Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘trumpet’

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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2017 Northshore School District’s Sixth Grade Honors Concert in Kirkland

Posted by glennled on March 5, 2017

 

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Right to Left: 2017 NSD Honor Band, Choir and Orchestra

Almost 300 6th-grade, honor musicians from 20 elementary schools in the Northshore School District performed for a packed audience of parents, relatives and friends at Northshore Jr. High School in Kirkland on 15 February 2017. First, Robin Enders conducted the 96-member Honor Orchestra, then Melissa Headrick conducted the 95-member Honor Choir, and finally, Kate Labiak conducted the 98-member Honor Band.

The orchestra played three pieces, finishing with the Finale from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, arranged by Richard Meyer. The choir performed four songs, including the very entertaining “Jim-Along Josie,” an American folk song arranged by Reginald Unterseher. The band also performed four pieces, concluding with “Dance Celebration” by Robert W. Smith.

As you know, I teach beginning brass at Skyview Jr. High School; i.e., 5th and 6th grade elementary brass players who come to Skyview and rehearse from 7:50 to 8:25 a.m. five days every week under the guidance of Charlie Fix, Director of Orchestra and Band at Skyview. This year, he selected five of my trumpet players and two of my trombone players to make Honor Band! And, in addition, this is a first—two of our trumpet players and one of our trombone players made Honor Choir!

Enders is Director of Orchestras at Explorer Middle School and Mariner High School in the Mukilteo School District. Her middle school orchestra was a national award winner in 2015. She has been a violin coach with the Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestras. Headrick teaches at Wilder Elementary School in the Lake Washington School District, among many other music leadership activities. Labiak teaches instrumental music at College Place Middle School in Edmonds School District. She also leads many music activities, including conducting one of the four orchestras (Symphonette Orchestra) with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras program since 2003.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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My Trumpet Student Sounded “Echo Taps” with Me on 2016 Veterans Day Ceremony in Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 21, 2016

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Glenn Ledbetter and Aidan, “Echo Taps” buglers

Did you know that “Echo Taps” is not an official U.S. military bugle call and is not to be sounded at funeral and graveside ceremonies? But because people like it, it is often used at other ceremonies, as it was this year on 11 November at Veterans Park in Lynnwood. During my time as bugler for VFW Post 1040, we first used a trumpet student of mine to play the “echo” part on Memorial Day, 1 June 2013. Ever since, we have continued to use them on both Memorial Day in May and Veterans Day in November (except one when I was sick).

In all, so far, six of my students have sounded “Echo Taps” with me in seven such ceremonies—Josiah, Vaughan, Robert (twice), Sarah, Gavin, and Aidan. Aidan did so this past Veterans Day. He is an 8th grader at Washington Middle School in Seattle and started taking private trumpet lessons with me earlier this year (see my blog post of 13 April 2016).

If you’re curious about additional coverage of “Echo Taps” in this blog, please see my posts of:

  • 19 July 2011—echo by Roy Pollock, Medal of Honor ceremony
  • 2 July 2012—echo by Bob O’Neal, War of 1812 Bicentennial ceremony
  • 19 November 2012—echo by Richard Haydis, Veterans Day ceremony
  • 1 June 2013—echo by Josiah Chupik, Memorial Day ceremony
  • 19 June 2014—echo by Robert Zhou, Memorial Day ceremony
  • 15 April 2015—echo by Sarah Dunsmore, Veterans Day ceremony
  • 17 September 2015—echo by Robert Zhou, Memorial Day ceremony
  • 22 July 2016—echo by Gavin [name withheld], Memorial Day ceremony

Photo by Rick Grambihler.

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How I Discovered the Cascade Symphony Orchestra: the 2016 “Holiday Pops” Concert, Edmonds

Posted by glennled on December 15, 2016

 

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Cascade Symphony Orchestra at Edmonds Center for the Arts

My wife and I have lived in Edmonds for 13 years and had never heard of the Cascade Symphony Orchestra until this month. That says a lot more about us than about the CSO which was formed in 1962. But it’s never too late to discover another of the good things in life, is it? How did this one finally happen?

Well, I’d been thinking about taking her out on a date, and one evening I was talking with the outstanding principal horn player in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra. “What other orchestra do you play in?” I asked. “The Cascade Symphony Orchestra,” he replied, and that took me to the internet the next day. I found out that CSO was presenting its “Holiday Pops” concert in Edmonds on 11-12 December. My wife said yes, so I drove to the ticket office at the Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA), bought two tickets for Sunday night, peaked inside to see the dark auditorium, and picked up a booklet on the ECA to educate myself a little.

The Edmonds Center for the Arts, with its new 700-seat auditorium, held its Grand Opening on 6 Jan 2007 (see http://www.facebook.com/edmondscenterforthearts). Originally, in 1910, the building was the Edmonds High School. This is now ECA’s 10th Anniversary Season.

CSO is a non-professional orchestra, composed of accomplished musicians with careers in other fields who “perform purely for the joy of it.” The orchestra was formed in 1962, and led by Robert Anderson, the original conductor (see http://www.cascadesymphony.org). That was the year of the Seattle World’s Fair and opening of the Space Needle. It was also the year I graduated from the University of Washington, joined the Navy, and reported for duty at Officer’s Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. There was no freeway in Seattle then. The Seattle portion of I-5 opened in 1967, the year I returned to Seattle to teach Naval ROTC at the University of Washington for the final two years of my active duty.

Several musicians in the original orchestra were still members in 2011-12, the 50th-Anniversary season. The 2016 Holiday Pops program lists 86 musicians in CSO. Of those, 17 members have played in CSO for 30 years or more. And of those, five members (two violinists, two violists, and one cellist) have been members for 50 years or more! The trumpeters are George Steward, Principal; Rocklyn Meredith; and Delsin Thomas. Annual auditions are held in August; individual auditions are scheduled by appointment. At least four CSO members also play in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra: Lance Ellis (Principal, French Horn); Rob Rankin (Principal, Trumpet); Madison Bromel (Cello); and Heather Hoskins (Bass).

CSO’s 2016-17 concert season (September through May) consists of five symphony performances, all at ECA in Edmonds. The orchestra rehearses every Monday night during the concert season—it’s known as “Cascade night.” Maestro Michael Miropolsky (a Russian violinist) is the Music Director and current Conductor.

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Michael Miropolsky

As for the concert itself, the program included works by Johann Strauss, Peter Tchaikovsky, Leroy Anderson, Victor Herbert, and Robin Seletsky/Ed Marcus, as well as five “Holiday Sing-Along” songs led by the Maestro playing his violin. The orchestra is composed of accomplished musicians and is well-rehearsed. It was a good reminder of how widespread musical talent is shared among all societies, nationalities, and races throughout the world. To me, that has a divine purpose. No wonder music is called the “universal language.”

The piece arranged by Robin Seletsky and orchestrated by Ed Marcus is called “Chanukah [Hanukah] Klezmer Medley” was extraordinary. It features a Klezmer clarinet solo, expertly performed by Beverly Setzer, who made her clarinet talk like a person—amazing! Klezmer is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews that reflects the emotional vocal and dance music of Eastern Europe, especially Romania, and is most often played at Jewish weddings and celebrations.

The two Leroy Anderson pieces, “Sleigh Ride” and “Chicken Reel,” showcased the composer’s catchy tunes and playful orchestrations. We learned from the program that Anderson was a linguist who specialized in Scandanavian and German languages. He was Chief of the Scandinavian Desk of Military Intelligence at the Pentagon. But, like the CSO musicians, he pursued a second career simultaneously—in his case, with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He wrote “Sleigh Ride” in 1946. “Chicken Reel” is a dance tune written in 1910 by Joseph M. Daly which Anderson then orchestrated.

Learning more about Victor Herbert was also a treat for me. A composer, conductor, and cellist, he was Irish-born in 1859 and died in Connecticut in 1924. CSO concluded the concert with his march, “Auditorium Festival,” which premiered in 1901 in Chicago with Herbert conducting the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra on tour. It incorporates the familiar folk song melody, “Auld Lang Syne.” Among his many compositions are 43 operettas, including Naughty Marietta (1910), Sweethearts (1913), and his best-known Babes in Toyland (1903).

Oh, by the way, the date was a success. When we returned home, I got a kiss from my bride, and she accepted when I asked for another date. Perhaps I’ll suggest Monday, 9 January 2017 at 7:30 p.m. when CSO presents Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 in Eb major, featuring Jeffrey Fair, soloist, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor (Pathetique). Maybe we’ll see you there.

Most of these photos can be enlarged simply by clicking on them.

 

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“All I Want for Christmas,” the 2016 Musical at Alderwood Community Church, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 10, 2016

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Curtain Call, “All I Want for Christmas”

More than 3,100 people, spread over six performances, came to see this year’s musical, “All I Want for Christmas,” at Alderwood Community Church (ACC) in Lynnwood. This is the 28th consecutive Christmas show produced by the church (see http://www.amcc.org). And it is the second straight year that the play was written by Lauri Evans Deason of Los Angeles (see my blog post of 15 December 2015). And it is the third consecutive time that I have played trumpet in the ACC Orchestra at these Christmas productions. I am continually impressed with how much talent of all ages there is among these church members.

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Glenn Ledbetter, 2016

The lead character is Lyric Jensen, played admirably by McKenna Sessions, a high school senior with a lovely voice and accomplished singing style. Lyric’s birth mother, Molly, abandoned her when she was only two-days old in a manger in the nativity scene in front of a church on Christmas day. The Jensens, Steven and Nora, found her and adopted her. Nora died three years later, and Steve continued to raise her.

Seeking greater happiness at age 17, Lyric longs to find her birth mother. Instead, she finds a woman who is later exposed as an imposter, pretending to be her birth mother in hopes of financial gain. Lyric realizes that real love and happiness is with her Dad. The story is an allegory about God’s unconditional love for humankind, his adopted children.

For me, the hit songs in the musical are “All I Want for Christmas,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” and “When Love Takes You In.” The first is by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY). The second is by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Jean Baptiste Calkin, with new words and music by Bernie Herms, Mark Hall and Dale Oliver, arranged by Dave Williamson. The third is by Steven Curtis Chapman, orchestrated by Sherry Joos.

The musical photos are courtesy of John Crozier, http://www.crozierphotography.com. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” for Skyline’s Annual Memorial Walk in Seattle, Honoring Veterans

Posted by glennled on November 10, 2016

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Skyline at First Hill is a Presbyterian retirement community in downtown Seattle near St. James Cathedral and Harborview Hospital. Between its two wings, one for independent living (Skyline Towers) and the other for assisted living (Skyline Terraces), is a courtyard. That’s where I stood in the rain on 2 November to sound “Taps” on my Getzen bugle after the responsive reading of “We Remember Them” by Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer, which is found in the Jewish Prayer Book (please see http://hmd.org.uk/resources/poetry/we-remember-them-sylvan-kamens-rabbi-jack-riemer). Then “Taps” closed the second annual “Skyline Memorial Walk” ceremony hosted by Skyline’s chaplain, The Reverend Elizabeth Graham.

img_4393Earlier, the residents and staff of Skyline had been invited to submit the names of veterans and others whom they wished to be remembered in advance of Veterans Day, 11 November. Their names—about 200—were read aloud, interspersed with periodic bell ringing, before the audience. Twenty, mostly elderly people gathered in the Madrona Community Room: two men, 18 women, silent in their memories of their dear veterans of WWI, WWII, and every conflict since, and others.

The names were then written on individual placards staked into the fertile soil in the planters in the courtyard, where they remained for a week so that the residents, staff and guests could walk among them. img_4419

Isn’t it amazing? In place after place across the nation, around the world, year after year, our veterans are honored. The lowest, the highest, it matters not. To paraphrase a famous saying, when you put on the military uniform, whether on active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve, you write a blank check at that point in your life, made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to and including your life.” Engraved on my bugle is a citation of the Biblical verse, John 15:13. We honor such men and women.

Rev. Graham found me through my membership in Bugles Across America (please see http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org/ and my post of 4 May 2015). I’m glad she did. I’m glad I played cornet through high school and college. I’m glad I teach private trumpet lessons. I’m glad I teach beginning brass at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. I’m glad I play trumpet in the Husky Alumni Band. I’m glad I play in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra in Lynnwood. I’m glad I’m the VFW Post 1040 Bugler. All these things enable me to sound “Taps” for veterans every chance I get—it’s my honor, and I’m grateful. Lucky me.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Beginning Brass Teacher at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell—My Sixth Year!

Posted by glennled on October 4, 2016

quartetLucky me! Under the guidance of Charlie Fix, Band and Orchestra Director, I get to teach beginning brass again to 5th and 6th graders in the two elementary bands that practice and perform at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. Classes for 2nd-year band members began on 12 September and for 1st-year band members, today, 4 October.

This year, I have about 35 trumpet students, 10 trombones, and one French Horn. Some years, I have baritone players, too. This is my sixth year as a para-professional teacher in the Northshore School District.

In addition, I give private lessons to other students in the North Seattle-to-Edmonds and Eastside areas.

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