Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

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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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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My 40th Trumpet Student Is a North Creek High School Freshman

Posted by glennled on January 13, 2018

My 40th trumpet student is no stranger to me—I taught him a few years ago in 5th and 6th grade bands at Skyview Jr. High School (now a middle school), and twice he has 0511-1007-0317-2348_Cartoon_of_a_Guy_Playing_a_Trumpet_clipart_image[1]sounded “Echo Taps” with me, first on 2016 Memorial Day and again on 2017 Veterans Day. Now, as a freshman, he is the lead trumpeter in the Symphonic Band and Jazz Band at the new North Creek High School in Bothell. (Please see my posts of 22 July 2016 and 17 December 2017 in the Archives column to the left.)

Our first private lesson was on 8 January 2018. He plays basketball and will run track in the spring, but he has a 2-month window in January-February where he is not overwhelmed and has time for weekly trumpet lessons. His goals are to increase his range and stamina and improve his ability to read rhythms, especially in jazz. So I had him order two excellent instruction books:

  • Twenty-Seven Groups of Exercises for Cornet and Trumpet, by Earl D. Irons
  • Complete Jazz Trumpet Book, by Mel Bay

When the lessons cease, he can continue to improve on his own, and when he wants to resume lessons, I’ll be ready to help.

To enlarge the clip art, simply click on 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.

IMG_4471 - Trumpeter & Guitarist
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.

IMG_4517 (2) - Dr. Debbie Montague, Director of Instrumental Music

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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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

IMG_8427 - At Ballard High School

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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