Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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9th Grade Trumpeter Making a Comeback Towards Rejoining Band

Posted by glennled on March 12, 2012

Lots of people start band and drop out, only to regret it in later years. My 19th trumpet student did just that—dropped out after his first year in band when he was a 5th grader at John Muir Elementary School. Now he’s a 9th grader at Kamiakin Junior High in Kirkland, and his goal is to join the band next year as a sophomore at Juanita High School. He’s given himself one year to catch up and be ready. It’s a rare, ambitious attempt. So far, so good.

Last September at the start of the new school year, he found himself eating lunch alone—all his best friends were in band rehearsal during his lunch period. Well then, rejoin band, his mother suggested. “Ok, I’ll try,” was his response.

His mom contacted the high school band director, Mariko Lane, to determine whether she would accept him into band. Yes! Kids join at all levels of performance, she said enthusiastically. She then advised him to stay with his original instrument, the trumpet, and to find a good tutor right away. In our first meeting, I listened to the story of why he quit and why he wants to start again. I wondered, is this his goal or someone else’s? Is this realistic or just a pipe dream? So I grilled him thoroughly with tough questions and provactive comments, giving him every opportunity to drop the idea or select a different tutor. But he stayed cool and stood fast, which pleased me, so we embarked on the challenge together.

Our first weekly lesson was on 3 November 2011. They ordered the instruction book I prefer for beginners, “Progressive Trumpet,” by Peter Gelling. It happened to be out of stock in local music stores and took a few weeks to arrive on special order. Why is this important? Because he is now finishing that book after about only three and a half months! A fifth grader takes much longer. He is now more mature, he is more dedicated, he has more self-discipline–in other words, he practices regularly! He works at it, so he’s on the fast track. It’s that simple. But simple is not always easy, is it? Simple can be the most difficult.

What does he think of his progress so far? “It’s more possible than I originally thought,” he said. Yes, it is. He has finished the first instruction book faster than any of my other students. When he finishes the second book, he’ll be ready to join high school band. Immediately, he’ll have to learn to march while playing. Then he’ll get three, fun, high school band years full of wonderful, lifelong memories with his friends—just by playing music, and that’s fun in itself. It’s one of those things that’s better “The Second Time Around.”

2 Responses to “9th Grade Trumpeter Making a Comeback Towards Rejoining Band”

  1. dave said

    good luck, young man, high school band was one of the highlights of my teenage years.

    • glennled said

      Yes, Dave, it was, and I’m glad you have continued playing traps, too. Someday, I should do a post about your current band over there in New Zealand. Let me know when you add a trumpet to the group! 😉

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