Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Archive for February, 2016

2016 Northshore School District’s Sixth Grade Honors Concert

Posted by glennled on February 22, 2016

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NSD 6th-grade Honors Orchestra and Choir, 2016

Three hundred and thirty-three students from the Northshore School District made the Honors Orchestra, Choir and Band this year and played a concert for their parents, relatives, teachers, and friends at Northshore Jr. High School in Bothell on 9 February. And among them, three (~1%) are my students in elementary band at Skyview Jr. High—one trumpeter, one baritonist, and one trombonist. I’m in my fifth year as a para-professional teacher of beginning brass for fifth and sixth graders who come to Skyview from Crystal Springs, Canyon Creek, and Fernwood elementary schools for classes each week.

Guest conductors were Eileen Treusch (orchestra), Darcy Morrissey (choir), and Frank Halferty (band). The program allotted four pieces to the orchestra, five to the choir, and three to the band. If this were a contest instead of a concert and if I were an adjudicator, I would give the “Best Performance Award” to Darcy Morrissey and her choir. The orchestra was 111 members strong, but the choir was even larger: 128! And the band was 96; that’s a big band, too. I wonder what percentage of the band students are taking private lessons—20%, 10%, 5%? That’s how you “Become your Best” (my motto). And that’s how you eventually make Washington State Band in high school.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

Posted in School Concerts, Skyview Junior High, Student Competitions, Honors & Awards | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Student #27 Readies for Edmonds-Woodway High School Band

Posted by glennled on February 21, 2016

thMAGS9S7MEvery one of my trumpet students is serious about playing trumpet—after all, they’re paying for private lessons. But some are more serious than others, and my 27th student is one of those. She started in fifth grade band but due to circumstances beyond her control, she had to drop out for two years. Now in the eighth grade, she has moved to downtown Edmonds from Des Moines, Washington, and is now in the trumpet section of the Wind Ensemble at College Place Middle School.

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She likes the fact that the trumpet has only three keys. That, and its light weight and smaller size compared to a tuba, for instance, are what first attracted her (and me) to the trumpet when we were in the fifth grade. It looks deceptively simple, compared to a bassoon, flute, saxophone, or clarinet, where you must use all fingers on both hands. Then the band teacher starts using the French word, “embouchure,” and suddenly, it’s not so simple any more. You find out you must hold your lips just right to buzz into the mouthpiece correctly, and every note has its own unique slot, and to sound different notes, your facial muscles must be set just right, and the aperture must be just the right size for a given note, and your lips must be flexible to make a good, solid tone, and if you aren’t doing all this just right, your tone will be out of tune (sharp or flat), and you must breathe out of the sides of your mouth using your diaphragm, and to play the different notes in a song, you must learn the music alphabet and symbols so that you can read the music language, and there are a bunch of Italian words you must learn, and to play a song, you must change your fingering and your embouchure precisely at the same instant, and to play fast, you must have trained your fingers and embouchure so well that they can change correctly and quickly on sight, automatically, without thought, and to play high notes softly is not easy, and you must simultaneously watch the conductor, read the music, listen to the other musicians, and play, all the time, and it’s hard to play solo under all that pressure because you and the conductor and the audience want you to play perfectly and beautifully…and so forth.

So, although anyone can learn to play trumpet, you have to get serious about it sometime in order to reach your full potential and “Become Your Best!” Fortunately, my 27th trumpet student is serious. Seeing that quality in her daughter, her mom is very happy to support her with private lessons. And seeing the same in her, I am very happy she chose me as her trumpet tutor. She wants to be ready for high school band at Edmonds-Woodway next fall. Our first lesson was on 6 February. We’re starting to plow into the exercise book, I Recommend (1985) by James D. Ployhar. Here we go!

Please click on any image to enlarge it.

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My New Cornet Student Is Only 81!

Posted by glennled on February 18, 2016

1PC-Evolution-font-b-Marching-b-font-Band-font-b-Trumpet-b-font-Player-Fashion-WaterproofUntil now, I’ve never had a trumpet or cornet student who is older than I am! Holy cow, we’re 156 years old! Bob was born in 1934, and is my 26th student. We held his first lesson in his living room on 2 February.

He’s a fan of Joseph W. Marcinkiewicz, author of the instruction book, The Buzzone: The Art of Playing Efficiently and Comfortably. Marcinkiewicz advertises it on his website as “the definitive text for the brasswind player.” Well, blow me down! I had never heard of it. So I bought it. (You never stop learning.)

Bob played cornet all throughout grade school, high school and college but dropped it as he began his career, married, and raised his family. His love of music, especially classical, had convinced him to become a music educator, but he ultimately decided to become an engineer so that he could support his family at the lifestyle level he wanted to. In 1989, 27 years ago, he retired as an engineering manager from U S WEST, a Bell System Operating Company, and now lives with his wife in Snohomish. In retirement, it was time for Bob to do something different. That became travelling in a fifth-wheeler, consulting, listening to music, reading, studying, and today, tutoring mathematics at all levels.

Since college, Bob has been off the horn almost 60 years! Five to 10 years ago, he bought a Bach trumpet and played it for about a year, but its sound was too brilliant for his taste, so he got rid of it. Music gives him “mental stimulation and enjoyment,” he says, and now he wants to become a performer again, not just a listener. (Please see my article, “Hear ‘Your Brain on Music’ by Dr. Larry Sherman,” posted on 2 February 2012.)

Bob’s ambition is to play in a church orchestra by next fall. He has bought a Kanstul cornet, model 1530 (silver) with a 0.470″ bore. Bob’s dream would be someday to play

“Napoli: Variations on a Neapolitan Song,” composed by Herman Bellstedt. The song on which the variations are based is “Funiculi, Funicula” by Luigi Denza in 1880. For a thrill and to appreciate the magnitude of Bob’s dream, copy this link and listen to Ole Edvard Antonsen play it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elo0SPMo6qg. Way to go, Bob—let’s roll!

Never having had private lessons before, Bob realizes that he won’t reach his goals without professional training. He chose me off one of the websites where I advertise myself as a trumpet and cornet tutor. Why cornet (which was very popular in the 19th century), when in the early 20th century, the whole world turned to the trumpet as the “instrument of choice?” Because that’s what he played all through school, and that’s the darker, smoother, mellower sonority that most pleases his ear. Bob remembers that in his school days, he used too much pressure on his mouth. After playing, the mouthpiece’s mark on his lips would stay there for hours. That led him to The Buzzone by Marcinkiewicz. Bob wants to strengthen the muscles in his embouchure so he won’t have to use such heavy pressure to reach the high notes—hard pressure will cut your stamina and endurance and can cause pain or injury.

Zigmant Kanstul launched Kanstul Musical Instruments in 1981. Located in Anaheim, California, one mile east of Disneyland, Kanstul’s 36 craftsmen manufacture a complete line of brass musical instruments. To view Bob’s new cornet, please see http://kanstul.net/detail.php?pass_search=1530.0000&pass_instrument=Cornet.

Marcinkiewicz Co., Inc. makes hand-crafted trumpets, cornets, flugelhorns, trombones, and several unique horns such as pocket and piccolo trumpets, as well as mouthpieces for them all. The factory is in Canby, Oregon. See http://www.marcinkiewicz.com.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

Posted in New Students - Intro Posts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christmas Eve, 2015, Features Trumpet, Viola, and Piano

Posted by glennled on February 17, 2016

Christmas Day 2015My wife and I have 9 wonderful grandchildren. One in New Zealand plays the drums. One in Alaska plays the violin, and another there plays the saxophone. One in Bellingham, Washington plays the ukulele. And now, this year, one here in Edmonds is learning to play the viola. My wife plays the piano, and I play the trumpet.

We could have a family septet, but what composer ever wrote music for that combination of instruments and when/where would we ever get together? We need an arranger, and then maybe we could all assemble somewhere for Christmas someday and perform.

We’re traditionalists. Each year after our traditional Christmas Eve ham dinner, we then participate in a traditional program in the living room of our home, reading the prophecy of Isaiah about the coming of a Savior and the story of Jesus’ birth, praying, singing and playing Christmas carols and songs, and opening gifts. That’s when three of us did play this year for the family—trumpet, viola, and piano.

From “The Big Book of Christmas Songs,” I played “O Holy Night,” accompanied by my wife on piano, and soloed “Santa Baby,” showing off my new Getzen trumpet (see my post of 14 December). Our granddaughter played a few pieces on her viola—some solo and some with accompaniment—from the instruction book, “Essential Elements for Strings, Book 1” by Robert Gillespie, Pamela Tellejohn Hayes, and Michael Allen. And while my wife played the piano, all six of us sang from her own beautiful songbook, “Christmas Songs and Carols for a Season of Happiness.” The songbook contains the lyrics to 39 pieces, and she plays the music by memory!

Next year, perhaps we’ll all three play together as a trio. Perhaps someone else will then join us, and we’ll work our way up towards becoming a family septet. Or maybe the other two grandchildren will choose their own favorite instruments and take some lessons so we can become a nonet.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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2015 Wreaths Across America–“Never Forget”

Posted by glennled on February 5, 2016

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“Never Forget”

On this same day at this same hour of every year, the same ceremony is conducted in more than 900 locations across America and around the world—wreaths are placed on graves in military cemeteries on the second Saturday of December. It is called Wreaths Across America (WAA) and is an outgrowth of the Arlington Wreath Project, started in 1992. As the popular ceremony spread across the country, WAA was formed in 2007.

Here in Seattle, the theme of the 6th annual ceremony was “Never Forget.” Michael G. Reagan, famed artist of the “Fallen Heroes Project,” was the Keynote Speaker. Reagan was awarded the Citizen Service Before Self Honor (known to some as The Civilian Medal of Honor) on 25 March 2015 by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation in Arlington, VA.

The local ceremony was held at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, on 12 December. Six military Medal of Honor recipients are buried there. The Navy Wives Club of America (NWCA), Totem 277, led by Donna Turner and Crystal Wilkerson, started hosting this event in 2010. Lorraine Zimmerman is the club’s WAA project leader and site coordinator for Everygreen-Washelli. Totem 277’s territory is from Seattle to Burlington.The primary element of the annual ceremony is the ceremonial wreath dedication by representatives of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and POW/MIAs.

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“Never Forget”–William W. Wilson, former POW, places flag on wreath, followed by hand salute. Photo by Jacque Hodgen.

Zimmerman introduced the POW/MIA representative with these moving words: “William (Bill) W. Wilson, former Prisoner of the Vietnam War, made 33 missions over NVN and Laos, flying an F-111 before being shot down while bombing the Red River docks in downtown Hanoi on 22 December 1972. He evaded capture for a week, was nearly rescued by a Super Jolly Green helicopter, and then was captured by the North Vietnamese on 29 December. He spent a month in the ‘Heartbreak” section of the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ before being moved to the ‘Zoo.’ He returned to U.S. control on the last C-141A out of Hanoi on 29 March 1973 during Operation Homecoming. Bill will now place a flag [on the POW/MIA wreath] in honor of the more than 83,000 United States Servicemen from all branches of the service whose last known status was either Prisoner of War or Missing in Action. These individuals have never returned to their families and homes. We will not forget you.”

Among the many voluntary participants was the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard. As Post Bugler,  I played “Assembly” on my Super Olds cornet at 9 a.m. as Zimmerman issued the Call to Order and the 62nd Airlift Wing Air Force Honor Guard presented the colors. To close the ceremony, the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard fired a perfect rifle salute, and I sounded “Taps.” Afterwards, participants and audience members placed wreaths on numerous tombstones in the cemetery.

For more information, please see:

One photo below is by Geoffrey T. Lewis. All others are by Jacque Hodgen. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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