Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

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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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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Seattle Summer Music Camp’s Concert at Ballard High School

Posted by glennled on August 26, 2016

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At Ballard High School, Seattle

If you’re a musician, you’re a performer, an entertainer. You’re meant to play for an audience. Naturally, you do it for your own pleasure, because you’re talented and it’s fun. But it’s a gift you share with others in a band or orchestra, and together, you give to an audience something of beauty and pleasure–music. If you’re good enough, they’ll even pay money to receive your gift.IMG_8531 - Copy

But imagine this: you attend a private school without a music program. You don’t get to perform at three concerts per school year like students in most other schools, even though you take private trumpet lessons year-round. That’s the predicament of one of my students. So, what does he do?

He attends the Seattle Music Camp in the summer! He did so last year and again this year at Ballard High School. And on 21 July, as a forthcoming 8th-grader, he played in a public concert for just the second time in his life. And he got to perform in both the Senior Band and the Jazz Band. Good for him. Well done!

This was the camp’s 63rd Annual Summer Music Evening Concert, held at Ballard High School on 21 July and headed by Mark Oesterle, a music teacher in the Seattle School District since 2001. The other five camp teachers were Lindsey Dustin (Junior Orchestra), Mika Armaly (Senior Orchestra), Katrina Sibicky (Junior Band), Aaron Hennings (Intermediate Band and Jazz Band), and Michael James (Chamber Ensemble and Senior Band).

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Michael James conducts Senior Band at Seattle School District’s 2016 Summer Band Camp

Michael James is Director of Bands at Ballard High School. His award-winning Ballard Jazz Band has performed at three of the nation’s most prestigious jazz festivals—the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York City, Swing Central Jazz Festival in Savannah, Georgia, and Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, California. In April 2017, his Ballard Wind Ensemble will perform in Carnegie Hall at the New York International Music Festival.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Spring Concert, College Place Middle School, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on August 1, 2016

I’ve been to College Place Middle School (CPMS) in Lynnwood before but never for a band concert until, on 16 June, I went to hear my 27th trumpet student play in the 8th Grade Wind Ensemble, under Kate Labiak, Director, College Place Bands. What a treat! My student has been taking private trumpet lessons with me since last February (see my blog

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7th Grade Concert Band (L) and Orchestra (R), College Place Middle School, Lynnwood

post of 21 February 2016). But soon she’ll be moving again to enter 9th grade in the high school at Orting, southeast of Tacoma. Incidentally, her younger sister also plays trumpet.

Performing were the 7th and 8th Grade Orchestras, Concert Choir, 66-member 7th Grade Concert Band, and the 55-member 8th Grade Wind Ensemble. The latter played three pieces, highlighted (to me) by Procession of the Nobles, by Rimsky-Korsakov, arranged by

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The two “Students’ Choice: Outstanding Musician Award” winners, trumpeters, 7th Grade Band (L) and Jazz Band (R)

Balent. Three students performed as Guest Conductors.

Two male trumpeters won the “Students’ Choice—Outstanding Musician” awards: one in the Concert Band and one in the Jazz Ensemble. Way to go, boys, very impressive!

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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My Youngest “Echo Taps” Partner on Memorial Day

Posted by glennled on July 22, 2016

 

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“Echo Taps” partners, Memorial Day, 2016. Photo by Gary Walderman.

He’s only a seventh grader, going into eighth this fall, but he plays the trumpet with confidence and accuracy. So I asked him to play “Echo Taps” with me at the Memorial Day ceremony on 30 May at Veterans Park in Lynnwood. Other students of mine have played the “echo” part with me there, but they were all older and in high school. Also, those other students had all taken private trumpet lessons with me. This trumpeter, however, was my student when he was in the beginning bands at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. He’s doing well in the 7th grade band and jazz band at SJHS now.

Echo Taps, BGL, 5-30-16

“Echo Taps,” Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler. Photo by Janelle Squires.

The weather this year was the best ever in my five years as VFW Post 1040 Bugler. On Memorial Day, I get to sound three bugle calls: “Assembly” (to open the ceremony), “Echo Taps” (to conclude the ceremony), and “To the Color” (when the flag is hoisted from half- to full-mast at noon). Attendance at this half-hour ceremony and the one on Veterans Day (11 November) is growing.

My Getzen bugle has two tuning slides. I use the G slide for “Tattoo,” “Taps,” and “Funeral March,” and the Bb slide for all other bugle calls. Love that horn!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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My 28th Trumpet Student—Senior Band Member at Prestigious Washington Middle School, Seattle

Posted by glennled on April 13, 2016

th38GNGQ82My 28th trumpet student is a cohort—in fact, a Highly Capable Cohort. He lives in West Seattle, but he commutes to Washington Middle School (WMS) on Jackson Street in the Central District, where he is among other cohorts (i.e., friends, colleagues, companions, associates). HCC was formerly known as APP (Accelerated Progress Program). HCC students have achievement test scores at or above the 95th percentile and cognitive test scores at or above the 98th percentile. Wow, I’m impressed!

We started his trumpet lessons on the last day of February in this Leap Year. We meet at a practice studio at Ted Brown Music in the University District (see http://www.tedbrownmusic.com). He’s been playing since 4th grade and is now a 7th grader. He’s also in his third year of piano lessons. Trumpet is his primary instrument, but when the family inherited a piano, he started playing it out of curiosity and for pleasure. And he takes piano lessons, too. Obviously, he enjoys learning.

What attracted him to the trumpet? Its power, he says. It sounds triumphant. But it also can sound sweet, and it can scream. And finally, it has only 3 buttons! Now that he’s been playing for four years, he wants to improve his range, tone, and articulation, as well as improve his all-around playing ability. His trumpet is a Getzen Model 700S Eterna II, manufactured in 2012 (see http://www.getzen.com/trumpet/). He plans to attend Garfield High School, which is renowned nationally for it music program, and he wants to play throughout high school and college. He often wears University of Washington shirts, and the WMS school mascot is the Junior Husky. (Someday, we might end up playing trumpet together in the Husky Alumni Band.)washmidschool_logo

At WMS (grades 6-8), there are four concert bands, conducted by Kelly Barr-Clingan, Director of Bands and Jazz and an active trombonist and vocalist. Please see http://washingtonmsmusic.com/wmsmusic.com/Welcome.html. My student plays in the Senior Band, and he enjoys movie sound tracks, especially Star Wars. Last year, he was a member of the All-City Junior Band. Last summer, he marched in three community parades: Renton River Days, West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival, and Queen Anne Days.

On 26-28 May this year, the Senior Band, Senior Choir, and Senior Orchestra are giving four performances in the Vancouver, B.C. Heritage Festival. The trip is organized through Worldstrides, a leader in educational trips for students (see https://worldstrides.com/itineraries/vancouver-heritage-festival/). On 14 June, WMS will present its Spring Concert at Garfield High School, featuring all the senior groups. More than half of the school’s population is enrolled in the 13 daily music ensembles. In addition, there are four after-school music offerings. Wow, I’m impressed!

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My New Getzen Eterna Severinsen Trumpet

Posted by glennled on December 14, 2015

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Getzen Eterna Severinsen Model (900S)

 

My beautiful, loving wife bought me the most wonderful Christmas gift! My new B-flat trumpet was delivered to our home in the late afternoon of Friday, 4 December, just a couple of hours before I was due to perform in the musical, Home for Christmas, with the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra in Lynnwood. I blew a few notes from low G to high C, took it with me, and played it in public that very evening.

It was manufactured by Getzen Company in Elkhorn, Wisconsin in c.1977. It’s the 900S model  with medium large bore (.460″), Amado water keys, first-valve trigger, third-valve slide, bright silver plate finish, and case.

It was named for Carl “Doc” Severinsen, who was then Vice President of Research and Development. Severinsen is a nationally famous television artist (most notably, Music Director, “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson), a clinician, and guest soloist. According to the company’s 1977 brochure, it took almost two years of development before the model was accepted for market. It’s designed and built for professional trumpeters. One of the all-time great jazz trumpeters, Freddy Hubbard, is among the pros who played this model.

I’ll be using it not only to play gigs but also in teaching private lessons. I’m thrilled. What a great Christmas present!

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McGinn’s Farewell Elementary School Bands Concert

Posted by glennled on September 19, 2015

After 15 successful years as Director of Instrumental Music at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, Mr. Shawn McGinn is leaving for California in the coming months.

Music-clipart4-1024x835He conducted his final elementary school bands concert on 27 May at the Northshore Performing Arts Center (NPAC) at Bothell High School. The two bands (1st year and 2nd year) are comprised of students from nearby Crystal Springs, Canyon Creek, and Fernwood elementary schools.

The 1st year band played Bang the Drum All Day (I Don’t Want to Work) by Todd Rundgren, arranged by Michael Story.

As guest conductor, I then led the 2nd year band in playing Andromeda Overture by Mark Williams.

Finally, both bands joined in playing William Tell Overture by Gioacchino Rossini, arranged by Andrew Balent.

The concert concluded with a jazz trio jam session featuring piano, tenor sax, and flugelhorn, played by Mr. McGinn.

 

Posted in School Concerts, Skyview Junior High | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A 2014 Winter Holiday Concert at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore

Posted by glennled on April 29, 2015

Mr. Jim Rice conducts IHS Symphonic Band

Mr. Jim Rice conducts IHS Symphonic Band

This year’s “Winter Holiday Concert” at Inglemoor High School’s (IHS’s) Performing Arts Gymnasium in Kenmore on 18 December 2014, started with about 30 minutes of music by the school’s jazz band, as the full-house audience arrived and got seated in the grandstands. They played Bernard’s “Winter Wonderland,” among other tunes. Mr. Jim Rice is the Jazz Band Director, and he also conducted the Symphonic Band (including “Themes from ‘The Nutcracker'”) and String Orchestra (Holtz’s “In the Bleak Midwinter”).

Mr. Ted Christensen directed both the String Orchestra (Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”) and the Wind Symphony (including “Flourish for Wind Band”). The Wind Ensemble featured 8 new cornets in “The Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol” by Richard Franko Golman. Mr. Christensen is not only the IHS Band Director but also the Northshore School District Music Coordinator. This is Mr. Christensen’s 32nd year at IHS. The Wind Ensemble took a trip in April 2015 to play at the “Ring of Fire” Concert in Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The Concert Choir, Belle Voci, and Chamber Choir were directed by Teresa Sullivan, who is both IHS Choir Director and Music Department Chair.

Below is a photo gallery of the concert. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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22nd Trumpet Student Has High Ambitions

Posted by glennled on April 13, 2015

Chris Botti, trumpeter

Chris Botti, trumpeter

Natalie Dungey. trumpeter

“We’re a musical family!” says the Mom of my 22nd trumpet student, a 7th grade student at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. His first lesson with me was on 1 July. He plays his Mom’s trumpet, the one her parents bought for her when she was in 10th grade at age 16. (Her Dad played cornet.) She made All-State Band in Texas, and now her son (13), has an even loftier ambition–to become a professional musician and play “awesome” trumpet. His favorite trumpeter is Chris Botti (www.chrisbotti.com/us), and he’s a great admirer of Natalie Dungey (www.nataliedungey.com).

He likes classical music but also plays in the school jazz band, which he says helps him make different sounds and improves his ability to read music. Within the past year, he’s taken up drums (his Dad plays drums) and tinkers around on the piano. He’s started a composition for an ensemble of 2 trumpets, 2 violas, 1 tuba, 1 snare drum, 1 alto sax, and 1 flute. Meanwhile, he also wrestles and plays soccer. And his older sister sings and plays piano, guitar, and clarinet, while his younger sister “sings like a mocking bird,” says her Mom.

Why did he choose trumpet? Because it has such a “powerful sound that it hits you in the face, but at the same time it can make soft sounds that are pure beauty.” Right on!

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