Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Archive for the ‘New Students – Intro Posts’ Category

The first post for each new student introduces him/her to readers of the blog.

My 43rd Trumpet Student—5th Grader at Northwood Elementary School, Mercer Island

Posted by glennled on July 14, 2018

My newest trumpet student—No. 43—will enter fifth grade this fall at Northwood Elementary School on Mercer Island, where I lived for 30 years before moving to Edmonds. He plans to join the beginning band, and to get a jump start, we began lessons on 16 June. I now have two M.I. students (please see my blog posts of 18 November 2017 and 21 May 2018). dc8Mgnjgi[1]

How and why did he choose trumpet? He heard his cousin play trumpet, and he liked the sound of it. (That cousin has since moved from M.I. to California.) It was that simple and easy. His two older brothers play piano, and he also started piano lessons earlier this year.

What’s the M.I. 5th grade band program like? According to the Northwood website, Carol Krell is the Director, and the band is supported by the Mercer Island Schools Band Boosters (please see http://www.mercerislandschools.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=5624 and http://www.misbb.wordpress.com). The first school band lesson will be on the evening of 12 September. Band classes begin on 17 September, meeting twice per week from 8:15 – 9 a.m. Each student has one class with a specialist on their instrument, and one full band class. The instruction book will be Essential Elements 2000, Book 1.

Where is my student eventually headed? To the Mercer Island High School Band! And then he’ll get to do some very cool things like this: on New Year’s Day 2019, the MIHS Band will march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA prior to the Rose Bowl Football Game. I did that as a member of the Varsity Marching Band playing cornet, University of Washington, 1 January 1961, when the UW Huskies beat the top-ranked University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, 17-7. May my newest trumpet student have as much fun in band as I did!

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42nd Trumpet Student is 4th Grader at Bryant Elementary School in Seattle

Posted by glennled on May 12, 2018

He likes trumpet because of its sound—it’s “jazzy” to him.  My 42nd trumpet student is 10 years old and a fourth grader at Bryant Elementary School, located in the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood of northeast Seattle. When he first tried out several different instruments at boyplayingtrumpetbw_pthe music orientation session at school, it was easy to make a sound on many of them, but not so the trumpet. Making notes by buzzing into the mouthpiece was a challenge, and he likes challenges. The fact that it has only three valves did not matter. Ten valves would have been ok. The trumpet’s jazzy sound is what he liked. And as soon as he’s old enough to attend nearby Eckstein Middle School, he wants to play in the school Jazz Band. Our private lessons will help him qualify. We held our first one on 2 May.

At Bryant Elementary, he attends a 30-minute music class once a week. There are about 10 trumpeters in this class, according to Elizabeth Harris Scruggs, the Instrumental Music teacher. “It’s a pull-out class,” she said, “meaning students miss 30 minutes of regular class to come to instrumental music.” There is no full 4th grade band—“just a few classes with either one or two different instrument types (for example, saxophone and clarinet). However, at the end of this year, they will all combine for the first time for a rehearsal and a concert to see what playing in a full band is like.” The Spring Concert will be on Wednesday, 6 June at 6:45 p.m. Fourth-graders will participate, along with the general music, instrumental music, and choir groups.

Next year, my student will be able to join the fifth-grade elementary school band. Neither of his parents play an instrument, but his older brother plays saxophone at Eckstein Middle School.

His other interests and activities include swimming, basketball, Frisbee, chess, and dance. He has taken lessons in ballet, tap, and hip-hop dancing since he was 4 years old. On 16 June, he will tap dance in a recital at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline.

Bryant Elementary opened in 1918—100 years ago—and was recently remodeled. The school and the neighborhood are named after William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), an American poet, journalist and editor whose most notable work is Thanatopsis.

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41st Trumpet Student Comes from Queen Anne Elementary in Seattle

Posted by glennled on March 28, 2018

What do you do as a parent when your child is in 5th grade, wants to play trumpet, and attends a school where there is no band program? This parent rented a horn and started teaching him some music on her own last January. But he quickly adapted so well and got so good that she soon realized that what she was teaching him using the piano at home was not teaching him the trumpet. little-einsteins-quincy[1]

So she found me on the internet through Lessons In Your Home, http://www.lessonsinyourhome.com. We began with his first lesson on 6 March, using the instruction book, Progressive Beginner Trumpet, by Peter Gelling (see  https://www.amazon.com/CP69122-Progressive-Beginner-Peter-Gelling/dp/1864691220). When I first listened to him play, I found that he already has a solid tone, strong sense of rhythm, and a range up to C on the staff—things that it takes many 5th graders in band about 6 months to develop.

My 41st trumpet student is an enthusiastic, eager boy who will turn 11 this summer and is multi-talented—he loves sports, too! His eyes are bright, and his smile is ready and wide. Some techniques come quickly and easily to him. His mom says he loves music—he whistles and sings a lot. She says he needs challenges, responds to goals, and likes structure and assignments. (That sounds like a good formula for success, doesn’t it?) But at Queen Anne Elementary in Seattle, he attends a 45-minute music class only once a week. There are a few trumpeters besides himself, but “it’s not exactly band.” It’s a music program that the school started just this year.

So, here we go! Taking private lessons involves a lot of practice, and practice requires a lot of repetition. That can get old—gotta keep it fun. Along with his excellent disposition and talent, does he also have patience and tenacity? How can I help him handle obstacles and frustration? The instruction book we’re using is well-suited for him. And my motto is printed on my business card—“Become Your BEST!” Let’s make it happen.

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My 40th Trumpet Student Is a North Creek High School Freshman

Posted by glennled on January 13, 2018

My 40th trumpet student is no stranger to me—I taught him a few years ago in 5th and 6th grade bands at Skyview Jr. High School (now a middle school), and twice he has 0511-1007-0317-2348_Cartoon_of_a_Guy_Playing_a_Trumpet_clipart_image[1]sounded “Echo Taps” with me, first on 2016 Memorial Day and again on 2017 Veterans Day. Now, as a freshman, he is the lead trumpeter in the Symphonic Band and Jazz Band at the new North Creek High School in Bothell. (Please see my posts of 22 July 2016 and 17 December 2017 in the Archives column to the left.)

Our first private lesson was on 8 January 2018. He plays basketball and will run track in the spring, but he has a 2-month window in January-February where he is not overwhelmed and has time for weekly trumpet lessons. His goals are to increase his range and stamina and improve his ability to read rhythms, especially in jazz. So I had him order two excellent instruction books:

  • Twenty-Seven Groups of Exercises for Cornet and Trumpet, by Earl D. Irons
  • Complete Jazz Trumpet Book, by Mel Bay

When the lessons cease, he can continue to improve on his own, and when he wants to resume lessons, I’ll be ready to help.

To enlarge the clip art, simply click on 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 39th 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 38th 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 37th trumpet student is still smiling, so I am, too, for him.

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Young Trumpet Student from St. Joseph School in Seattle

Posted by glennled on June 22, 2017

1280px-Seattle_-_St._Joseph's_School_01

St. Joseph School, Seattle

My 36th trumpet student took private trumpet lessons with me for only three months (Feb-Apr) but may come back again…let’s hope! He is one of four children in a very active household and plays both basketball and soccer. He attends St. Joseph School, an all-city, Catholic, K-8 grade school established in 1907 in the North Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.

As a third-grader, No. 36 was one of the youngest trumpeters I’ve ever tutored. [So far, No. 18 was the youngest—please see my post of 26 October 2011.] He is a wonderful, multi-talented kid with strong self-confidence, happy disposition, and high intelligence…just a joy to teach! But alas, the family is SO busy that Mom had to cut back somewhere for now. When he’s a little older, she says, he may take up the trumpet again. At St. Joseph, Band is first offered to sixth-graders, and then 7th- and 8th-graders can take Advanced Band.

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Three New Trumpet Students (Nos. 33-35) in Four Weeks!

Posted by glennled on May 2, 2017

“Good things come in threes”—isn’t that the old saying? Well, I’ll buy it. During the four weeks between late March and late April, I started giving private trumpet lessons to three new students! Progressive Beginner Trumpet (a)

On 21 March, my 33rd trumpet student had his first lesson with me. He’s a talented 5th-grader at Terrace Park Elementary School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, where the band director is Zoyia Perry. My new student has a positive attitude, smiles readily, asks questions, and is anxious to learn and improve. Any instructor could hardly ask for more! To start with, we are using the instruction book, Progressive Beginner Trumpet by Peter Gelling. Will he achieve his potential in trumpet, or like some other multi-talented kids, someday choose another specialty? I vote for trumpet!

My 34th trumpet student started lessons on 29 March. He’s a sixth-grader in Beginner Band (for Middle Schoolers) at Evergreen Middle School, where Eric T. Peterson, the band director, runs a high-level, ambitious music program. This student found himself falling somewhat behind his peers and naturally, became discouraged. His parents hired me to help him, and I’m enjoying that. I’ve found that he can play, but he’s formed a few bad habits that work against him. Until now, he simply hasn’t had enough individual instruction about trumpet playing, which is something almost no one can learn on their own. We’re using the same book, Gelling’s Progressive Beginner Trumpet, to replace the bad habits with good ones and to learn things he missed in elementary band. We’ll see in time whether or not he chooses to stay with it. Hope so. He can do it! A few years ago, another of my middle school students (No. 4) wanted to quit, but Mom said no (please see my post of 18 November 2009). Now she tells me he’s majoring in music at college and plans to become a band director!

There is an 11-year old girl, a 5th-grader at Machias Elementary School in Snohomish, who is getting an early start on trumpet. At Machias, the band director is John Smith, but band classes do not begin until the 6th grade—so she rented a trumpet now, and we began lessons a few days ago on 28 April. By the end of her first lesson, she had sounded all the notes in the first four bars of “Happy Birthday.” Smiles all around! She’s buying the book that the band will use next fall, Standard of Excellence, Book I, Trumpet, by Bruce Pearson. And you can bet that she’ll be ready!

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My 32nd Trumpet Student Faces Unique Embouchure Challenge

Posted by glennled on May 1, 2017

A 20-some-odd-year-old engineering student at the University of Washington from Saudi Arabia is my 32nd trumpet student—imagine that! His first lesson was on 17 March, and he wants to concentrate on jazz. He simply loves the beautiful sound of the trumpet, especially as played by Miles Davis. Davis’s “So What” is a big favorite of his. Balanced Embouchure, coveEdited

His intensity and enthusiasm are special, but we soon found that he faces two obstacles that never trouble most trumpeters. First, he has what’s called a “protruding upper lip.” People whose mouth is structured this way find that when they form their embouchure to buzz into the mouthpiece, their upper lip suddenly pops outward, creating a little, triangular “button” that causes the soft top lip to roll out and disrupt the air flow. This makes it exceedingly difficult both to sound a good, round, fat, solid tone and also to reach notes in the higher register.

Musicians with this embouchure usually are switched to a brass instrument with a larger mouthpiece, such as a trombone, baritone, or tuba. But that is not always necessary. The Balanced Embouchure (2001) by Jeff Smiley is the only instruction book I have found so far that directly discusses this condition and presents specific exercises for trumpeters who do not want to switch. Smiley’s excellent book is available at http://www.trumpetteacher.net.

To complicate things further, he had surgery on his lower jaw a couple of years ago and was left with no feeling in his lower lip. We determined that he could form that lip correctly to make a proper-looking embouchure, but his lower lip cannot feel the buzz. Imagine having to contend with that!

These two conditions present him (and me, as his instructor) with a unique challenge. Engineers carry a heavy academic load. We’ll see whether he wants to continue with the trumpet under these unique, tough circumstances. Will he eventually play jazz, even if it’s simply for his own pleasure? Well, either way, we know he’ll never stop enjoying it. And that’s good.

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