Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘concert’

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!

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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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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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North Creek High School’s First Music Concert, Bothell

Posted by glennled on December 17, 2017

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First music concert at the new North Creek High School, Bothell, 7 December 2017

Pearl Harbor Day—that’s what I first think of when I hear the date, 7 Dec. But that was 1941, and on that date in 2017, people with kids in the band, orchestra, and choir at the new North Creek High School (NCHS) in Bothell will also remember it as the date when NCHS held its very first music concert. And I shall remember the concert for yet another reason—9 of my former students played their instruments that night in the Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble.

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Trumpeter and guitari

Of the six trumpet players in Symphonic Band, I taught five of them at Skyview Jr. High School and gave three of them private lessons. Of the two trumpeters in Jazz Band, I gave one of them private lessons. Of the five trumpet players in Wind Ensemble, I taught one of them both in private lessons and classes at Skyview. He now plays guitar in Jazz Band and trumpet in Wind Ensemble. In fact, he played a solo during “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by the Jazz Band.

Since then, three of my ex-students have switched to other instruments: one to oboe, one to French horn, and one to tuba.

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Dr. Debbie Montague, NCHS Director of Instrumental Music

Listening to the excellent instrumental music, conducted by Debbie Montague, Ph.D., Director of Instrumental Music, I was very proud of my ex-students’ progress. They have much more to anticipate under her tutelage. Dr. Montague came to NCHS from Kenmore Jr. High School, where she had developed an outstanding program. Her Symphonic Bands at KJHS performed throughout the USA, including the National Conference for Music Educators (2002) and at multiple Festivals of Gold, which are high school festivals by invitation. I’ve blogged about this twice—please see my posts of 16 March 2012 and 13 November 2010. Dr. Montague is a member of the Washington Music Educators’ Hall of Fame (www.wmea.org).

She believes in education of the whole child and advocates “hands-on, activity-based music curriculum for all children.” Also, she has considerable accomplishments in African ensemble music.

But this concert was not all about trumpets and other wind instruments, bands, and IMG_4458 (2) - Teresa Sullivan, Director of Choral Music & Nick Tagabensembles. The orchestra and several choirs performed excellently, too. Terresa (Terry) Sullivan, Director of Choral Music, conducted five choirs, singing eight pieces. Ms. Sullivan came to NCHS from Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, where she was both Choir Director and Music Department Chair (see my post of 29 April 2015). The Combined Choir closed with “Carol of the Bells.” The orchestra, conducted by Dr. Montague, played two pieces led by the concertmaster, who is a member of the All-State Orchestra.

The final group to perform was the Wind Ensemble. “A Christmas Flourish” was their first piece, and they concluded the concert with “African Holy Night.”

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

NCHS Jazz Band

 

NCHS Symphonic Band

NCHS Wind Ensemble

 

NCHS Orchestra

NCHS Choirs

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Terrace Park Elementary Spring Band Concert—A Gift from the Gifted

Posted by glennled on July 5, 2017

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Spring Concert, 5th-grade Band (front) and 6th-grade Band (on stage), Terrace Park Elementary School, Mountlake Terrace, WA

As a trumpet tutor, I am privileged to have a student for private lessons who attends Terrace Park Elementary School in Mountlake Terrace. This school is where the Edmonds School District offers its Elementary Challenge Program for highly capable and gifted students in the first through sixth grades. Please see http://edmonds.wednet.edu/cms/One.aspx?portalId=306754&pageId=565078.

I wrote about him (my 33rd trumpet student) in a blog post on 2 May 2017. He’s a pleasure to teach, and I attended his school’s spring band concert on 5 June. As expected, it was both fun and excellent. Brad Allison, Band Director, obviously puts a lot of emphasis on precise intonation and articulation.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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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.

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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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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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