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My 49th Trumpet Student Aims for Juanita High School Jazz Band, Kirkland

Posted by glennled on July 18, 2019

My 49th trumpet student found me online and signed up for 10 one-hour lessons. We started with the first one on 3 July. His immediate goal is to make the jazz band at Juanita High School (JHS) in Kirkland, where, at age 14, he will be a freshman in September. I’m all in—let’s go for it!

1[1] (2)What experience does he have? It’s good that there’re some musicianship in his family. His mother played flute and piccolo, and his older brother, a junior at JHS, plays saxophone. He started band classes in fourth grade at Thoreau Elementary School. When he got to Finn Hill Middle School, he joined the jazz band and played there for three years. Last year, he and another trumpeter usually took the solos. Also, he’s a Boy Scout bugler.

Where to start? I listened to him play. He has excellent range—above high C. His tone is solid but meek. His articulation is accurate. Naturally, he has some weaknesses and bad habits—who doesn’t, especially at his age? That’s why he’s taking lessons! But his attitude is good, and his spirit is pleasant and positive. He has ambition and loves trumpet. He wants to earn the Boy Scout’s Bugling Merit Badge. He fits my tutoring motto—“Become Your Best!”

Next, we considered his equipment. He rents a student-level trumpet and, in time, plans to move up to an intermediate horn. He has a few mouthpieces; we identified the one that gives him the highest range. Later, after school starts, we will identify the one that is the most versatile, responsive and comfortable in the range where he’ll be playing most often.

Third, I asked him what improvements he could make that would enhance his chances of being selected for jazz band. His answer: “dynamics.” To me, that says he wants to improve his technique so that his sound will be more expressive of feelings. In other words, he wants to be able to make the horn “cry and sing and inspire.” Won’t that be fun to teach!

So—I asked his mom to buy three books:

 

  • Mel Bay’s Complete Jazz Trumpet Book by William Bay, published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
  • 101 Jazz Songs: Trumpet by Hal Leonard Corporation
  • 67 Bugle Calls by Carl Fischer, New Edition

Next week, we’ll have our fourth one-hour lesson. School classes start in less than six weeks on Tuesday, 3 September. Here we go!

Incidentally, he is not my first trumpet student at JHS. Two others are featured in my blog post of 4 June 2013, which contains photos of the JHS Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Jazz Band at that time. To read about today’s band program at JHS, under the direction of Annemarie Smith, please see https://jhs.lwsd.org/activitiesathletics/performing-arts/band.

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