Toon de Gouw

Vision on teaching

Exploring – Reflecting – Learning –


My vision on teaching, first of all, is to help the learner to learn instead of teaching the textbook. The way you think about things and how you handle them, will be reflected in your learning and playing.Accordingly, I will often ask about your own opinion. What have you experienced in terms of your thoughts and feelings? Consequently, having the right self-criticism is paramount.


Improvisation is not simply about playing a (jazz) solo, but it appeals to your creative process. In a way, improvisation is difficult to be taught, as it can only be learned. It is still a personal expression of something, despite the rules that apply. So, I'm not sure that it is possible to teach how to do it. I think it's possible to say: these are ways how to do it and how it can be used in a musical context. Hence, I don't teach you, I'll make you learn.


At the same time, we approach craftsmanship. Here you can think of technical skills, jazz theory, style, repertoire and analysis. My attention is mainly focused on 'how' to play things. What does it express? We may start with the translation of the music and chord symbols. Then, when this is understood, we'll go to the next level; the interpretation...... the language of music, the idiom which is related to the style of music. This also can be done contrariwise as an exercise in solfege and spontaneity.



Trumpeter Toon de Gouw started playing at the age of 11. In 1977 he met pianist/bassist and composer Niko Langenhuijsen, who introduced him to jazz music.

Toon played in many of Langenhuijsen's bands and those of other bandleaders. He studied jazz and trumpet from 1979 till 1985 at the conservatory in Rotterdam. After finishing his studies he was appointed as head teacher for jazz trumpet at the same school.


Only a few years later he started to teach in Antwerp (Begium) and the conservatory in Tilburg as well. He played all over Europe, U.S., Canada and Japan in many different bands and orchestras, from bigband, bebop, free jazz, up to latin music, as a soloist and leadtrumpet player.


In 2002 he succesfully finished his training in acupuncture. He had many years training in personal development and did various studies in human behaviour, concerning help to people that suffer from all sorts of health problems.

This specific training and experience he has now integrated in his teaching methods.

Subsequently, he started a class in which consciousness and guided self-reflection takes a central place, intended for any jazz or classical student.

Ambience photo Fontys