Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Photo Gallery of Edmonds Community College’s 5th Annual Veterans Day Celebration

Posted by glennled on November 24, 2017

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Color Guard, VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood

As Dr. Jean Hernandez, President, Edmonds Community College (ECC), plans to retire at the end of this year, she leaves behind the thriving Veterans Resource Center (VRC) among the many credits in her education career legacy. This was evident during the recent 5th Annual Veterans Day Celebration at the Black Box Theatre on 1 November.

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L to R: Dr. Jean Hernandez, Glenn Ledbetter, and Chris Szarek, during “To the Color.”

Under the leadership of Chris Szarek, VRC sponsored the event and was touted as a model program for other community colleges. Mr. Szarek is a U.S. Navy Seabee (retired).

Please see VRC’s webpage (https://www.edcc.edu/veterans/) and my posts on this blog of 28 June 2017, 20 July 2016, 18 August 2015, and 17 June 2014.

I was again honored to sound the bugle call, “To the Color,” at the opening of the program. Dr. Hernandez was the Guest of Honor; Jade Jeter-Hill was the Emcee; Dr. Bill Keppler, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) Emeritus, was the Guest Speaker; and the POW/MIA White Table Ceremony was led by Jen Matthews, Director, Black Box Theater. During a slide show of ECC veteran students, staff and faculty, a trio of T.C. Kouyeas, Jr., Chris Szarek, and Kelvin Nesvog, performend “I Won’t Back Down,” composed by the late Tom Petty.

Below is a photo gallery of a few of the people who participated in this year’s ceremony. Photos are courtesy of VRC, ECC. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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“Taps” at Annual Skyline Memorial Walk in Seattle

Posted by glennled on November 19, 2017

IMG_5975What’s it like, when Veterans Day rolls around each November and Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day are fast approaching, to live in a retirement community? If you’ve lost a spouse or child or family or friends or pets, it might be quite lonely. Why not remember, honor, and celebrate those who have passed? That’s the idea behind the 3rd Annual Memorial Walk at Skyline at First Hill, a Presbyterian retirement community in downtown Seattle near St. James Cathedral and Harborview Hospital.

The Memorial Walk is in a lovely courtyard between the facility’s two wings: Skyline Towers (for independent living) and Skyline Terraces (for assisted living). Adjacent is a IMG_5972room where the ceremony was conducted on 8 November. In the weeks prior, residents were asked to submit the names of people they want to be remembered. This year, some 200 names were reverently read aloud to the attendees. Afterwards, people wandered through the courtyard, remembering again.

For more information and photos, please see my post of 10 November 2016. Simply click on that month in the left column of this blog. For the second year in a row, I was honored to sound “Taps” on my Getzen bugle at the close of the ceremony.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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No School Band for 12-Year-Old Trumpeter on Mercer Island

Posted by glennled on November 18, 2017

What do you do when you’re 12 years old, and you love trumpet, but you move from one school with a band to another school without a band? You take private lessons from me! That’s what his mom decided for her son, who was a fifth grade band student at Clyde Boy_Playing_Cornet_Music_Clipart_Pictures[1]Hill Elementary School in Bellevue last year and is now a sixth grader at St. Monica Catholic School on Mercer Island, which has no band. He’s never had private lessons before, and now he’s my 38th trumpet student. Our first lesson was on 2 November. No one else in his family plays an instrument.

He’s sharp, learns quickly, and will soon be back in the form he had achieved last year. From there, the sky’s the limit.

I asked why he chose trumpet. Answer: mainly for its beautiful sound. Also, it can be loud and stand out among all the other instruments, which it often seems to lead. He likes its appearance, too, and with only three buttons, it looks easy to play. Isn’t that a good summary of what first attracted all of us trumpeters?

Someday, he’ll be at another school with a band, and he’ll be ready for it.

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Veteran (76) Takes Lessons to Sound “Taps” on His Bugle

Posted by glennled on November 17, 2017

Sounding “Taps” sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Just ask my 37th student who started with his first private lesson from me on 6 October 2017. He’s the captain of the Color Guard of VFW Post 3063 in Ballard in Seattle, and he wants to play “Taps” at various military memorials, ceremonies and funerals.

The B-flat bugle (without valves) can sound only harmonics, and “Taps” is comprised only four—G, C, and E on the staff and G above the staff. Moreover, there are only 24 notes in “Taps.” He signed up for five one-hour lessons. You might guess that that would be enough. Maybe so, if you’d played a brass instrument well in your youth. But if you didn’t, and you’re 76 years old? It’s not easy, my friend. Bugler[1] clip art

There are only a few beginning trumpet students in fifth grade who can hit that high G after 9 months of taking band classes at school. But of course, at that young age, band students don’t practice much at home, and their muscles are not yet fully developed.

So, since my man is determined to succeed and his wife is supportive, he can do it—if he is patient and practices regularly. First, he must gain control of the bugle. He must train his embouchure to hit, with consistent accuracy, the “sweet spots” in the slots for each of the four notes. He must learn to properly tongue those notes. Then, we’ll improve his tone and phrasing. He’ll learn how to breathe diaphragmatically and play with an open throat. When he sounds good in private at home, we’ll help him learn how to control his emotions when performing in public. He is my 37th private student and my first bugle-only student. Someday, he’ll master it.

Fortunately, he owns an outstanding bugle. That helps a lot. It’s the same one that I use–the Getzen Field Trumpet Model M2003E with B-flat and G tuning slides. I’ve mentioned it in numerous blog articles, and I featured it with photos at https://glennstrumpetnotes.com/2015/05/04/my-new-getzen-bugle-2-17-15/. You’ll find this model on the manufacturer’s website, http://www.getzen.com.

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42-Year Old Trumpet Student in Seattle

Posted by glennled on November 16, 2017

My 42-year old trumpet student used to play guitar by ear in a band, but then the band dissolved, and later, he fell in love with the trumpet after listening to great trumpeters trumpet-player-silhouette-clipart-10[1]like Miles Davis and Chet Baker. Now that he and his wife have moved into an apartment with a basement, he finally has room to make music again. That’s when he found me on the internet. His first private trumpet lesson was on 3 October.

He told me his goal is simply to play along with some of those great trumpeters for his own pleasure. I asked if he wanted to learn to read music. “Yes.” Ok, so we started with the instruction book, Progressive Beginner Trumpet by Peter Gelling (for more information, search the title on http://www.Amazon.com and elsewhere).

He has a great attitude, despite his discovery that playing trumpet it not as simple as it looks. Will he flame out, or will he make it? Dum-de-dum-dum…stay tuned. He’s got the ability, if he has the will. He’s coming along quite nicely because he’s practicing and improving regularly. And it’s my great pleasure to help him. My 36th trumpet student is still smiling, so I am, too, for him.

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“Masters of the (Band) Universe” Concert by Seattle Wind Symphony

Posted by glennled on October 12, 2017

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“Masters of the (Band) Universe” Concert, Seattle Wind Symphony, Shorecrest Performing Arts Center, Shoreline, Washington, 8 October 2017

 

“I get around round round I get around, from town to town (get around round round I get around),” sang The Beach Boys in 1964. And so did I, last Sunday, 8 Oct 2017, when I finally attended my first concert by the Seattle Wind Symphony (SWS). It took me only 7 years to find them—they were founded in 2011. And was it worth it? Yes!

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Trumpeters, Seattle Wind Symphony

This concert kicked off the 2017-2018 season. It was held at the Shorecrest Performing Arts Center on the campus of Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington. Named “Masters of the (Band) Universe,” the concert featured 7 works by composers Ralph Vaughan Williams, Vincent Persichetti, Frank Ticheli, Daniel Barry, Gordon Jacob, Percy Aldridge Grainger, and John Philip Sousa. SWS gave Barry’s In the Beginning its world premier performance at this concert! Fifty-three SWS members played, including five cornet/trumpet players, five horns, five trombones, two euphoniums, and two tubas.

SWS was formed to create a new Seattle sound, that of a wind symphony. Typically, a wind symphony has 50-60 brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments, plus an occasional piano, harp, or string bass, but no other strings. The tonal textures are thus different from orchestral symphonies. Their purpose is to present professional-quality symphonic wind music to the general public and thus model high music and performance standards for young musicians.

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Dr. Wayne Bailey

The current Artistic Director and Conductor is Dr. Wayne Bailey, a trumpeter and Professor of Music at Arizona State University where, in the spring semester, he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in conducting and conducts instrumental ensembles. He is the author of five widely-used music textbooks, one of which is of special interest to me, since I have been teaching private trumpet lessons since 2009: “Teaching Brass: a Resource Manual.” Dr. Bailey and his wife live in Lacey, Washington most of the year.

Larry Gookin, a trombonist and the first SWS conductor, participated in the concert last Sunday, too. He helped Dr. Bailey honor the founding president of SWS, Gerard Kern, clarinetist. Then he conducted Persichetti’s Pageant. Mr. Gookin is SWS’s Artistic Director and Conductor Emeritus. From 1981-2015, he was Director of Bands at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. He also served as the Associate Chair and Coordinator of Graduate Studies at CWU.

Dr. Barry is not only an accomplished composer and conductor—he also is a trumpeter! Dr. Barry is a Fulbright Scholar and has over 50 published compositions for Jazz Orchestra which are performed worldwide by professional and student ensembles. He lives in Seattle, where he writes for and performs regularly with the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra and his own Celestial Rhythm Orchestra. SWS performed his River of Doubt in 2015. Last Sunday, he was in the audience to hear the world premier of his In the Beginning.

The current SWS President is Chris Barnes, principal tubist. SWS’s next concert is “In Their Honor” at Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center in Renton on Sunday 12 November at 3:00 p.m. According to SWS’s website, http://www.SeattleWindSymphony.org, this concert “salutes our veterans with music of the Armed Forces on Veteran’s Day weekend. The band plays marches, an armed services salute, and works specially written in honor of America and our veterans. The concert includes works by American composers Morton Gould, Samuel Barber, John Williams, Charles Ives, and John Philip Sousa.”

Finally, SWS sponsors an annual Young Artist Competition for which contestants must apply by 1 November. The winner will receive a $500 prize to further their music education and will perform with SWS at its “Some of Our Favorite Things” concert on 11 February 2018. For more information, see http://www.seattlewindsymphony.org/Concerts/Detail.php?ID=28.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Busking for VFW at Edmonds Veterans Plaza

Posted by glennled on October 11, 2017

 

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Glenn Ledbetter, busking at Veterans Plaza in Edmonds

The ad said that Saturday, 7 October, would be the last day this year for the Edmonds Museum Summer Market (see http://www.historicedmonds.org/summermarket). So I hustled down to the adjacent Veterans Plaza, set up my trumpet and cornet at about 10:30 a.m., and played for 1.5 hours until noon. It was the first time I’d done it since 1 July—my wife and I had traveled to Washington, D.C., Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England for most of July and August.

My repertoire of some 125 songs comes mostly from musicals and movies, plus patriotic songs. Kind and generous people came up to make donations and talk. Music brings out the best in us, doesn’t it? To me, that’s why God gave us beauty and spread so much artistic talent among all the nations and cultures on earth. I often ask my listeners, “What’s your favorite musical?” One woman said Hello, Dolly, so I played the title song. Another said Fiddler on the Roof, and I played “If I Were a Rich Man.” Sometimes I sing, too, just because it’s so much fun, not because I can sing well, believe me. I like to sing “O, What a Beautiful Morning,” “St. James Infirmary,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Shenandoah,” “When I Fall in Love,” “What a Wonderful World,” and a few others.

I raised $52 in that hour and a half. Then I gave half of it to VWF Post 8870 in Edmonds and VFW Post 1040 in Lynnwood, where I am the Post Bugler. Busking and teaching trumpet make me feel like Johnny Appleseed. Try it—you’ll like it, too.

 

 

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My 7th Year Teaching Brass at the “New” Skyview Middle School in Bothell

Posted by glennled on October 9, 2017

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This fall, for the first time, Skyview Middle School opened its doors—the same doors that belonged to Skyview Jr. High School ever since it was built 1993. SJHS served 7-8-9 grades, whereas the newly re-named SMS now serves 6-7-8 grades. And that has changed lots of things for band classes.

First-year band students (5th graders) still come early in the mornings, before regular classes start, but their lessons now begin 15 minutes later than in previous years. These classes remain 40 minutes in length. The schedule for second-year band students (6th graders), however, is more complex—different times on different days, but not before school, as in past years— these classes are part of the school curricula and are scheduled during the regular school day.

How do I know all this, and besides, who cares except the students and their parents? Well, I do. I’m teaching beginning brass again for the seventh year in the same building, in the same classrooms, as before, under the leadership of Mr. Charlie Fix, Band and Orchestra Director. IMG_5896 (2)

This year, Mr. Fix wants more variety, depth, and balance in the sound of the sixth grade band. In the past, few students switched instruments before the seventh grade. But this year, when he offered them the early opportunity, lots of sixth graders chose to switch. We now have more bassoons, alto and tenor saxophones, French horns, euphoniums, baritones and tubas than ever! Regrettably (for me), I lost some good trumpeters, but it’s good for both the kids and the band to have everybody playing the instruments they like best.

 

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Annual “15 Minutes of Fame” at the Independence Day Parade in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on July 10, 2017

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Lynnwood Community Band plays the famous march, “Washington Post,” at Edmonds Independence Day Parade, 2017

“9-11” changed everything. As we veterans marched in the parade through the streets of downtown Edmonds on Independence Day, the crowd of thousands continuously clapped and cheered. To us on this perfect, sunny, 71-degree day, the parade was a shower of blessings such as we ordinary men and women undoubtedly will never experience for anything else in our lives. We are not sports or rock stars.

I wore my black and white POW-MIA t-shirt—“You Are Not Forgotten.” I carried my beautiful Getzen Field Trumpet, proud to be the VFW Post 1040’s Bugler.

This parade is our annual “fifteen minutes of fame,” and I will drink of this fountain again next year, God willing.

Photos by Nancy MacDonald and Janelle Squires. Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

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Glenn, the Edmonds Trumpet Busker!

Posted by glennled on July 7, 2017

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Glenn Ledbetter, busking at Veterans Plaza in Edmonds. All donations ($128, so far) go to VFW.

I finally did it—public busking with my Getzen trumpet. It’s an idea that’s been germinating within me for a long time, especially since my wife and I enjoyed listening to a grisly, picturesque old accordion player on the bridge crossing the River Wear in Durham, England in August, 2014, and to a dandy Scottish bagpiper blasting his stirring tunes at the corner of Government and Belleville streets in downtown Victoria, B.C., Canada, on the many occasions we have visited there.  “That’s fun,” I thought. “I can do that.”

So, on three recent Saturdays in June and July, as Nike would advise, I just did it. I donned by veterans cap, American-flag T-shirt, and sat myself down in Veterans Plaza in downtown Edmonds, adjacent to the Saturday Market on 5th Ave. N. and Bell St. As people came and went, walking, sitting, eating, talking, listening, I played for two hours from my busking book of about 125 pieces of music, mostly taken from musicals and movies, plus some patriotic songs and marches.

In my open trumpet case, I placed the sign, “Your Donations Go to VFW.” One Saturday, people donated $48, another $35, and another $45. I sent the $128 to VFW Post 1040 (Lynnwood), where I am the Post Bugler, and VFW Post 8870 (Edmonds), which built the new, outstanding Veterans Plaza. The plaza was dedicated on Memorial Day, 29 May 2017.

Busking is indeed fun. People come up and say the nicest things. Toddlers dance. It’s true—music is the universal language of mankind. Just do it, and you’ll see.

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