Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Beginning Brass Teacher at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell—My Sixth Year!

Posted by glennled on October 4, 2016

quartetLucky me! Under the guidance of Charlie Fix, Band and Orchestra Director, I get to teach beginning brass again to 5th and 6th graders in the two elementary bands that practice and perform at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. Classes for 2nd-year band members began on 12 September and for 1st-year band members, today, 4 October.

This year, I have about 35 trumpet students, 10 trombones, and one French Horn. Some years, I have baritone players, too. This is my sixth year as a para-professional teacher in the Northshore School District.

In addition, I give private lessons to other students in the North Seattle-to-Edmonds and Eastside areas.

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31st Trumpet Student Comes from New Jersey to Bothell, Washington

Posted by glennled on September 22, 2016

picture4Last April, a family from Cherry Hill, New Jersey (just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia) moved cross-country when the Dad took a new job in Bothell, Washington. At Cherry Hill, the son attended Rosa International Middle School, which offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. He’s been playing trumpet since 4th grade and took private lessons back there, starting in the 6th grade. Now that he’s an 8th grader at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, he has become my 31st trumpet student. Our first private lesson was on 28 July.

Listening to music at a young age, he especially liked “Star Wars” and decided, “I can play an instrument, too.” He likes percussion—“rhythm is fun”—but so do lots of other kids. So his attention turned to saxophone, flute, and trumpet. Then he realized that the sound of the saxophone usually blends in with other sounds, and the flute isn’t very versatile. On the other hand, the trumpet can either blend in or stand out and often gets to play the melody. It can play all styles from classical to jazz—“It all works!” And it looks simple–only three buttons instead of all those keys. Only later did he learn how the embouchure complicates playing a brass instrument. So that’s how trumpet became his choice, and obviously, he’s happy with that decision.

He takes private lessons because he likes to excel at whatever he’s doing and wants to play in the lead group of the trumpet section. But he has no ambition to become a professional. He will eventually choose some other career. Meanwhile, being in the concert and jazz bands is fun, and he’s looking forward to playing in the marching and concert bands at the new North Creek High School. After that, he’d like to play in college, too.

That’s my privilege and challenge: to help him play well, be a leader, and enjoy doing it!

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Seattle Summer Music Camp’s Concert at Ballard High School

Posted by glennled on August 26, 2016

IMG_8427 - At Ballard High School

At Ballard High School, Seattle

If you’re a musician, you’re a performer, an entertainer. You’re meant to play for an audience. Naturally, you do it for your own pleasure, because you’re talented and it’s fun. But it’s a gift you share with others in a band or orchestra, and together, you give to an audience something of beauty and pleasure–music. If you’re good enough, they’ll even pay money to receive your gift.IMG_8531 - Copy

But imagine this: you attend a private school without a music program. You don’t get to perform at three concerts per school year like students in most other schools, even though you take private trumpet lessons year-round. That’s the predicament of one of my students. So, what does he do?

He attends the Seattle Music Camp in the summer! He did so last year and again this year at Ballard High School. And on 21 July, as a forthcoming 8th-grader, he played in a public concert for just the second time in his life. And he got to perform in both the Senior Band and the Jazz Band. Good for him. Well done!

This was the camp’s 63rd Annual Summer Music Evening Concert, held at Ballard High School on 21 July and headed by Mark Oesterle, a music teacher in the Seattle School District since 2001. The other five camp teachers were Lindsey Dustin (Junior Orchestra), Mika Armaly (Senior Orchestra), Katrina Sibicky (Junior Band), Aaron Hennings (Intermediate Band and Jazz Band), and Michael James (Chamber Ensemble and Senior Band).


Michael James conducts Senior Band at Seattle School District’s 2016 Summer Band Camp

Michael James is Director of Bands at Ballard High School. His award-winning Ballard Jazz Band has performed at three of the nation’s most prestigious jazz festivals—the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York City, Swing Central Jazz Festival in Savannah, Georgia, and Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, California. In April 2017, his Ballard Wind Ensemble will perform in Carnegie Hall at the New York International Music Festival.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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30th Trumpet Student Entering 6th Grade at Seaview Elementary School, Edmonds

Posted by glennled on August 20, 2016

Sunny summertime is just the perfect time for practicing trumpet, right? There’s nothingimagesF6I5OUG0 a new 6th grader at Seaview Elementary School in Edmonds would rather do than practice trumpet throughout the summer, right? Gotta take private lessons and get prepared for second year band, right? Well, maybe so. His Grandpa thinks so. But then again, maybe not. So, after one lesson on 11 July, my 30th trumpet student decided to put his horn back in its case and take the summer off. “Different strokes for different folks.” Maybe later…

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29th Trumpet Student is Law Professor from University of San Diego

Posted by glennled on August 5, 2016

You’re a 67-year old law professor at the University of San Diego (USD) with a 56-year old imagesG5V7PQYStrumpet sitting in your closet. Your parents bought it new for you when you were in about 5th grade in St. Louis. You played it until the 9th grade. After graduating from Yale, you earned a J.D. degree from the University of Texas School of Law, taught a law course in Miami, took a job teaching law at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale, IL, got married, and had a family. It’s there at SIU that you held tenure. Later, your son played your trumpet for a few years before he specialized in piano and sports and gave the trumpet back to you. And there it sat in the house while you taught law for 34 years. Then, in 2011, USD offered both you and your wife positions on the law school faculty. You’re now in your 40th year of teaching up to 7 different law courses. You’ve been a Visiting Professor at a dozen university law schools, including Seattle University in the summer of 2012. At USD, you are now the J. Lawrence Irving Distinguished Senior Teaching Fellow and Professor-in-Residence. (Please see And you took your trumpet with you to San Diego and kept it there until you brought it with you to Seattle in July this year.

Mark Lee, Law Prof, USD

Prof. Mark Lee, School of Law, University of San Diego

In all those years, you had periodic yearnings to play trumpet again. When you both decided to rent a house and vacation for a few weeks this summer in Seattle—where your son, wife and baby daughter live—she suggested that while you’re here, you do something you’ve always wanted to do but never did. You chose to bring along your trumpet and re-learn how to play it. So you found me on the internet, and we had our first private lesson at a studio in the Ted Brown Music store in the University District on 7 July.

I’ve asked Prof. Mark R. Lee why he chose trumpet when he was a kid. He says he’s always loved the trumpet’s pure, crystal-clear notes. They sometimes give him chilblains, he says, a cold feeling running up and down his spine, as if he’d been exposed for hours to cold but non-freezing weather. For him, the “Triumphal March” in Verdi’s opera, Aida, can produce that feeling.

He says he’s now taking lessons and practicing his trumpet simply for his own pleasure Marching Band Clip Artand enjoyment. He is a competitive person and generally likes to perform at the highest level he is capable of, but as for trumpet, he has no ambition or plans to play in an orchestra or band. If he did, he would prefer to play classical music, but he also loves marches and musicals. He’d love to play The Music Man, and to his surprise, he’s come to enjoy opera.

His trumpet is a Penn stencil horn. In other words, it’s a medium-to-high-quality horn made by an undisclosed trumpet manufacturer and engraved “Penn” on the bell. He says his parents paid $300 for it—quite an expense for them at that time, about 1959. He let me play it, and I was surprised at how free and open it is—little resistance and a solid tone with smooth valve action.

My 29th trumpet student and his wife return to San Diego in early August. Any time they come back to Seattle for a few weeks to see that granddaughter, I hope we will go for another round of lessons. Learning is fun, right, Professor?

Prof. Lee’s Penn stencil trumpet is shown below. Please click on a photo to enlarge it.

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Spring Concert, College Place Middle School, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on August 1, 2016

I’ve been to College Place Middle School (CPMS) in Lynnwood before but never for a band concert until, on 16 June, I went to hear my 27th trumpet student play in the 8th Grade Wind Ensemble, under Kate Labiak, Director, College Place Bands. What a treat! My student has been taking private trumpet lessons with me since last February (see my blog


7th Grade Concert Band (L) and Orchestra (R), College Place Middle School, Lynnwood

post of 21 February 2016). But soon she’ll be moving again to enter 9th grade in the high school at Orting, southeast of Tacoma. Incidentally, her younger sister also plays trumpet.

Performing were the 7th and 8th Grade Orchestras, Concert Choir, 66-member 7th Grade Concert Band, and the 55-member 8th Grade Wind Ensemble. The latter played three pieces, highlighted (to me) by Procession of the Nobles, by Rimsky-Korsakov, arranged by

IMG_8328 - Copy

The two “Students’ Choice: Outstanding Musician Award” winners, trumpeters, 7th Grade Band (L) and Jazz Band (R)

Balent. Three students performed as Guest Conductors.

Two male trumpeters won the “Students’ Choice—Outstanding Musician” awards: one in the Concert Band and one in the Jazz Ensemble. Way to go, boys, very impressive!

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Senior Ensembles Spring Concert, Washington Middle School, Seattle

Posted by glennled on July 25, 2016



WMS Concert Band, Ms. Kelly Barr-Clingan introduces Mr. Trimis, Guest Conductor


On 14 June, the Senior Ensembles Spring Concert by Washington Middle School (WMS) drew an enthusiastic, standing-room only crowd at the Quincy Jones Performance Center at Garfield High School in Seattle. It took about two and a half hours, but the enthusiasm never waned, and the concert ended with the grateful audience giving a standing ovation to the outgoing Director of Bands and Jazz, Kelly Barr-Clingan.


Farewell, beloved Kelly Barr-Clingan

In the past 8 years, I’ve attended many school concerts at numerous places in the Greater Seattle area, and for me, this concert format was unique. In between the major choir, orchestra, and band performances, different student ensembles played and/or sang. Each one was called a “Jazz/Fidd Cornerstone Group,” apparently playing music of its choice. What a unique way of getting lots of students personally involved and willing to perform for the public! Imagine the many more practice sessions they would have, compared to the lesser amount of practice they would do for a more conventional concert. Imagine the friendships that develop from working together in small groups. Fun!

Another unique feature of this concert was the involvement of Banda Vagos, playing music from Mexico with the combined choir, band and orchestra early in the program. Please see

How did I know about this concert? Why did I go? Because one of the 12 trumpet players in the Concert Band takes private lessons from me. I posted a story about him on 13 April 2016.

WMS’s enrollment is exceeds 1,100 students, and “more than half of the school’s population is enrolled in a music ensemble.” To learn more about the music program, please see:

The new Director of Bands and Jazz is Jared Sessink, a trumpeter of renown. He was the only American finalist in the 2013 International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition. Elizabeth Fortune is Director of Orchestras and Eclectic Strings. Blake Saunders is Director of Choirs.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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7th Annual Trumpet Recital in Edmonds, 18 June 2016

Posted by glennled on July 24, 2016


Photo by Nancy MacDonald

Three students performed at the 7th Annual Trumpet Recital in our home in Edmonds on 18 June, and three more were unable to attend. Of the performers, two are going into 8th grade next fall, and one is going into 9th grade. One began private trumpet lessons with me in December 2013, another in September 2014, and the third in February 2016. Selections included music by Elton John, Tim Rice, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, John Williams, Pat Ballard, Francoise Couperin, and John Kander. Popular pieces were Hedwig’s Theme, Cabaret, and When I’m 64.Jessica Moore - IMG_4844

After the performances, I gave a brief clinic and demonstration of the Herald Trumpet, English Bugle, Getzen Field Trumpet, Cornet, and Trumpet, so that the parents, relatives and friends in the audience could better appreciate the history and complexity of these instruments, as well as the difficulties which students must learn to control in order to master them. Refreshments were served after the recital.

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My Youngest “Echo Taps” Partner on Memorial Day

Posted by glennled on July 22, 2016



“Echo Taps” partners, Memorial Day, 2016. Photo by Gary Walderman.

He’s only a seventh grader, going into eighth this fall, but he plays the trumpet with confidence and accuracy. So I asked him to play “Echo Taps” with me at the Memorial Day ceremony on 30 May at Veterans Park in Lynnwood. Other students of mine have played the “echo” part with me there, but they were all older and in high school. Also, those other students had all taken private trumpet lessons with me. This trumpeter, however, was my student when he was in the beginning bands at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. He’s doing well in the 7th grade band and jazz band at SJHS now.

Echo Taps, BGL, 5-30-16

“Echo Taps,” Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler. Photo by Janelle Squires.

The weather this year was the best ever in my five years as VFW Post 1040 Bugler. On Memorial Day, I get to sound three bugle calls: “Assembly” (to open the ceremony), “Echo Taps” (to conclude the ceremony), and “To the Color” (when the flag is hoisted from half- to full-mast at noon). Attendance at this half-hour ceremony and the one on Veterans Day (11 November) is growing.

My Getzen bugle has two tuning slides. I use the G slide for “Tattoo,” “Taps,” and “Funeral March,” and the Bb slide for all other bugle calls. Love that horn!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.


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2016 Memorial Day Message: “Be an American Worth Dying For”

Posted by glennled on July 20, 2016

Memorial Day is the annual holiday when America honors its war dead. Raelynn Ricarte came to Edmonds, WA from Hood River, OR in the Columbia River Gorge area to deliver the keynote message of this year’s Memorial Day ceremony on 25 May at Edmonds Community College—“Be an American Worth Dying For.” Her son, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jesse Atay, deployed five times in both Iraq and Afghanistan during nearly 13 years in military service, first as a platoon leader and then as the lead on a combat assault team. The horror of September 11, 2001, sent Atay to war.


Raelyn Ricarte, The Gorge Heroes Club and author, “Living the Oath: Warriors Take It, Families Endure It”

Ricarte has earned the right to deliver that message. She vowed to take care of her son’s “dudes” through action, not just lip service. She started sending care packages to troops in the Middle East, using small amounts of donated funds. That eventually grew so much that she founded The Gorge Heroes Club, a non-profit pro-troop group that now sends the troops thousands of care packages.  Please see

When you hear or read her stories about the agonies of loss and trials of grief which the families of America’s war dead go through, you understand how she can say to all our citizens, “Be an American Worth Dying For.”

To me and others I know, it was the best Memorial Day ceremony held at Edmonds Community College so far. Everyone on the program spoke from the heart and told their own personal stories. You got their messages. And after the wreath-laying ceremony outside on campus and after Kyle Gaul, Northwest Junior Pipe Band, played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, I had the privilege of sounding “Taps” one more time on my golden bugle, fading into silence at the end, concluding the program.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. Outdoor photos courtesy of Veterans Resource Center, ECC.

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