Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘trumpet’

New Trumpet Student #56 from Newcastle Is Comeback Player After 42-Year Layoff

Posted by glennled on January 5, 2022

My trumpet student #56 is a 61-year old businessman who got his first trumpet when he was in third grade. His parents gave him a 1961 Conn Constellation. Over the years, he’s accumulated five more trumpets, but he quit playing as a junior in high school. Then, about a year and half ago, he started playing again in earnest when he picked up a 1947 Super Olds for $5.00 at an office rummage sale. It plays well, but his favorite is his 1971 Getzen Eterna Severinsen.

So, for 42 years, he hardly ever played except for the few months in 2003 when he joined the community band, Brass from the Past. They gave him a mellophone for the march in the Seafair Parade. They disbanded that same year, but not before he got to play a few other gigs, too. Besides that, he once played the “Star-Spangled Banner” at a Little League game. That’s all–in 42 years.

It was the Super Olds that got him going again. He thought he should not own such a good horn unless he could play it. So, he started practicing using the Rubank Method Intermediate exercise book. Then he moved on to the Rubank Method Advanced Vol. 1 and went from there to Saint-Jacome’s Grand Method.

That’s when he contacted me for lessons. We had our first one on 1 December 2021. Due to Covid, our lessons are online on Zoom. I found that I had a student who is serious, practices regularly, and is already competent enough to play in another community band. He says he would also enjoy playing in a Big Band dance band. But until he retires, he doesn’t have the time to make all the rehearsals and gigs. That’s when he’ll look around for a group. For now, he tells me he wants to increase his range and endurance. So, we’re doing lots of lip slurs, arpeggios, intervals, scales, and etudes in higher keys. We’re awakening his awareness of his embouchure, tongue, and lip aperture and buzz. I had him buy Earl Irons’ Twenty-Seven Groups of Exercises for Cornet and Trumpet, and he says he wants to master it.

But we musicians practice exercises so that we can play music for ourselves and an audience. He’s got good articulation, so I sent him a copy of “Chicken Reel.” It starts in the key of Bb and switches to Eb. That has him playing lots of 16th notes and takes him up to high Eb above the staff…a fun piece that works his chops and tongue.

Meanwhile, I invited him to sound “Echo Taps” with me at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Memorial Park in north Seattle on 18 December (please see my blog post of 31 December). We sounded good together, and he said he was honored to perform at this 13th annual wreath-laying event.

His son, who lives in Portland, Oregon, has played sax and guitar in the past, but Dad recently bought him a Conn Coprion trumpet. Its bell is 100% copper and is seamless. Perhaps they’ll be able to perform duets someday.

His other three trumpets are an FA Reynolds (1944), Jupiter pocket trumpet, and Blessing Standard (1958), which he works on to teach himself how to repair brass horns. He likes vintage trumpets and classic American cars.

He’s doing all this because he enjoys it! Is there any better reason?

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Premier Performance of “Where Were You, Back Then?” Trumpet Show at Cristwood Park Retirement Community in Shoreline, WA

Posted by glennled on December 30, 2021

Photo courtesy of Cristwood Park, 390 N 190th St, Shoreline, WA

When I performed my one-hour trumpet show, “Where Were You, Back Then?”, for the first time on 22 August this year, it was at Cristwood Park Retirement Community in Shoreline, WA. But that was not the first time I had performed at Cristwood (see my blog articles of 24 June 2019, 11 July 2018, and 28 June 2014). I offer six different shows, and the Life Enrichment Coordinator, Gabrielle Herndon, wanted something new and different. She chose to host the premier performance of my latest show.

It’s different because its format is chronological, not topical. I choose a year, recall for the audience a few significant events that happened back then, invite everyone to remember where they were and what they were doing at that time, and then play one hit song from that year.

Inside is a large auditorium and fully-equipped, elevated stage

This time, I used three of my horns: trumpet, cornet and pocket trumpet, but when I get my new flugelhorn in March, I’ll start using four.

The show starts with the year 1947 and ends with 2008. That’s a span of 61 years, but I have time to play only 20 songs. So how do I choose those 20 when, each year, there are hundreds of nationally- and globally-significant events? Well, I chose 1947 simply because that’s the year my wife was born–a very significant year, wouldn’t you agree if you were in my shoes?! The song I play is “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah.”

Why end in 2008? Simply because I like playing Abba’s “Money, Money, Money” which was featured in the movie, Mama Mia, and my audience members couldn’t be living in a retirement community as nice as this one unless they had had some financial success in their long lifetimes. And as with all my shows, I invite the audience to sing along, and I tell a few jokes.

So, take 1963, for example. Where were you, back then? On 2 February, Julia Childs presented her show, “The French Chef,” on educational TV for the first time. On 21 April, Dr. Michael E. De Bakey implanted an artificial heart in a human for the first time at a hospital in Houston, TX. On 22 November, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, TX. Lyndon Johnson immediately succeeded Kennedy as President. On 24 November, Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald. Others who died that year included C.S. Lewis (64); Robert Frost (88); Aldous Huxley (69); Patsy Cline (30); and Edith Piaf (47). And then I play “Days of Wine and Roses” from the movie starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. That song won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

With that performance, Cristwood became the 24th retirement community in the Greater Seattle area where I have presented at least one of my six trumpet shows. For more information about Cristwood, please see https://cristaseniorliving.org/cristwood.

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“I Stand for the Flag”–Trumpet Shows at Five Different Retirement Communities in Five Straight Days Clustered Around Veterans Day

Posted by glennled on December 26, 2021

Glenn Ledbetter performs at University House, Issaquah. Photo by Tina Kaiser.

Era Living has 8 retirement communities in the Greater Seattle area, and on five consecutive days around Veterans Day (11 November) I performed my trumpet show, “I Stand for the Flag,” at five of them (please see http://www.eraliving.com). I hope to perform at the other three in 2022.

If there were such a thing as a contest among these five for Best Veterans Day Decorations, then First Prize would have to be awarded to The Gardens at Town Square in Bellevue, where is Stephanie Butler is Life Enrichment Director. See photos below.

Interesting people come to talk with me after a show. For example, a lady at Ida Culver House, Ravenna in Seattle said her husband (deceased) was a direct descendant of Gen. Daniel A. Butterfield. With the help of his brigade bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton in July 1862 during the Civil War, Butterfield composed the bugle call, “Taps,” at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia after the Seven Days Battle. Please see my blog article about this, dated 19 November 2012.

After my show at University House, Wallingford (UHW) in Seattle, a man and his wife told me that her ancestry tree includes a relationship with Frances Scott Key. Key, of course, is the author of the poem which became the lyrics of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

I wear my VFW Honor Guard uniform when I perform this show, which consists of patriotic marches, songs, and bugle calls. And I use four horns: my Getzen Eterna Severinsen trumpet, Super Olds cornet, Getzen field trumpet (bugle), and Jupiter pocket trumpet. Next spring, I’ll be able to add my new Austin Custom Brass Doubler flugelhorn, which is now on order as a Christmas gift from my wife.

My six one-hour trumpet shows include sing-alongs and jokes. They are:

  • “I Stand for the Flag” – Patriotic marches, songs and bugle calls
  • “Things Remembered” – A mix of Christmas songs and popular songs loved by residents
  • “Showtune Favorites” – Hit songs from musicals and movies
  • “In Retrospect” – More of residents’ favorite songs
  • “St. Patrick’s Day Celebration” – Irish ballads, jigs and reels
  • “Where Were You, Back Then?” – Popular songs from selected years during residents’ era

Normally, “I Stand for the Flag” consists of 25 pieces of music. However, this time, the Executive Director of UHW, Deborah Montelaro, asked me to combine the music with a talk about Veterans affairs. That reduced the pieces to 16, and I performed that version of the show at four of the five venues.

I have now performed at least one of these shows at 24 different retirement communities in the Greater Seattle area, and I look forward to many more appearances in 2022, Covid and God willing.

9 Nov – Aljoya, Mercer Island (Photos courtesy of Aljoya and me)

10 Nov – University House, Issaquah (photos by Tina Kaiser of UHI and me)

11 Nov – Ida Culver House, Ravenna (photos courtesy of ICHR and me)

12 Nov – The Gardens at Town Square, Bellevue (Photos courtesy of TGTS by me)

13 Nov – University House, Wallingford, Seattle (Photos courtesy of UHW and me)

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“Showtune Favorites” at Two Retirement Communities in Mountlake Terrace, WA

Posted by glennled on December 20, 2021

Two retirement communities in Mountlake Terrace got the same treat last summer—my one-hour trumpet show, “Showtune Favorites”! They’re located within a few blocks of each other, and I appeared at the second one 9 days after I had performed at the first one. Vineyard Park at Mountlake Terrace residents saw and heard it first (on 27 July), and Mountlake Terrace Plaza residents followed next on 5 August.

The show is one of six different ones in my repertoire. It consists of 25 favorite hit songs from musicals and movies that appeared during the residents’ era. It takes them back to many pleasant memories, and my jokes bring a few chuckles. I loved it, and so did they. As soon as I played the finale, a resident said aloud, “We want him back!”

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New Trumpet Student (#55) Is 6th Grader at Sherwood Elementary School in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on December 6, 2021

Last June, my 55th trumpet student moved to Edmonds, Washington from Johns Creek, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, but there is no southern accent in his speech. How could that be? Perhaps it’s because his Mother once lived in Edmonds and Olympia during her childhood, and his Dad is from Puyallup. So, they must have passed along their Washington accent to him, but they did not pass along or push him into music, although his Dad once played the saxophone. His Mom says he developed his love of trumpet entirely on his own in about the third grade.

Back in Georgia, my trumpeter (now 12) attended Dolvin Elementary School, and now he’s a 6th grader at Sherwood Elementary School. In-person classes have resumed, and he’s in the school band, directed by Lance Ellis. I’m his third trumpet teacher, and for now, all our sessions are online, using Zoom.com. In Johns Creek, his first tutor retired from teaching due to Covid. His second one taught him until the family moved back west this past summer.

During our first lesson last June, I was amazed that he practically had “The Star-Spangled Banner” memorized. He had no trouble with the high F, except that after a short time, his throat would hurt. So, I taught him what it feels like to play with an open throat. He owns a student horn, the Bundy BTR-300 series. He could also play “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.” Where did his attraction to patriotic songs come from? Again, his Mom says he did it on his own. She says he does like sports (NFL football and NASCAR), so maybe he picked it up from that. He wants to become a firefighter. He sounds like a red-blooded, All-American boy to me!

We began with his school band exercise book, the familiar “Essential Elements, Book 1, Bb Trumpet,” and I had his Mom order Michael Sweeney’s “Patriotic Favorites, Bb Trumpet.” It contains 11 songs, and he can play most of them. He’s at the point in his development where he’s learning a little syncopation. We’re working on rhythms that employ dotted-half, -quarter, and -eighth notes and rests—tricky stuff, learning to count beats and figure out rhythms in different time signatures, learning to recognize downbeats and upbeats.

I believe he is well-advanced for his age. And I love his wonderful smile, enthusiasm, and desire to excel. Our lessons are fun! He already has that competitive drive and pride for which trumpeters are known. It’s the best instrument of them all—that’s what we believe!

How do you get a trumpet player to play fff volume?

Write “mp” on the part.

Why did the military brat stop practicing his trumpet at Christmas?

Because his mother prayed for peace on earth.

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Wow! Arturo Sandoval at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle

Posted by glennled on August 16, 2021

Trumpet superstar Arturo Sandoval came to town, so my wife and I went to hear him play at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle on 22 July. He was there Thursday through Sunday nights, playing one set on the first night and two on the others. We had dinner and enjoyed the show. I confess—I’ve seen his exercise books in the music stores and heard more about him than actually heard him play, and I was very curious to listen and learn.

The music was highly energetic most of the time, but occasionally, things would slow down, like when he would insert his mute but most notably when he left the stage and wandered through the audience singing, “When I Fall in Love,” made most famous by Nat King Cole.

I had not realized how versatile, multi-talented, and widely accomplished Arturo is. I had thought of him mostly as a screamingly-high trumpeter, amazing improvisor, and fast-riff performer. But that evening, I heard him sing, saw him move, listened to him play drums, piano, and synthesizer. And his band—five guys just like him! The man on the bongos was my favorite. The sax player and guitarist are great technicians, but I’m mostly a brass and piano fan.

Arturo talked about coming to the USA from his native Cuba in his 40s, learning to speak English, and about now finally emerging from Covid isolation back into live performances at his age (72)—how good it feels and how much it means to him to be back in front of people, making music, with his band. And his avid fans adore him. It was great to be there!

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Five “I Stand for the Flag” Trumpet Shows at Retirement Communities in July!

Posted by glennled on August 15, 2021

In early July, I performed my one-hour trumpet show, “I Stand for the Flag,” at five different retirement communities in the Greater Seattle area. Naturally, they clustered around Independence Day, the Fourth of July. In order, they were:

  • Merrill Gardens at the University, Seattle (1 July)
  • Aljoya, Mercer Island (2 July)
  • Fairwinds Brighton Court, Lynnwood (4 July)
  • Emerald Heights, Redmond (7 July)
  • Merrill Gardens at Burien (9 July)

This show consists of 25 patriotic marches, songs, and bugle calls. I wore my VFW Post 1040 uniform and played three instruments (my Getzen Eterna Severinsen trumpet, Super Olds cornet, and Jupiter pocket trumpet) and used three mouthpieces (Yamaha Vizutti, Bach 8C, and Denis Wick 4).

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Second Trumpet Show at Overlake Terrace Retirement Community, Redmond

Posted by glennled on May 16, 2021

Courtesy of Overlake Terrace Assisted & Senior Living

This spring, Overlake Terrace Assisted & Senior Living, a retirement community in Redmond, invited me back for a second trumpet show, 28 months after my first performance there shortly before Christmas in 2018 (please see my blog post of 23 December 2018 in the Archives in left column). Then Covid shut everything down, everywhere in 2020.

That first show was “Things Remembered,” featuring mostly Christmas carols and songs. This one, on 23 April, was “Showtune Favorites,” featuring hit songs from musicals and movies. I have six different shows, each with about two dozen familiar songs from the residents’ era.

For these shows, I use my Getzen trumpet, Super Olds cornet, Jupiter pocket trumpet, and (sometimes) Getzen bugle.

On Memorial Day, 31 May, I’ll be back there again in my VFW uniform, to sound “Taps” at their ceremony. I’ll use my beautiful Getzen bugle.

For more information about Overlake Terrace, please see Overlake Terrace Assisted & Senior Living in Redmond, WA (stellarliving.com).

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Bugle Calls at National Vietnam War Veterans Day Ceremony in Shoreline

Posted by glennled on April 7, 2021

President Barack Obama proclaimed 29 May 2012 as Vietnam Veterans Day, and by law in 2017, it became National Vietnam War Veterans Day. To my chagrin, both events slipped by me, a Vietnam War Veteran and a member of both the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and VVA (Vietnam Veterans Association). I first heard of it when I was asked to sound “Echo Taps” at the Shoreline Veterans Recognition Plaza on 27 March 2021, two days before the official date (29th).

Col David Gibson, USAF (Ret.), Keynote Speaker. Photo by CPO Ronald A. Jones, LAC-USV-JSC.

The keynote speaker, Col. David Gibson, USAF (Ret.), a Vietnam veteran, spoke of the Three Big Lies about the Vietnam War; the politically-driven, overly restrictive Rules of Engagement; and the imperative that America never enter a war without the intent and will to win it. He delivered his own “Welcome Home” message to the Vietnam veterans attending this ceremony. [“9-11” radically changed the American people’s attitude toward our military.]

L to R: Joe Fitzgerald, Commander, VFW Post 3063, ballard; Bugler, Boy Scout Troop 312, Edmonds; and Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood. Joe is the original owner of the bugle, gifted by Honor Guard, VFW Post 1040, to the Scout.

Who would join me, as VFW Post 1040 Bugler, and sound the “Echo” part of “Taps”? The same Boy Scout from Troop 312 in Edmonds who did it with me at this same place on Independence Day last year (please see my previous post of 29 July 2020). This year, however, he played the “Echo” on his Getzen bugle, not his trumpet. And thereby hangs a tale.

Our scout has often sounded “Taps” at funeral services with the Post 1040 Honor Guard. That was suspended, however, when, last August, he had a terrible accident on his mountain bike. He took a jump on the trail and crashed. His injuries were quite serious and have taken all these many months to heal. Frank Martinez, Commander of the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040, polled the members for ideas of a gift we could present to the boy. I suggested a bugle and found one, a beauty, owned by Joe Fitzgerald, Commander of VFW Post 3063 in Ballard. We had it engraved, “HONOR GUARD – VFW POST 1040” and presented it to him. He loves it, as I do mine (see my post of 4 May 2015). These bugles play so easily with such a beautiful, full, solid tone.

ECHO TAPS

Covid-19 put the clamps on most of my performances in public for a whole year. The church orchestra in which I play is still on hold after the original lockdown in March 2020 cancelled in-person services. Same for performances of my one-hour trumpet shows at retirement communities–they all cancelled their weekly musical entertainment hours. I no longer drove to my clients’ homes to teach private trumpet lessons. We switched to online Zoom lessons. Throughout the 2020 summer, I did no busking in Edmonds to raise money for the VFW. Skyview Middle School, where I teach beginning trumpet class, also switched to Zoom instructrion in the fall.

Only now are things opening up a little. Now that I’ve had my two Modera vaccination shots for Covid, I’m booked at several retirement communities again, playing one or another of my six trumpet shows. And several military ceremonies are coming up–Armed Forces Day (15 May), Memorial Day (31 May), Flag Day (14 June), and Independence Day (4 July). We’re easing back into performances, and that means I’ll be posting here again, starting with this one.

Photos are by Joe Fitzgerald, Richard Rees, and CPO Ronald A. Jones, LAC-USV-JSC.

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Six Bugle Calls at Memorial Day, D-Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day Ceremonies at Shoreline Veterans Recognition Plaza

Posted by glennled on July 29, 2020

Veterans Recognition Plaza, Shoreline, WA
On Flag Day, Dwight N. Stevens, WWII veteran, was honored with a wreath as his son, Larry Stevens, holds his hand over his heart. “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” was played, the Honor Guard (background) fired three volleys, and “Taps” was sounded. Photo by Denise Frisino.

During a recent six-week span, Shoreline City Hall was the scene of four major military ceremonies held outdoors at the adjacent Veterans Recognition Plaza which was dedicated on 21 May 2016. The ceremonies were organized and led by a Shoreline resident, Major General Ray Coffey, United States Volunteer Joint Service Command (USVJSC)

  • 25 May – Memorial Day
  • 6 June – D-Day
  • 14 June – Flag Day and 246th birthday of U.S. Army
  • 4 July – Independence Day and 244th birthday of USA

Participating in these ceremonies reminded me that, of course, the Army was formed before the United States became an independent nation. We had to fight a war to win independence. On 14 June 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the enlistment of riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year. On the next day, George Washington was chosen as Commander-in-Chief and assigned the rank of General.

Major participants in the various ceremonies included members of the USVJSC, U.S. Army Reserve Command, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, VFW Post 3348 (Shoreline), VFW Post 1040 (Lynnwood), American Legion Post 0227 (Shoreline), NW Junior Pipe Band, Boy Scout Troop 312 (Edmonds), and veterans of all five military branches.

When called upon, the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040 fired the three-volley salutes at these ceremonies. Likewise, when called upon, I sounded up to six bugle calls: Assembly, To the Color, Adjutant’s Call, Flourish for Review (“Ruffles”), Taps, and Echo Taps. On 4 July, a Boy Scout who has earned the Bulger Merit Badge sounded both Echo Taps with me and To the Color (solo). I used my Getzen bugle, and he used his trumpet. He is now an 8-grader at Madrona School in Edmonds and sounds Taps with the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard at funeral services. Symphony Aimes sang “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” at the Independence Day ceremony.

Please click to enlarge a photo.

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