument – the ability to execute

the ideas that you hear quickly and easily

2. Style – your voice, your statement of who you are

3. Taste – is a process of elimination, choosing what to play,

when to play and the use of incorporating space

4. Communication – the direct link between you and

the band and between you and the audience

5. Chord /Scale Theory & the Study of Chord Progressions –

to learn and become familiar with

nomenclature, chord progressions and scale choices.

6. Rhythm – is what will combine all of the

prior elements into a cohesive statement


Private lessons are available on trumpet, Jazz improvisation and composition/arranging

Many of my concepts in teaching Jazz Improvisation were passed to me through my studies with Joe Solomon who studied this material as a student himself with Lennie Tristano and Sal Mosca. Please find below the teaching concepts of Lennie Tristano and Sal Mosca as taught to me by Joe Solomon.


I discovered this book called Trumpet Mechanics by Thomas Heberer and I found it to be very well organized. I believe that it is important to be a life-long learner and continually search for new material for your own growth, as well as for the growth of your students. It follows and explains much of what I, and no doubt we, teach with my(our) own trumpet students. I have posted it here as a reference to share. I want to thank and give credit to Thomas Heberer for posting this document on the internet.



Bill Stevens is also available for clinics on the following:
* Ensemble Rehearsal Techniques
* Brass, Woodwinds, Keyboards, Bass and Drums
* The Rhythm Section
* Jazz Improvisation - Click here to see my Jazz_Improvisation_Method_Book.pdf


For the college level student majoring in Jazz Studies, view a draft of my Jazz_Pedagogy_Curriculum.pdf 

As a 25 year teacher and administrator with the New York City

Department of Education, I have recently assembled

a guide book for Assistant Principal's Administration/Organization

to assist in the day-to-day operations of a

public or private high school. Administrative_Guide_Book.pdf


For information and rates, use the contact tab to email me.