Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘buzz’

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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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.

trumpet02

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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