Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘brass’

Photo Gallery of the Last Spring Band Concert at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell

Posted by glennled on July 4, 2017

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Beginning Elementary Band at Skyview Jr. High School, Bothell

On 1 June 2017, Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell held its last Spring Band Concert—because it is no longer a junior high school—from now on, it’s Skyview Middle School!

Three bands performed: Beginning Elementary Band (5th grade), Advanced Elementary Band (6th grade), and Skyview Concert Band (7th grade). The 43-member Beginning Band played five pieces, including “Trombone Mambo” by Michael Story and “Cango Caves” by Ralph Ford. The Advanced Band (45 members) performed four pieces. In four movements, “A Prehistoric Suite” depicted four different species of dinosaurs. The Skyview Concert Band (35 members) concluded the concert with three pieces, starting with “The Star Wars Saga” by John Williams, arranged by Michael Story.

Mr. Fix presented certificates to those members of the Advanced Band who recently made the Northshore School District’s 6th-Grade Honor Band, including five of my trumpeters and two of my trombonists. Please see my post of 5 March about the 2017 Honors Concert.

Below is a gallery of photos of the three bands. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

Elementary Beginning Band (1st Year)

 

 

Elementary Advanced Band (2nd Year)

 

Skyview Concert Band (3rd Year)

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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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2017 Northshore School District’s Sixth Grade Honors Concert in Kirkland

Posted by glennled on March 5, 2017

 

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Right to Left: 2017 NSD Honor Band, Choir and Orchestra

Almost 300 6th-grade, honor musicians from 20 elementary schools in the Northshore School District performed for a packed audience of parents, relatives and friends at Northshore Jr. High School in Kirkland on 15 February 2017. First, Robin Enders conducted the 96-member Honor Orchestra, then Melissa Headrick conducted the 95-member Honor Choir, and finally, Kate Labiak conducted the 98-member Honor Band.

The orchestra played three pieces, finishing with the Finale from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, arranged by Richard Meyer. The choir performed four songs, including the very entertaining “Jim-Along Josie,” an American folk song arranged by Reginald Unterseher. The band also performed four pieces, concluding with “Dance Celebration” by Robert W. Smith.

As you know, I teach beginning brass at Skyview Jr. High School; i.e., 5th and 6th grade elementary brass players who come to Skyview and rehearse from 7:50 to 8:25 a.m. five days every week under the guidance of Charlie Fix, Director of Orchestra and Band at Skyview. This year, he selected five of my trumpet players and two of my trombone players to make Honor Band! And, in addition, this is a first—two of our trumpet players and one of our trombone players made Honor Choir!

Enders is Director of Orchestras at Explorer Middle School and Mariner High School in the Mukilteo School District. Her middle school orchestra was a national award winner in 2015. She has been a violin coach with the Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestras. Headrick teaches at Wilder Elementary School in the Lake Washington School District, among many other music leadership activities. Labiak teaches instrumental music at College Place Middle School in Edmonds School District. She also leads many music activities, including conducting one of the four orchestras (Symphonette Orchestra) with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras program since 2003.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Snow-Delayed Holiday Season Concert Performed in January at Skyview in Bothell

Posted by glennled on January 8, 2017

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It snowed on 9 December, so Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, WA cancelled all its classes. That killed that morning’s holiday season concert which was to be presented by students from nearby Fernwood, Crystal Springs, and Canyon Creek elementary schools. Belatedly, on Friday, 6 January 2017, under the direction of Charlie Fix, the two beginning bands (5th and 6th grades) played a mix of Christmas and other music for the audience of about 150 parents, relatives, and friends.

The 1st-year band performed “Good King Wenceslas,” “Jolly Old St. Nicolas” (a duet), and “Jingle Bells.” The 2nd-year band performed “Spirit of the Stallion” by Brian Balmages and “Glorioso” by Robert W. Smith. The “Stallion” piece is noted for its challenging 26 time-signature changes! Each band also featured performances by the separate instrument sections. For example, the 1st-year brass section played “Mary Ann,” and the 2nd-year brass played “Home on the Range.” I teach beginning brass, Candice Palmberg teaches flutes, Matt Simmons teaches woodwinds, and Jane Lin teaches percussion and also is the music teacher at Crystal Springs Elementary.

Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

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“Taps” for Skyline’s Annual Memorial Walk in Seattle, Honoring Veterans

Posted by glennled on November 10, 2016

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Skyline at First Hill is a Presbyterian retirement community in downtown Seattle near St. James Cathedral and Harborview Hospital. Between its two wings, one for independent living (Skyline Towers) and the other for assisted living (Skyline Terraces), is a courtyard. That’s where I stood in the rain on 2 November to sound “Taps” on my Getzen bugle after the responsive reading of “We Remember Them” by Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer, which is found in the Jewish Prayer Book (please see http://hmd.org.uk/resources/poetry/we-remember-them-sylvan-kamens-rabbi-jack-riemer). Then “Taps” closed the second annual “Skyline Memorial Walk” ceremony hosted by Skyline’s chaplain, The Reverend Elizabeth Graham.

img_4393Earlier, the residents and staff of Skyline had been invited to submit the names of veterans and others whom they wished to be remembered in advance of Veterans Day, 11 November. Their names—about 200—were read aloud, interspersed with periodic bell ringing, before the audience. Twenty, mostly elderly people gathered in the Madrona Community Room: two men, 18 women, silent in their memories of their dear veterans of WWI, WWII, and every conflict since, and others.

The names were then written on individual placards staked into the fertile soil in the planters in the courtyard, where they remained for a week so that the residents, staff and guests could walk among them. img_4419

Isn’t it amazing? In place after place across the nation, around the world, year after year, our veterans are honored. The lowest, the highest, it matters not. To paraphrase a famous saying, when you put on the military uniform, whether on active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve, you write a blank check at that point in your life, made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to and including your life.” Engraved on my bugle is a citation of the Biblical verse, John 15:13. We honor such men and women.

Rev. Graham found me through my membership in Bugles Across America (please see http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org/ and my post of 4 May 2015). I’m glad she did. I’m glad I played cornet through high school and college. I’m glad I teach private trumpet lessons. I’m glad I teach beginning brass at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. I’m glad I play trumpet in the Husky Alumni Band. I’m glad I play in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra in Lynnwood. I’m glad I’m the VFW Post 1040 Bugler. All these things enable me to sound “Taps” for veterans every chance I get—it’s my honor, and I’m grateful. Lucky me.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Beginning Brass Teacher at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell—My Sixth Year!

Posted by glennled on October 4, 2016

quartetLucky me! Under the guidance of Charlie Fix, Band and Orchestra Director, I get to teach beginning brass again to 5th and 6th graders in the two elementary bands that practice and perform at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. Classes for 2nd-year band members began on 12 September and for 1st-year band members, today, 4 October.

This year, I have about 35 trumpet students, 10 trombones, and one French Horn. Some years, I have baritone players, too. This is my sixth year as a para-professional teacher in the Northshore School District.

In addition, I give private lessons to other students in the North Seattle-to-Edmonds and Eastside areas.

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31st Trumpet Student Comes from New Jersey to Bothell, Washington

Posted by glennled on September 22, 2016

picture4Last April, a family from Cherry Hill, New Jersey (just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia) moved cross-country when the Dad took a new job in Bothell, Washington. At Cherry Hill, the son attended Rosa International Middle School, which offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. He’s been playing trumpet since 4th grade and took private lessons back there, starting in the 6th grade. Now that he’s an 8th grader at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, he has become my 31st trumpet student. Our first private lesson was on 28 July.

Listening to music at a young age, he especially liked “Star Wars” and decided, “I can play an instrument, too.” He likes percussion—“rhythm is fun”—but so do lots of other kids. So his attention turned to saxophone, flute, and trumpet. Then he realized that the sound of the saxophone usually blends in with other sounds, and the flute isn’t very versatile. On the other hand, the trumpet can either blend in or stand out and often gets to play the melody. It can play all styles from classical to jazz—“It all works!” And it looks simple–only three buttons instead of all those keys. Only later did he learn how the embouchure complicates playing a brass instrument. So that’s how trumpet became his choice, and obviously, he’s happy with that decision.

He takes private lessons because he likes to excel at whatever he’s doing and wants to play in the lead group of the trumpet section. But he has no ambition to become a professional. He will eventually choose some other career. Meanwhile, being in the concert and jazz bands is fun, and he’s looking forward to playing in the marching and concert bands at the new North Creek High School. After that, he’d like to play in college, too.

That’s my privilege and challenge: to help him play well, be a leader, and enjoy doing it!

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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.

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Charlie Fix Takes Charge of Music at Skyview Jr. High, Bothell

Posted by glennled on September 22, 2015

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When school started this fall at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, there was a new faculty member in the music department for the first time in 15 years. Welcome to Mr. Charlie Fix, Band and Orchestra Director. Mr. Fix has a Masters Degree in Music Education from Florida State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin. Like his predecessor at Skyview, Mr. Fix is a trumpeter!

Mr. Fix has previously taught at Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, Carlsbad Unified School District in California, and Mount Vernon Community Schools in Iowa. He has taught music at all levels, elementary, junior high, and high school, in addition to teaching as a graduate assistant at Florida State.

Here at SJHS, he has three para-professional assistants to help with the 1st and 2nd year elementary bands. One teaches flutes, one teaches clarinets and saxes, and the other teaches brass–that’s me!

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Beginning My 4th Year with Elementary Bands at Skyview Jr. High, Bothell

Posted by glennled on April 10, 2015

I’m back! Lucky me, commencing on 8 September 2014, with the first class of this school year, I get to continue teaching beginning brass students at Skyline Jr. High School in Bothell. Fifth and sixth grade band students arrive early in the morning at Skyline for band classes, and afterwards, they go to their respective schools, Fernwood, Crystal Springs, and Canyon Creek elementary schools for regular classes. Shawn McGinn is the Director of Instrumental Music at Skyline.

I teach brass sectionals on Mondays-Thursdays, including trumpets, trombones, French horns, and baritones. On Fridays, I teach the full 2nd year elementary band, comprised of 6th graders. We present three concerts by the fifth and sixth grade bands each year. It’s fun!

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