Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘rhythm’

My Trumpet Student Stars at Recital in Seattle by Lessons In Your Home

Posted by glennled on June 5, 2022

He had never performed a trumpet solo in front of an audience. He’s 13 and this fall will be an 8th grader at McClure Middle School on Queen Anne in Seattle. Weeks ago, he sorted through several possible songs and then made his choice–“The Wild Blue Yonder,” the official song of U.S. Air Force.

“The Wild Blue Yonder,”
photo by Stephanie Owen

I was very pleased. It not only is a great, patriotic song, but also it presented some technical challenges for him. One is range. In the trumpet key of C (Concert Bb) near the end of the piece, the high Es are in the top of the range where he plays confidently. Then, there is the time signature–6/8, with its many triplets throughout. Next, there are several accidentals (all sharps). Finally, there is rhythm–one couplet. Through isolation and repetition, we worked out all the frustrating kinks, and he mastered them all. Despite the common butterflies all performers experience, he played confidently and expertly with a nice tone. Hooray!

He began lessons with me in March 2020, just as Covid-19 struck the USA and lockdowns forced students out of their school classrooms and online. As of the recital date, all our lessons had been on Zoom.com. I had never met him or his family in person until we introduced ourselves and sat together in the audience at The Royal Room in the Columbia district of south Seattle on 15 May. He made his mother, father, sister, and I proud. It was lovely. Success is sweet.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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New Trumpet Student #47 from Lockwood Elementary in Bothell Prepares for 5th Grade Band

Posted by glennled on May 9, 2019

th[4]He’s about to finish 4th grade at Lockwood Elementary School in Bothell and has a close friend who has registered for band next year—so he’s registered, too. That’s why he chose trumpet. His mother contacted me on 12 March, and we started weekly private lessons on 2 April. He wants to get a head start.

She bought him the instruction book which the band uses, Standard of Excellence, Book I, by Bruce Pearson. We’re working our way through the early pages and the inside back cover, concentrating on “the first six notes,” C through A of the C Major Scale. He’s learning the very basics: how to hold the trumpet properly, sit properly, buzz in the mouthpiece, understand the route of his air through the valves and slides, oil the valves, release the water that collects in the horn, breathe while playing, set his embouchure to sound each different note, read the time signature, recognize the shapes of quarter, half, and whole notes and rests, play different rhythms at different tempos, and so forth and so on.

Every page introduces new things to learn and master. There is so much to remember to do, all it once! Yet it looks so simple—the trumpet has only three buttons—it appears deceptively easy. He has shown me that he can handle it—and he will master it if he practices. He has the natural ability. He already has a head start. He’s getting better, step by step. And so far, he tells me, he likes playing trumpet. I’ve invited him and his family to attend my 10th Annual Trumpet Recital in Edmonds on 25 May as observers. Here’s hoping he attends next year as a participant.

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41st Trumpet Student Comes from Queen Anne Elementary in Seattle

Posted by glennled on March 28, 2018

What do you do as a parent when your child is in 5th grade, wants to play trumpet, and attends a school where there is no band program? This parent rented a horn and started teaching him some music on her own last January. But he quickly adapted so well and got so good that she soon realized that what she was teaching him using the piano at home was not teaching him the trumpet. little-einsteins-quincy[1]

So she found me on the internet through Lessons In Your Home, http://www.lessonsinyourhome.com. We began with his first lesson on 6 March, using the instruction book, Progressive Beginner Trumpet, by Peter Gelling (see  https://www.amazon.com/CP69122-Progressive-Beginner-Peter-Gelling/dp/1864691220). When I first listened to him play, I found that he already has a solid tone, strong sense of rhythm, and a range up to C on the staff—things that it takes many 5th graders in band about 6 months to develop.

My 41st trumpet student is an enthusiastic, eager boy who will turn 11 this summer and is multi-talented—he loves sports, too! His eyes are bright, and his smile is ready and wide. Some techniques come quickly and easily to him. His mom says he loves music—he whistles and sings a lot. She says he needs challenges, responds to goals, and likes structure and assignments. (That sounds like a good formula for success, doesn’t it?) But at Queen Anne Elementary in Seattle, he attends a 45-minute music class only once a week. There are a few trumpeters besides himself, but “it’s not exactly band.” It’s a music program that the school started just this year.

So, here we go! Taking private lessons involves a lot of practice, and practice requires a lot of repetition. That can get old—gotta keep it fun. Along with his excellent disposition and talent, does he also have patience and tenacity? How can I help him handle obstacles and frustration? The instruction book we’re using is well-suited for him. And my motto is printed on my business card—“Become Your BEST!” Let’s make it happen.

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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!

Posted in New Students - Intro Posts, Skyview Junior High | 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 »

6th-Grade Soloist Prepares to “Nail It” at Christmas Choir Concerts!

Posted by glennled on November 15, 2010

When you’re chosen to accompany the choir at a Christmas concert, you’ve gotta practice your trumpet and be ready—especially when you’re a 6th grader and the music is written in the key of A (with three sharps) and the ending note is High A above the staff! And that’s how it came to be that I now have my 12th trumpet student. Besides being in band, he’s also a member of the choir at Canyon Creek Elementary School in Bothell. The choir will perform at the 600-seat Northshore Performing Arts Center (NPAC) in Bothell and the Seattle Center on 14 and 15 December, respectively.

At age 12, he’s a talented, enthusiastic, confident, responsible boy with a warm smile and pleasant, happy attitude. His trumpet tone is strong and solid, and he has an excellent sense of rhythm. For the concerts, he simply needs more practice of the right exercises to strengthen his embouchure and extend his range further into the upper register. Since he’s a quick learner, I think he’ll do very well when he plays at the Christmas concerts next month. We have about five more weeks of lessons to prepare…and that’s just enough time to “nail it!”

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Challenging Chair Placement for 8th-Grader in Kenmore

Posted by glennled on November 13, 2010

My newest (10th) trumpet student is unhappy with his current chair placement within the trumpet section of his junior high school band in Kenmore. He wants to move up toward the top. (I like students with goals and determination!)

We’ve now had two private lessons, and “we’re workin’ on it.” Now in his third year of playing, he was essentially self-taught. Not knowing anything different, he adopted a very unconventional way of placing the mouthpiece on his lips. As the band music became progressively more complex and demanding, his unusual embouchure became a major problem for him—but he didn’t realize it.  He and his parents were smart enough to seek help. The fact is that he simply was not gonna get to the top playing that way—so “we’re workin’ on it.”

He’s accepting the challenge he’s facing. A wise man said this about challenges—“Every setback is a setup for a comeback.”

Once he turns the corner, catches on, and gains control of the new sounds he’s producing, he should advance quickly because he already has very strong practice habits and, for his age group, he already knows fingering and rhythm. I think he’ll soon be producing a better tone and will extend his range higher into the upper register. Then watch out, those of you trumpeters who are now sitting in the higher-placed chairs—move over, here he comes!  🙂

Posted in New Students - Intro Posts, Student Competitions, Honors & Awards | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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