Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘trumpet’

“Masters of the (Band) Universe” Concert by Seattle Wind Symphony

Posted by glennled on October 12, 2017

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“Masters of the (Band) Universe” Concert, Seattle Wind Symphony, Shorecrest Performing Arts Center, Shoreline, Washington, 8 October 2017

 

“I get around round round I get around, from town to town (get around round round I get around),” sang The Beach Boys in 1964. And so did I, last Sunday, 8 Oct 2017, when I finally attended my first concert by the Seattle Wind Symphony (SWS). It took me only 7 years to find them—they were founded in 2011. And was it worth it? Yes!

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Trumpeters, Seattle Wind Symphony

This concert kicked off the 2017-2018 season. It was held at the Shorecrest Performing Arts Center on the campus of Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington. Named “Masters of the (Band) Universe,” the concert featured 7 works by composers Ralph Vaughan Williams, Vincent Persichetti, Frank Ticheli, Daniel Barry, Gordon Jacob, Percy Aldridge Grainger, and John Philip Sousa. SWS gave Barry’s In the Beginning its world premier performance at this concert! Fifty-three SWS members played, including five cornet/trumpet players, five horns, five trombones, two euphoniums, and two tubas.

SWS was formed to create a new Seattle sound, that of a wind symphony. Typically, a wind symphony has 50-60 brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments, plus an occasional piano, harp, or string bass, but no other strings. The tonal textures are thus different from orchestral symphonies. Their purpose is to present professional-quality symphonic wind music to the general public and thus model high music and performance standards for young musicians.

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Dr. Wayne Bailey

The current Artistic Director and Conductor is Dr. Wayne Bailey, a trumpeter and Professor of Music at Arizona State University where, in the spring semester, he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in conducting and conducts instrumental ensembles. He is the author of five widely-used music textbooks, one of which is of special interest to me, since I have been teaching private trumpet lessons since 2009: “Teaching Brass: a Resource Manual.” Dr. Bailey and his wife live in Lacey, Washington most of the year.

Larry Gookin, a trombonist and the first SWS conductor, participated in the concert last Sunday, too. He helped Dr. Bailey honor the founding president of SWS, Gerard Kern, clarinetist. Then he conducted Persichetti’s Pageant. Mr. Gookin is SWS’s Artistic Director and Conductor Emeritus. From 1981-2015, he was Director of Bands at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. He also served as the Associate Chair and Coordinator of Graduate Studies at CWU.

Dr. Barry is not only an accomplished composer and conductor—he also is a trumpeter! Dr. Barry is a Fulbright Scholar and has over 50 published compositions for Jazz Orchestra which are performed worldwide by professional and student ensembles. He lives in Seattle, where he writes for and performs regularly with the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra and his own Celestial Rhythm Orchestra. SWS performed his River of Doubt in 2015. Last Sunday, he was in the audience to hear the world premier of his In the Beginning.

The current SWS President is Chris Barnes, principal tubist. SWS’s next concert is “In Their Honor” at Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center in Renton on Sunday 12 November at 3:00 p.m. According to SWS’s website, http://www.SeattleWindSymphony.org, this concert “salutes our veterans with music of the Armed Forces on Veteran’s Day weekend. The band plays marches, an armed services salute, and works specially written in honor of America and our veterans. The concert includes works by American composers Morton Gould, Samuel Barber, John Williams, Charles Ives, and John Philip Sousa.”

Finally, SWS sponsors an annual Young Artist Competition for which contestants must apply by 1 November. The winner will receive a $500 prize to further their music education and will perform with SWS at its “Some of Our Favorite Things” concert on 11 February 2018. For more information, see http://www.seattlewindsymphony.org/Concerts/Detail.php?ID=28.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Busking for VFW at Edmonds Veterans Plaza

Posted by glennled on October 11, 2017

 

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Glenn Ledbetter, busking at Veterans Plaza in Edmonds

The ad said that Saturday, 7 October, would be the last day this year for the Edmonds Museum Summer Market (see http://www.historicedmonds.org/summermarket). So I hustled down to the adjacent Veterans Plaza, set up my trumpet and cornet at about 10:30 a.m., and played for 1.5 hours until noon. It was the first time I’d done it since 1 July—my wife and I had traveled to Washington, D.C., Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England for most of July and August.

My repertoire of some 125 songs comes mostly from musicals and movies, plus patriotic songs. Kind and generous people came up to make donations and talk. Music brings out the best in us, doesn’t it? To me, that’s why God gave us beauty and spread so much artistic talent among all the nations and cultures on earth. I often ask my listeners, “What’s your favorite musical?” One woman said Hello, Dolly, so I played the title song. Another said Fiddler on the Roof, and I played “If I Were a Rich Man.” Sometimes I sing, too, just because it’s so much fun, not because I can sing well, believe me. I like to sing “O, What a Beautiful Morning,” “St. James Infirmary,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Shenandoah,” “When I Fall in Love,” “What a Wonderful World,” and a few others.

I raised $52 in that hour and a half. Then I gave half of it to VWF Post 8870 in Edmonds and VFW Post 1040 in Lynnwood, where I am the Post Bugler. Busking and teaching trumpet make me feel like Johnny Appleseed. Try it—you’ll like it, too.

 

 

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Annual “15 Minutes of Fame” at the Independence Day Parade in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on July 10, 2017

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Lynnwood Community Band plays the famous march, “Washington Post,” at Edmonds Independence Day Parade, 2017

“9-11” changed everything. As we veterans marched in the parade through the streets of downtown Edmonds on Independence Day, the crowd of thousands continuously clapped and cheered. To us on this perfect, sunny, 71-degree day, the parade was a shower of blessings such as we ordinary men and women undoubtedly will never experience for anything else in our lives. We are not sports or rock stars.

I wore my black and white POW-MIA t-shirt—“You Are Not Forgotten.” I carried my beautiful Getzen Field Trumpet, proud to be the VFW Post 1040’s Bugler.

This parade is our annual “fifteen minutes of fame,” and I will drink of this fountain again next year, God willing.

Photos by Nancy MacDonald and Janelle Squires. Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

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Glenn, the Edmonds Trumpet Busker!

Posted by glennled on July 7, 2017

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Glenn Ledbetter, busking at Veterans Plaza in Edmonds. All donations ($128, so far) go to VFW.

I finally did it—public busking with my Getzen trumpet. It’s an idea that’s been germinating within me for a long time, especially since my wife and I enjoyed listening to a grisly, picturesque old accordion player on the bridge crossing the River Wear in Durham, England in August, 2014, and to a dandy Scottish bagpiper blasting his stirring tunes at the corner of Government and Belleville streets in downtown Victoria, B.C., Canada, on the many occasions we have visited there.  “That’s fun,” I thought. “I can do that.”

So, on three recent Saturdays in June and July, as Nike would advise, I just did it. I donned by veterans cap, American-flag T-shirt, and sat myself down in Veterans Plaza in downtown Edmonds, adjacent to the Saturday Market on 5th Ave. N. and Bell St. As people came and went, walking, sitting, eating, talking, listening, I played for two hours from my busking book of about 125 pieces of music, mostly taken from musicals and movies, plus some patriotic songs and marches.

In my open trumpet case, I placed the sign, “Your Donations Go to VFW.” One Saturday, people donated $48, another $35, and another $45. I sent the $128 to VFW Post 1040 (Lynnwood), where I am the Post Bugler, and VFW Post 8870 (Edmonds), which built the new, outstanding Veterans Plaza. The plaza was dedicated on Memorial Day, 29 May 2017.

Busking is indeed fun. People come up and say the nicest things. Toddlers dance. It’s true—music is the universal language of mankind. Just do it, and you’ll see.

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Terrace Park Elementary Spring Band Concert—A Gift from the Gifted

Posted by glennled on July 5, 2017

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Spring Concert, 5th-grade Band (front) and 6th-grade Band (on stage), Terrace Park Elementary School, Mountlake Terrace, WA

As a trumpet tutor, I am privileged to have a student for private lessons who attends Terrace Park Elementary School in Mountlake Terrace. This school is where the Edmonds School District offers its Elementary Challenge Program for highly capable and gifted students in the first through sixth grades. Please see http://edmonds.wednet.edu/cms/One.aspx?portalId=306754&pageId=565078.

I wrote about him (my 33rd trumpet student) in a blog post on 2 May 2017. He’s a pleasure to teach, and I attended his school’s spring band concert on 5 June. As expected, it was both fun and excellent. Brad Allison, Band Director, obviously puts a lot of emphasis on precise intonation and articulation.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Stories of Sacrifice on Memorial Day at Veterans Park in Lynnwood, 05-29-2017

Posted by glennled on June 29, 2017

Who knows the stories of all the people who came to Veterans Park in downtown Lynnwood on Memorial Day, 2017, to honor those who died while serving in our country’s armed services? And think of all the other stories of all the other people who gathered at similar ceremonies throughout our nation and the world on this special day.

It brings to mind the closing stanza of the most famous war poem, “In Flanders Fields,” by Major John McCrae, a Canadian brigade doctor during World War I:

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Whatever their individual stories, they all sacrificed their lives for us. Indeed, we live in gratitude in this blessed “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

And so it was on this Monday when Gavin, a former trumpet student of mine and a 7th-grader at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, and I sounded “Echo Taps” to close this year’s ceremony—he, a Boy Scout with the Bugling Merit Badge, and me, former Boy Scout, a Navy Vietnam veteran, VFW Post 1040 Bugler, now 77, lucky man.

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Young Trumpet Student from St. Joseph School in Seattle

Posted by glennled on June 22, 2017

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St. Joseph School, Seattle

My 36th trumpet student took private trumpet lessons with me for only three months (Feb-Apr) but may come back again…let’s hope! He is one of four children in a very active household and plays both basketball and soccer. He attends St. Joseph School, an all-city, Catholic, K-8 grade school established in 1907 in the North Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.

As a third-grader, No. 36 was one of the youngest trumpeters I’ve ever tutored. [So far, No. 18 was the youngest—please see my post of 26 October 2011.] He is a wonderful, multi-talented kid with strong self-confidence, happy disposition, and high intelligence…just a joy to teach! But alas, the family is SO busy that Mom had to cut back somewhere for now. When he’s a little older, she says, he may take up the trumpet again. At St. Joseph, Band is first offered to sixth-graders, and then 7th- and 8th-graders can take Advanced Band.

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“To the Color,” Pacific Little League Day in Lynnwood, 4-22-2017

Posted by glennled on June 7, 2017

Color Guard rehearsal, PLL Day, Lynndale Park, Lynnwood, 4-22-'17 - Photo by myedmondsnews.com

Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler, rehearses the presentation of the colors with members of Girl Scout Troop 44193. Photo courtesy of MyEdmondsNews.com.

Here comes Spring, and I start watching the calendar more closely. Here comes April. Here comes Baseball. Here comes Pacific Little League Day. Here comes my sixth annual opportunity to sound the bugle call, “To the Color,” as I stand in front of home plate at Harry H. Moore Field at Lynndale Park in Lynnwood, Washington. I tell you, it’s such an honor. I love it. And I love playing my beautiful Getzen Field Trumpet (bugle). This year, the Color Guard was composed of kids from Girl Scout Troop #44193 and Boy Scout Troop #331.

For more information about the Pacific Little League and its recent season-opening ceremonies, please see my previous blog posts on these dates:

  • 19 July 2016
  • 4 May 2015
  • 7 June 2014
  • 26 May 2013
  • 22 May 2012

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Three New Trumpet Students (Nos. 33-35) in Four Weeks!

Posted by glennled on May 2, 2017

“Good things come in threes”—isn’t that the old saying? Well, I’ll buy it. During the four weeks between late March and late April, I started giving private trumpet lessons to three new students! Progressive Beginner Trumpet (a)

On 21 March, my 33rd trumpet student had his first lesson with me. He’s a talented 5th-grader at Terrace Park Elementary School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, where the band director is Zoyia Perry. My new student has a positive attitude, smiles readily, asks questions, and is anxious to learn and improve. Any instructor could hardly ask for more! To start with, we are using the instruction book, Progressive Beginner Trumpet by Peter Gelling. Will he achieve his potential in trumpet, or like some other multi-talented kids, someday choose another specialty? I vote for trumpet!

My 34th trumpet student started lessons on 29 March. He’s a sixth-grader in Beginner Band (for Middle Schoolers) at Evergreen Middle School, where Eric T. Peterson, the band director, runs a high-level, ambitious music program. This student found himself falling somewhat behind his peers and naturally, became discouraged. His parents hired me to help him, and I’m enjoying that. I’ve found that he can play, but he’s formed a few bad habits that work against him. Until now, he simply hasn’t had enough individual instruction about trumpet playing, which is something almost no one can learn on their own. We’re using the same book, Gelling’s Progressive Beginner Trumpet, to replace the bad habits with good ones and to learn things he missed in elementary band. We’ll see in time whether or not he chooses to stay with it. Hope so. He can do it! A few years ago, another of my middle school students (No. 4) wanted to quit, but Mom said no (please see my post of 18 November 2009). Now she tells me he’s majoring in music at college and plans to become a band director!

There is an 11-year old girl, a 5th-grader at Machias Elementary School in Snohomish, who is getting an early start on trumpet. At Machias, the band director is John Smith, but band classes do not begin until the 6th grade—so she rented a trumpet now, and we began lessons a few days ago on 28 April. By the end of her first lesson, she had sounded all the notes in the first four bars of “Happy Birthday.” Smiles all around! She’s buying the book that the band will use next fall, Standard of Excellence, Book I, Trumpet, by Bruce Pearson. And you can bet that she’ll be ready!

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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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