Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘dynamics’

My 49th Trumpet Student Aims for Juanita High School Jazz Band, Kirkland

Posted by glennled on July 18, 2019

My 49th trumpet student found me online and signed up for 10 one-hour lessons. We started with the first one on 3 July. His immediate goal is to make the jazz band at Juanita High School (JHS) in Kirkland, where, at age 14, he will be a freshman in September. I’m all in—let’s go for it!

1[1] (2)What experience does he have? It’s good that there’re some musicianship in his family. His mother played flute and piccolo, and his older brother, a junior at JHS, plays saxophone. He started band classes in fourth grade at Thoreau Elementary School. When he got to Finn Hill Middle School, he joined the jazz band and played there for three years. Last year, he and another trumpeter usually took the solos. Also, he’s a Boy Scout bugler.

Where to start? I listened to him play. He has excellent range—above high C. His tone is solid but meek. His articulation is accurate. Naturally, he has some weaknesses and bad habits—who doesn’t, especially at his age? That’s why he’s taking lessons! But his attitude is good, and his spirit is pleasant and positive. He has ambition and loves trumpet. He wants to earn the Boy Scout’s Bugling Merit Badge. He fits my tutoring motto—“Become Your Best!”

Next, we considered his equipment. He rents a student-level trumpet and, in time, plans to move up to an intermediate horn. He has a few mouthpieces; we identified the one that gives him the highest range. Later, after school starts, we will identify the one that is the most versatile, responsive and comfortable in the range where he’ll be playing most often.

Third, I asked him what improvements he could make that would enhance his chances of being selected for jazz band. His answer: “dynamics.” To me, that says he wants to improve his technique so that his sound will be more expressive of feelings. In other words, he wants to be able to make the horn “cry and sing and inspire.” Won’t that be fun to teach!

So—I asked his mom to buy three books:

 

  • Mel Bay’s Complete Jazz Trumpet Book by William Bay, published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
  • 101 Jazz Songs: Trumpet by Hal Leonard Corporation
  • 67 Bugle Calls by Carl Fischer, New Edition

Next week, we’ll have our fourth one-hour lesson. School classes start in less than six weeks on Tuesday, 3 September. Here we go!

Incidentally, he is not my first trumpet student at JHS. Two others are featured in my blog post of 4 June 2013, which contains photos of the JHS Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Jazz Band at that time. To read about today’s band program at JHS, under the direction of Annemarie Smith, please see https://jhs.lwsd.org/activitiesathletics/performing-arts/band.

Posted in New Students - Intro Posts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Taps” for Japanese-American WWII Veteran at Evergreen Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on August 21, 2011

Yesterday, I played “Taps” as part of the military honors accorded a Japanese-American veteran who served in World War II after having first been interned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Hunt, Idaho with his family. Born in 1923 in Seattle, he was 18 when the U.S.A. entered the war. Within a year after internment, he enlisted in the Army. He served as a translator of Japanese for the Military Intelligence Service during the reconstruction of Japan. He died 25 December 2010. His wife, also born in Seattle, died 14 July 2011. They were married 61 years.

The graveside service at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle was led by the head minister of Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Church. Near the end of the service, the Honor Guard carefully unfolded the American flag and dramatically displayed it to the family and friends. That was my signal to sound “Taps.”

I now own my version of “Taps.” Before, I had been experimenting with slight variations in the way I would play those 24-notes. But as of yesterday, I realized that I’ve now worked out every detail of how I play it. I’ve chosen the key signature, tempo, rhythm, phrasing, and dynamics. I know when to breathe, I know when to use vibrato, I know how long to hold each fermata, I know when to make the notes swell and when to let them fade. Whether loud or soft, I keep the tone solid.

The Honor Guard then folded the flag and presented it to a gentleman in a dark suit. Afterwards, he thanked me.

“Are you his son?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“A good life?” I asked.

“Yes, a wonderful life, a wonderful man!”

I said I served in the Navy and thanked him for his father’s service. I said I would like to know more about his story. “It’s my honor and privilege to play for him today.”

Posted in Ceremonies & Celebrations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christmas Eve Duet: “O Come, All Ye Faithful” with Cornet and Piano

Posted by glennled on December 26, 2010

Glenn Ledbetter plays his 56-year old Super Olds cornet

Know how a song pops into your mind from nowhere, seems significant, and won’t go away? Early during the last week of Advent before Christmas Day, my wife “heard” me sweetly playing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” on my cornet on Christmas Eve. So on Thursday I practiced it, and on Friday night in our living room filled with family members, I played it at a moderate beat with plenty of vibrato and careful phrasing and dynamics. The first verse was solo, and on subsequent verses, she joined in on the piano, and everyone sang.

And then we sang lots of other carols, too, from the booklet of lyrics which she self-published a few years ago. That’s part of the way we celebrate on Christmas Eve (see my post of 30 December 2009, on the duet we played last year—“O Holy Night”—and more).

Late Christmas morning, some dear relatives who were not with us on Christmas Eve came over to visit, and after some delicious treats, we repeated the performance. They arrived happy and left happy. And so, as Dickens’ Tiny Tim said, “A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!”

Posted in Musical Events at Home | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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