Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘solo’

My Trumpet Student Solos at “Jazz Night” at Eckstein Middle School in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 20, 2019

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Junior Jazz Band, Eckstein Middle School, Seattle

 

One hundred and eighty-six student musicians performed for a packed audience on “Jazz Night” on 21 November at Eckstein Middle School in Seattle. And one of them was a 6th grade trumpet player who has been taking private lessons from me since May 2018. I recall that he originally chose trumpet because it sounded “jazzy” (see my blog post of 12 May 2018). And here he was now, one and a half years later, my 42nd trumpet student, at this evening concert—the featured trumpet soloist when the 29-member Junior Jazz Band played “Second Line” (Joe Avery Blues). IMG_5627

Mr. Cuauhtémoc Escobedo (“Mr. E” or “Moc”) is Director of Bands, Jazz Band and Vocal Jazz. After the Junior Jazz Band opened the concert, Vocal Jazz II performed two songs.  Next, the 28-member Intermediate Jazz Band, with 7 trumpeters, played four pieces. Fourth on the program was Vocal Jazz I, the largest group (67 members). Lastly, the strong Senior Jazz Band (41 members, including 7 trumpeters) concluded the concert with five pieces.

As I sat again in Eckstein Auditorium, I was reminded of a former trumpet student of mine who also played in the winter concert there, also conducted by Mr. Escobedo, 8 years ago (please see my blog post of 14 December 2011). I remain in touch with his mom, a nurse. She says he continued to play trumpet in the concert, jazz, and pep bands through four years at two high schools. “Band was great for him,” she wrote to me. “It gave him a home wherever he went.” He’s now a senior at Western Washington University in Bellingham, studying manufacturing engineering. “He is quite the young man. I am very proud of him. He has had several 4.0 quarters and is on the Dean’s list. Hopefully, his job search will go well when he finishes.” IMG_5723

That prompted me to re-read my first blog post about him, then a sixth grader and my fourth student. (Please use the Archives in the left column to find 18 November 2009.) He sounded good in tone and articulation but was very frustrated, struggling with fingering, range, and reading music—no wonder—almost no one can teach themselves to play trumpet well. I wrote, “It is my pleasure to help this gentle boy overcome these obstacles. Let’s give the kid some successes! and who knows? maybe we’ll be listening to him play in the jazz, concert and marching bands soon…maybe in the symphony or opera orchestras someday…maybe on some CDs or in the movies when he’s that good. Let him dream! Help him dream! Help him achieve his potential. Or maybe he’ll simply enjoy playing in the school band with his friends for a few years and never take it any further…that’s fine, too. You find good people in bands. Good memories accumulate with the many events, and lifetime friendships often form–even marriages!”

My 42nd student, now at Eckstein, doesn’t struggle with trumpet the way my fourth student did. He’s quite talented and advanced for his age. But I feel the same about both of them. “Let’s give the kid some successes!…Let him dream!…Help him dream!”—and then watch what happens!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

Junior Jazz Band

 

Intermediate Jazz Band

 

Senior Jazz Band

 

Vocal Jazz I & II

 

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10th Annual Trumpet Recital at Our Home in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on June 12, 2019

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When I scheduled my 10th Annual Trumpet Recital for my private students, I thought at least five out of six could make it. But when the 25th of May rolled around, only two actually came to our home in Edmonds and played. Still, it was important, and for those two, their families and friends, and my wife and I, it was significant.

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Victor Snyder plays “The Pals” on his Olds Ambassador cornet

My seventh grader from Mercer Island was first, playing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.” Next was my 70-year old from the Bryant neighborhood of Seattle, northeast of the University of Washington (UW). His selections were “When I’m 64,” “The Pals,” and “Roll and Tumble Blues.” For him, there’s a story associated with each of these pieces.

“When I’m 64”—well, he’s past that age and is retired from UW, but he thought his fiancé and her friend would get a kick out of it. The marriage is this July. IMG_5796“The Pals”—this polka was the piece which he played in eighth grade in Indiana in a state trumpet solo contest that he won. He’s still using his original Olds Ambassador cornet, c. 1961 (please see my blog post of 2 February 2019). “Roll and Tumble Blues”—he wants to focus on playing more blues pieces in the future, and there’s a chance he and a friend might form a combo to do it.

I played three songs to end the program, and we all enjoyed refreshments and conversation afterwards.

Photos were taken by my wife. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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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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Christmas Eve Celebration at Home, 2017

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2017

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Homemade book of Christmas lyrics

Our family has an elaborate, celebratory Christmas Eve program. First, a bountiful dinner. Then, a spiritual program about the birth of Jesus Christ and his significance to us and the world. Next, a trumpet solo of a Christmas carol by me (this year, “O Come All Ye Faithful”), followed by a sing-along of more carols and songs, accompanied by my wife on the piano. After that, gift presentations and openings. Then, a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” followed by a “midnight” snack. Finally, we empty our stockings of their small “stuffer” gifts and decorate the gumdrop tree.

There is time for both solemnity and frivolity, mixed with love and gratitude. All this we did on Sunday, 24 December 2017.

Music belongs in any celebration. If you play and/or sing at any level, include it in your own celebrations of holidays and birthdays. Play your trumpet for your family. It’ll make them happy…you’ll see.

Hope you had as much joy and fun as we did!

To enlarge the photo, simply click on it.

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New Student #27 Readies for Edmonds-Woodway High School Band

Posted by glennled on February 21, 2016

thMAGS9S7MEvery one of my trumpet students is serious about playing trumpet—after all, they’re paying for private lessons. But some are more serious than others, and my 27th student is one of those. She started in fifth grade band but due to circumstances beyond her control, she had to drop out for two years. Now in the eighth grade, she has moved to downtown Edmonds from Des Moines, Washington, and is now in the trumpet section of the Wind Ensemble at College Place Middle School.

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She likes the fact that the trumpet has only three keys. That, and its light weight and smaller size compared to a tuba, for instance, are what first attracted her (and me) to the trumpet when we were in the fifth grade. It looks deceptively simple, compared to a bassoon, flute, saxophone, or clarinet, where you must use all fingers on both hands. Then the band teacher starts using the French word, “embouchure,” and suddenly, it’s not so simple any more. You find out you must hold your lips just right to buzz into the mouthpiece correctly, and every note has its own unique slot, and to sound different notes, your facial muscles must be set just right, and the aperture must be just the right size for a given note, and your lips must be flexible to make a good, solid tone, and if you aren’t doing all this just right, your tone will be out of tune (sharp or flat), and you must breathe out of the sides of your mouth using your diaphragm, and to play the different notes in a song, you must learn the music alphabet and symbols so that you can read the music language, and there are a bunch of Italian words you must learn, and to play a song, you must change your fingering and your embouchure precisely at the same instant, and to play fast, you must have trained your fingers and embouchure so well that they can change correctly and quickly on sight, automatically, without thought, and to play high notes softly is not easy, and you must simultaneously watch the conductor, read the music, listen to the other musicians, and play, all the time, and it’s hard to play solo under all that pressure because you and the conductor and the audience want you to play perfectly and beautifully…and so forth.

So, although anyone can learn to play trumpet, you have to get serious about it sometime in order to reach your full potential and “Become Your Best!” Fortunately, my 27th trumpet student is serious. Seeing that quality in her daughter, her mom is very happy to support her with private lessons. And seeing the same in her, I am very happy she chose me as her trumpet tutor. She wants to be ready for high school band at Edmonds-Woodway next fall. Our first lesson was on 6 February. We’re starting to plow into the exercise book, I Recommend (1985) by James D. Ployhar. Here we go!

Please click on any image to enlarge it.

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Christmas Eve, 2015, Features Trumpet, Viola, and Piano

Posted by glennled on February 17, 2016

Christmas Day 2015My wife and I have 9 wonderful grandchildren. One in New Zealand plays the drums. One in Alaska plays the violin, and another there plays the saxophone. One in Bellingham, Washington plays the ukulele. And now, this year, one here in Edmonds is learning to play the viola. My wife plays the piano, and I play the trumpet.

We could have a family septet, but what composer ever wrote music for that combination of instruments and when/where would we ever get together? We need an arranger, and then maybe we could all assemble somewhere for Christmas someday and perform.

We’re traditionalists. Each year after our traditional Christmas Eve ham dinner, we then participate in a traditional program in the living room of our home, reading the prophecy of Isaiah about the coming of a Savior and the story of Jesus’ birth, praying, singing and playing Christmas carols and songs, and opening gifts. That’s when three of us did play this year for the family—trumpet, viola, and piano.

From “The Big Book of Christmas Songs,” I played “O Holy Night,” accompanied by my wife on piano, and soloed “Santa Baby,” showing off my new Getzen trumpet (see my post of 14 December). Our granddaughter played a few pieces on her viola—some solo and some with accompaniment—from the instruction book, “Essential Elements for Strings, Book 1” by Robert Gillespie, Pamela Tellejohn Hayes, and Michael Allen. And while my wife played the piano, all six of us sang from her own beautiful songbook, “Christmas Songs and Carols for a Season of Happiness.” The songbook contains the lyrics to 39 pieces, and she plays the music by memory!

Next year, perhaps we’ll all three play together as a trio. Perhaps someone else will then join us, and we’ll work our way up towards becoming a family septet. Or maybe the other two grandchildren will choose their own favorite instruments and take some lessons so we can become a nonet.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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My Trumpet Student “Saves My Bacon” at Veterans Day Ceremony

Posted by glennled on November 26, 2015

Sarah Dunsmore, Trumpeter, sounds "Taps"

Sarah Dunsmore, Trumpeter, sounds “Taps,” Veterans Day, 2015

The program for the Veterans Day Ceremony announced that as Post Bugler for VFW Post 1040, I would play “Assembly” to open the 30-minute ceremony at Veterans Park in Lynnwood on 11 November. Then at the conclusion of the event, my trumpet student and I would perform “Echo Taps.” But at the last moment, I could not play.

So the young lady, a senior at Juanita High School in Kirkland who has taken trumpet lessons from me for the past six years, had to solo. And that she did. Today, as I post this article, is Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful to Sarah Dunsmore—she “saved my bacon.”

Meanwhile, others on the program performed as planned. That included the following:

  • Northwest Jr. Pipe Band
  • Legion of Honor, Nile Shrine Center
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1040 Honor Guard
  • Martin Spani, VFW Post 1040 Past Commander
  • Nicola Smith, Mayor, Lynnwood
  • Manuel Ventosa, US Army WWII Veteran
  • Jim Smith, Former Lynnwood City Councilmember
  • John Beam, Pat McGrady, Bob Jeske, Ray Colby, Max Bettman, Veterans
  • Myra Rintakmaki, Gold Star Mothers
  • VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard
  • Boy Scouts of America, Lynnwood Troup 49
  • Cub Scouts of America, Pack 331

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Four-Band Concert, “Skyview Spring with Tunes and Swing,” in Bothell

Posted by glennled on June 3, 2014

On 1 April, four bands from Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell gathered before a gym-full of parents, relatives, and friends to present  their “Skyview Spring with Tunes and Swing” concert in the SJHS gymnasium.

Glenn Ledbetter prepares to conduct Skyview Jr. High School's second-year band, 1 April 2014

Glenn Ledbetter prepares to conduct Skyview Jr. High School’s second-year band, 1 April 2014

On Fridays, I rehearse the second-year band, and Mr. Shawn McGinn, Director of Instrumental Music, graciously let me conduct one piece (“Front and Center”) that night. It was the first time I ever conducted a band in public–what fun! The feeling was kind of like playing with a wind-up toy–first you practice, practice, practice to acquire the skill, and then on concert night, you just let it go and it does its own thing, automatically, perfectly! I was so proud of the kids.

The first-year elementary band (mostly 5th graders) played “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Eye of the Tiger.” The second-year elementary band (mostly 6th graders) played “Front and Center,” “Clarinet Boogie,” and “I’m a Believer.” Then came the 7th-grade band from SJHS, playing “The Tempest,” “A Song for Friends,” and “Furioso.” And finally, the Skyview Jazz Band played “Dorian Journey,” “Moanin’,” “Work Song,” and “Mr. PC.”

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Photo Gallery of Winter Concert at Skyview Jr. High in Bothell, 12-12-’12

Posted by glennled on December 20, 2012

Please click on any of the 32 photos to enlarge it.

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