Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘band’

Pocket Trumpet for Three Songs at My 60th High School Reunion, SHS Class of 1958, Sinton, Texas

Posted by glennled on October 28, 2018

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Jupiter Pocket Trumpet, Model JPT-416

On 19-20 October in Fulton, Texas, about 30 of us classmates gathered for our reunion, celebrating 60 years after graduation from little Sinton High School in little Sinton, Texas, near Corpus Christi on the Gulf of Mexico. Almost another 30 of us have already passed away.  Recognizing, at our 50th reunion in 2008, that Father Time is on the march, we th1JWTGAUGstarted having our reunions every two years. This year, we decided to cut that in half. From here on, we’ll be getting together every year—it’s our SMO schedule—“See Me Out!”

Before the reunion, my wife and I had lunch at the Water Street Oyster Bar in Corpus Christi with my cousin, Tricia Brown, to celebrate her birthday. As we reminisced about the high school football games, pep squad, cheerleaders and band, I got a bright idea. A few days later, I presented it to our class reunion leader, Hattie Beth Fojtik. How about letting me play the “SHS Fight Song” on my pocket trumpet, while everyone else sings it, like we used to at the Friday night games in the old football stadium [no longer in use]? I got the green light.

So, what did I do? Naturally, I played three songs by memory: the fight song, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and “Auld Lang Syne.” I handed out the lyrics, and they all sang! In the banter that sprang up amongst us, we honored our former football players, cheerleaders, pep squad, band members, and veterans. It was grand.

Check out my Jupiter pocket trumpet in my blog post of 31 March 2018. When we travel, I take it with me so that I can keep in practice and not let my embouchure muscles atrophy; i.e., keep my chops strong and flexible. I’ll probably take it again next year, too, although who knows whether they’ll ever let me play it again (chuckle).

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My 8th Year Teaching Beginning Brass at Skyview Middle School, Bothell

Posted by glennled on October 27, 2018

 

Girl TrumpeterOn the first of October, it was back to school for me at Skyview Middle School trombone-clipart-A_man_playing_the_trombone_110127-132560-479009[1]in Bothell, where I began my 8th year as a paraprofessional, teaching the beginning brass section of the elementary band. Trumpets and trombones, 5th graders from four elementary schools in the Northshore School District—Fernwood, Canyon Creek, Crystal Springs, and Lockwood—about 20 students this year. Mr. Dan Carlson is the new Band and Orchestra Director. Meanwhile, a huge one-to-two year remodel of SMS is underway, temporarily complicating access and logistics but promising major improvements and benefits for years to come. The kids make it all worthwhile.

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Photo Gallery of Trumpeters and Buglers at 2018 Royal Military Tattoo, Edinburgh, Scotland

Posted by glennled on September 6, 2018

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On opening night, 3 August, my wife and I attended the 2018 Royal Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K. It’s a great show, and this is the third year we have attended (2014, 2017, 2018). This year, I shot more than 300 photos. By far the most prevalent musical instrument was the bagpipes, but there were lots of trumpeters and buglers, also, in the many bands. I got a few photos of some of them, and here are the better ones. Wouldn’t it be a thrill to play your trumpet or bugle at the Tattoo?!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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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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Milestone—My First Tutored Student’s Last Concert at Garfield High School

Posted by glennled on June 26, 2018

 

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Benjamin Laverde, Principal Tubist, Senior, Garfield Symphony Orchestra, 2018, conducted by Kimberly Roy

 

“Become Your Best!” is the motto I printed on my business card in 2009 when I began private tutoring of trumpet and cornet students. In the nine years I’ve been doing this, the most accomplished musician to whom I ever gave private lessons just graduated from Garfield High School and will attend Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts this fall. He is Benjamin Laverde, tubist.

Benjamin Laverde (R), cornetist, 4th grader, plays in his first public school concert, Lowell Elementary School, Seattle

Ben was my very first student. I taught him to play his cornet when he was a 4th and 5th grader at Lowell Elementary School on Capitol Hill in Seattle. He made All-City Honors Elementary Band in 2011 as a 5th grader (see my blog post of 10 April 2011). Our lessons were fun. Often, for example, when I would arrive at his home in Crown Hill, we would play “Hide and Seek.” I’d walk in the front door and ask his mom, “Where’s Ben?” He would be lying flat, face down, arms tight against his sides, rigid, on the living room couch. She’d say, “I don’t know. Perhaps he’s downstairs.” I’d say, “I’ll just wait here on the couch while you go find him.” At the last instant as I sat down, he would quickly squirm out of the way, and I would say, “Oh, here he is! I found him.” And we would all laugh and get down to business. He was always smart, talented, curious, explorative, and energetic.

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Benjamin Laverde, Senior, Garfield High School, Seattle

From the very beginning, he told me that he ultimately wanted to play tuba. His chance to do so came when he was preparing to enter Hamilton International Middle School (HMIS) in Wallingford as a 6th grader. At a music orientation session in the spring while he was still a 5th grader, he told the HMIS band director, Daniel Rowe, that he wanted to play tuba, so Mr. Rowe gave him a smaller-size tuba to practice that summer. Alas, after two years (2009-2011), I lost my first “trumpet” student. (But he still owns his cornet.)

Ben Tackles the Tuba

Meanwhile, I had picked up Trumpet Student No. 11  who lives in Magnolia and was attending Lawton Elementary School (see my blog post of 14 November 2010). Eventually, he also entered HMIS, and when I attended some of his band concerts, there also was Ben on tuba in the more advanced band. At one such concert in 2014, I learned from his parents that, as an 8th grader in 2013, Ben had made the beginning orchestra of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra (SYSO) and that Ben would be attending Garfield High School.

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Ben Laverde, Principal Tubist, Garfield Symphony Orchestra, 13 June 2018

Year by year, Ben progressed through SYSO’s system of the four full orchestras which include brass players: Symphonette (Beginning), Debut (Intermediate), Junior (Advanced Intermediate), and finally, while a senior at Garfield, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra (Flagship) where he was principal tubist. According to the SYSO website (www.syso.org), “The orchestra performs three regular season concerts in Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony, and regularly partners with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Seattle Opera, regional Broadway musical theater organizations, local choruses, and internationally acclaimed guest artists and conductors.” SYSO was founded in 1942, during World War II. Ben performed in yearly side-by-side concerts with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra for four years (2015-2018).

In 2016, Ben made All-State Concert Band, sponsored by the Washington Music Educators Association. He has studied with the following tuba tutors:

  • 2012-13—Ryan Schultz, current principal tubist of the Pacific Northwest Ballet
  • 2014-15—Chris Olka, former principal tubist of the Seattle Symphony
  • 2016-17—Jon Hill, former Artist in Residence, University of Washington
  • 2018—John DiCesare, current principal tubist Seattle Symphony

Recently, when I asked Ben what had always attracted him to tuba, he said that originally, it was because he liked the Sousaphones which he saw in a marching band. They looked cool, and he liked the sound. Ironically, he’s never played in a marching band. It doesn’t bother him that he almost never gets to play melodies and solos. In fact, for him, playing bass is more fun and less stressful.

Among his most memorable highlights while at Garfield was a trip to New York City in March 2017, when the orchestra performed at Elizabeth High School in New Jersey. Another was performing in May 2018, with the famous Seattle rapper, Macklemore, at the Seattle Symphony’s “Youth. Equity. Access” concert hosted by Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback. A third was when he performed in June 2015, at the benefit, “Canoche, a Night with Robinson Cano & Friends.” Cano is the Seattle Mariners’ All-Star second baseman, and at the dinner were some of Cano’s friends from both the Mariners and New York Yankees, the Seattle Seahawks, and rapper mogul and agent, Jay-Z.

Ben’s Last Garfield Orchestra Concert

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Aadi Lahiri, principal trumpeter, Garfield Symphony Orchestra, played the solos in Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks,” 13 June 2018

On 13 June 2018, as Principal Tubist of the 82-member Garfield Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kimberly Roy, Ben performed in his last school concert—the Graduation Concert. I made it a point to attend and mark this milestone by seeing and hearing my most accomplished former student one final time. I met him, his parents, William and Kara, and his grandparents there. The orchestra, which includes five trumpeters, performed the following challenging pieces splendidly:

  • “Music for the Royal Fireworks” by George Frideric Handel, featuring Aadi Lahiri, trumpeter
  • “Cello Concerto, op. 85” by Edward Elgar, featuring Jonathan Lin, cellist
  • “Concerto in C, op.37” by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, featuring Zofia Sabee, cellist
  • “Symphonic Dances” from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein

Aadi Lahiri, trumpeter, will be attending St. John’s College in the fall, majoring in philosophy and math with a minor in music. St. John’s is one college with two campuses, one in Annapolis, Maryland and one in Santa Fe, New Mexico, both historic state capitals.

Ben’s Future: Clark University

Ben will attend Clark University on an academic scholarship. He says he’s undecided about a degree major, but it seems unlikely to be music. However, his parents say they would not be surprised if Ben finds some way to continue to playing tuba while at Clark.

A liberal-arts based, private non-profit, research university, Clark was founded in 1887. According to its website, it has a student/faculty ratio of 10:1. The average undergraduate class size is 21. The total enrollment of degree-seeking students in 2017 was about 3100. The average high school GPA of its first-year undergraduates (day college) is 3.63. The most popular declared majors (5-year average, including double-majors) are Psychology (17%); and Biology, Economics, Political Science, and Business Management (7% each). Ben is very impressed with Clark’s geography degree program. The Graduate School of Geography at Clark has granted more Ph.D degrees in that field than any other program in the USA. As of May 2017, Clark had about 550 endowment funds with a combined market value of ~$411 million. The percentage of undergraduates who receive some kind of financial aid is 93%. Please see http://www.clarku.edu.

Worchester is the second most populous city (~185,000) in New England, after Boston, which is about 40 miles east.

“Become Your Best!”—has Ben been done it? For now, yes indeed, but forever, no. His adult life is just beginning, and we can all continuously get better until we pass. I’m very proud of him. Viva Ben! Viva La Musique!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Photo Gallery of Spring Band Concert, Skyview Middle School, Bothell

Posted by glennled on June 19, 2018

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Charlie Fix, Band and Orchestra Director, Skyview Middle School, conducts 5th-Grade Band at Spring 2018 Concert

 

A full house gathered on 30 May to hear the 5th and 6th grade bands perform their 2018 Spring Band Concert under the direction of Charlie Fix at Skyview Middle School in Bothell. A few 6th grade musicians sat in with the 5th grade band to give it more balance and depth. Fifth grade band members come from three elementary schools: Fernwood, Canyon Creek, and Crystal Springs. Sixth grade band members attend Skyview Middle School. Fifth grade section instructors had the honor of conducting special pieces by their respective band sections: Glenn Ledbetter (brass), Matt Simmons (woodwinds), and Jane Lin (percussion); Mr. Fix conducted the flute section. The next day, the 5th graders had a farewell party in the school cafeteria. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

5th Grade Band

 

6th Grade Band

 

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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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Music Soirees at Home with Family From Edmonds and Anchorage

Posted by glennled on April 3, 2018

The merry month of March brought us together with our three musical grandchildren in our home. One Friday night (9th), our 12-year old granddaughter tucked her viola under every-person-should-play-the-violin-300x249[1]her chin and played for my wife and me the concert music performed by her 7th-grade orchestra at Meadowdale Middle School in Lynnwood. That prompted us to play our own instruments, too—my wife (piano) and me (trumpet).

Then two grandkids from Alaska flew down to stay with us (14th-17th) during their school’s spring break. One, a 16-year old girl, has played violin in the orchestra, and the other, a 15-year old boy, plays saxophone in the band at Dimond High School. Both take private lessons. She brought her violin, and he brought two saxophones and two bagpipes. One night when the viola player came over to visit, all four of us performed solos for her entertainment. images

To top it off, the boy came with me twice to Skyview Middle School in Bothell to play with the 5th-grade kids whom I teach there. On one of the mornings when I teach beginning brass, he sat in with his saxophone among the 23 trumpeters and four trombonists. The next morning, when the full band (about 65 members) practiced, he demonstrated for them both the sax and bagpipes, and then he sat in with his sax.

What could be better than that, folks?!

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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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Trumpeters at 2018 WMEA All-State Music Concerts in Yakima

Posted by glennled on March 23, 2018

Congratulations! Sixty-six trumpeters made WMEA All-State this year. They were spread among 8 different groups: Jazz Band (5), Wind Symphony (8), Concert Band (18), Wind Ensemble (8), Symphony Orchestra (6), Chamber Orchestra (3), Junior Baker Band (9), Junior Rainer Band (9). X-IMG_4905 (2)

All-State recognition is awarded by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA)—see http://www.wmea.org. On Friday-Sunday, 16-18 February, WMEA hosted six All-State Concerts in Yakima, Washington

Students apply in the fall for All-State selection and submit an audition recording which is then judged and ranked by a screening committee. Next, the All-State Group Managers assign each selected student to an appropriate ensemble, orchestra, symphony, or band. This year, Mike Mines was Group Manager for the All-State Jazz Band. Others included:

  • Mark M. Schlichting, Symphony Orchestra
  • Chase Chang, Chamber Orchestra
  • Naomi Ihlan, Wind Symphony
  • Andrew Robertson, Concert Band
  • Dan Lundberg, Wind Ensemble

Junior All-Staters come from grades 7 and 8. All-Staters come from grades 9-12. In early January, concert music is sent to those who are selected.

Did you ever wonder where all these trumpeters typically come from? Probably not. But I did. Would you think that Seattle might dominate? Or Bellevue, Tacoma, Everett, Bellingham, Vancouver, or Spokane? Here are the 2018 statistics.

The 48 high school all-staters represent 39 different schools. Ten students came from 7 cities in Eastern Washington, including three from Spokane. Thirty-eight students came from 24 cities in Western Washington.

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ACC Orchestra trumpeters, “New Life of the Land,” Dec 2017 (L to R): Rob Rankin, superb Principal; Corban Epp, Washington All-State Jazz Band (2018); Glenn Ledbetter, Texas All-State Band (1958). Photo by John Crozier.

Schools in Bellevue, Redmond, Tacoma, and Spokane produced three trumpeters each for a total of 12 (25%). Nine schools placed two trumpeters each for a total of 18 (37.5%). Seattle schools were among 18 schools which placed one trumpeter each for a total of 18 (37.5%).

The 18 junior all-staters represent 13 different schools, all located in 9 cities in Western Washington. One school produced five all-state trumpeters—Pacific Cascade Middle School in Issaquah. One of these made the Junior All-State Baker Band, and four made the Junior All-State Rainier Band. Imagine that—five stellar trumpeters in the same middle school band—holy cow, that’s amazing! Congratulations to Philip Dungey, Director, PCMS Bands, himself having a Master’s Degree in Trumpet Performance and Music Education and the Principal Trumpet in the Northwest Symphony Orchestra.

As I wrote in my blog post of 17 February 2012 (see Archives in left column), I really want one or more of my trumpet students to make All-State Band or Orchestra someday. “I want to help someone become the best he or she can be!”

Corban Epp, 4-time WA All-State trumpeter

Corban Epp, Lead Trumpet, Washington All-State Jazz Band, 2018

Among the 66 trumpeters, I have a connection with only one—Corban Epp, a senior at Glacier Peak High School, Snohomish. I had the privilege of playing twice with him and Rob Rankin, a retired Boeing Engineer who is the superb principal trumpet in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra. We performed together in two Christmas productions, “All I Want for Christmas” (2016) and “New Life of the Land” (2017). Corban played a jazz solo in the former musical.

In Corban’s freshman year, he made All-State Concert Band. As a sophomore, he participated in the All-State Symphony Orchestra. In his junior year, he was selected for All-Northwest Band, and of course, he was chosen for the All-State Jazz Band this year. At the Jazz Band concert on 16 February, Jay Ashby conducted five pieces on the program. Corban played lead trumpet on four of them, and Alessandro Squadrito of Snohomish High School did so on the other. Corban played two solos in the program—one in the song, “El Final Del Verano [End of Summer],” by Armando Rivera, and the other in “Fill in the Blank Blues” by Rosephanye Powell, in which Corban had a solo battle with the whole trumpet section!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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