Timmy Barnett

Timmy (he/him) holds a master’s degree in performance from Ball State University. He has played for numerous orchestras, and also performs a wide variety of music such as experimental rock with !mindparade, traditional Irish with the Indianapolis Ceili Band, and even electroacoustic. Lessons with Timmy take a holistic approach to learning an instrument, touching on everything from theory, to composition, to playing by ear.


What age were you when you first started taking music lessons?


Tell us about an early music lessons experience that helped shape you as a musician or teacher:
Three people really stand out in my mind as helping shape me as a musician: my mom, my orchestra teacher, and my private lessons teacher, who I took lessons with for four and a half years. My mom was always very supportive of me. She is a professional pianist, and was able to help guide me. Eventually I started taking lessons with a member of the Indianapolis Symphony. He really helped my playing become more professional; I learned a lot from him. I also played in a string quartet that my mom coached, starting in eighth grade. We played a lot of events around the area. That was definitely a big deal for me.
What are your favorite bands or musicians?

J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Baroque (and classical continuo players and composers of the time), Ravel, Debussy, traditional jazz musicians (Parker, Monk, Powell, Davis, Hancock), fusion jazz musicians (Headhunters, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Return to Forever), Ben Johnston, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Snarky Puppy, Chris Thile.

Do you have a highlight of your music career so far that you would like to share?
I premiered a piece by a group called Nine Horses. It was a thing for Ball State, where they wrote a piece for Ball State musicians. I really like one of the violinists in that group, Sarah Caswell. She’s a jazz violin improviser, she plays really well. I got to play with her for this piece and I thought that was pretty awesome. Another memorable concert was during my senior year of high school. I played with the marching band as a violin soloist, and I got to play for more people than I probably ever will again at the Lucas Oil Stadium. I played there twice. It was crazy getting to play in front of so many people.
Describe your ideal student.
I don’t have any preference in terms of experience, or even the kind of music that the student wants to learn. The biggest thing for me is interest. My ideal student, youth or adult, is happy to be at the lesson and genuinely interested in what we’re learning.
Describe what your students should expect in their first few music lessons.
My teaching style is very holistic. I don’t just focus on the primary instrument in lessons. I get into enough theory and composition that a student can understand basic improvisation, ear training, reading music, and more. My biggest thing is that I’m not trying to send a student down any path, like “This student is going to be a classical player,” or “This student is going to be a jazz player.” I just want my students to be exposed to as many different things as possible. I see less of genres, and more of just music in general.
Why did you want to become a music teacher?
When I was going through college, I didn’t know that I wanted to teach yet. I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy it as much as I know I do now. It took trying it and starting to do it regularly for me to realize how gratifying it is. Teaching something so awesome is what keeps me going. It’s the subject that I relate to most.
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