Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘tutor’

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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Missing: Trumpet Students at the Annual LIYH Spring Recital in Seattle

Posted by glennled on March 22, 2016

 

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As far as I know, I might have been the only trumpeter who attended the Spring Recital hosted by Lessons In Your Home (LIYH) on 20 May at the Woodland Park Presbyterian Church in Seattle. That’s because of the approximately 38 student musicians who played their instruments in front of about 150 audience members, four played the violin, four played the guitar, and 30 played the piano. Next year, those missing trumpet students had better show up! 😉

There were eight of us music teachers present—we’re all part of the LIYH staff, and I’m one of the trumpet tutors among the Seattle group. LIYH is led by Jay Maurice of Atlanta, GA, who founded it in 1997. Jay emceed the Sunday afternoon recital.

Today, he operates his business in nine cities, including Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Orlando, Miami/South Florida, and Atlanta. Lessons in Your Home has more than 250 teachers nationwide, teaching music to more than 1,000 students in their own homes. Jay personally interviewed and selected us teachers. See http://www.lessonsinyourhome.net.

Please click on any photo to enlarge 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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My New Cornet Student Is Only 81!

Posted by glennled on February 18, 2016

1PC-Evolution-font-b-Marching-b-font-Band-font-b-Trumpet-b-font-Player-Fashion-WaterproofUntil now, I’ve never had a trumpet or cornet student who is older than I am! Holy cow, we’re 156 years old! Bob was born in 1934, and is my 26th student. We held his first lesson in his living room on 2 February.

He’s a fan of Joseph W. Marcinkiewicz, author of the instruction book, The Buzzone: The Art of Playing Efficiently and Comfortably. Marcinkiewicz advertises it on his website as “the definitive text for the brasswind player.” Well, blow me down! I had never heard of it. So I bought it. (You never stop learning.)

Bob played cornet all throughout grade school, high school and college but dropped it as he began his career, married, and raised his family. His love of music, especially classical, had convinced him to become a music educator, but he ultimately decided to become an engineer so that he could support his family at the lifestyle level he wanted to. In 1989, 27 years ago, he retired as an engineering manager from U S WEST, a Bell System Operating Company, and now lives with his wife in Snohomish. In retirement, it was time for Bob to do something different. That became travelling in a fifth-wheeler, consulting, listening to music, reading, studying, and today, tutoring mathematics at all levels.

Since college, Bob has been off the horn almost 60 years! Five to 10 years ago, he bought a Bach trumpet and played it for about a year, but its sound was too brilliant for his taste, so he got rid of it. Music gives him “mental stimulation and enjoyment,” he says, and now he wants to become a performer again, not just a listener. (Please see my article, “Hear ‘Your Brain on Music’ by Dr. Larry Sherman,” posted on 2 February 2012.)

Bob’s ambition is to play in a church orchestra by next fall. He has bought a Kanstul cornet, model 1530 (silver) with a 0.470″ bore. Bob’s dream would be someday to play

“Napoli: Variations on a Neapolitan Song,” composed by Herman Bellstedt. The song on which the variations are based is “Funiculi, Funicula” by Luigi Denza in 1880. For a thrill and to appreciate the magnitude of Bob’s dream, copy this link and listen to Ole Edvard Antonsen play it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elo0SPMo6qg. Way to go, Bob—let’s roll!

Never having had private lessons before, Bob realizes that he won’t reach his goals without professional training. He chose me off one of the websites where I advertise myself as a trumpet and cornet tutor. Why cornet (which was very popular in the 19th century), when in the early 20th century, the whole world turned to the trumpet as the “instrument of choice?” Because that’s what he played all through school, and that’s the darker, smoother, mellower sonority that most pleases his ear. Bob remembers that in his school days, he used too much pressure on his mouth. After playing, the mouthpiece’s mark on his lips would stay there for hours. That led him to The Buzzone by Marcinkiewicz. Bob wants to strengthen the muscles in his embouchure so he won’t have to use such heavy pressure to reach the high notes—hard pressure will cut your stamina and endurance and can cause pain or injury.

Zigmant Kanstul launched Kanstul Musical Instruments in 1981. Located in Anaheim, California, one mile east of Disneyland, Kanstul’s 36 craftsmen manufacture a complete line of brass musical instruments. To view Bob’s new cornet, please see http://kanstul.net/detail.php?pass_search=1530.0000&pass_instrument=Cornet.

Marcinkiewicz Co., Inc. makes hand-crafted trumpets, cornets, flugelhorns, trombones, and several unique horns such as pocket and piccolo trumpets, as well as mouthpieces for them all. The factory is in Canby, Oregon. See http://www.marcinkiewicz.com.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Nine Students Perform at Trumpet Recital in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on June 12, 2012

About 40 guests from the Greater Seattle area came to the home of their favorite tutor (me) in Edmonds on Saturday, 9 June, to the 3rd annual trumpet recital featuring my 9 current students. They take lessons from me in their own homes once a week. Eight attend the following schools: Lawton, Crystal Springs, and Tukwila elementary schools; Kamiakin, Kenmore and Skyview junior highs; and Eckstein Middle School. Of these, four students are moving up to Nathan Hale, Inglemoor, and Juanita high schools in the fall. There was a morning and an afternoon session, and each student played two pieces. Refreshments were served after the performances. Most of the music selections come from musicals, movies, the Beatles, and patriotic compositions.  Here is a gallery of photos. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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9th Grade Trumpeter Making a Comeback Towards Rejoining Band

Posted by glennled on March 12, 2012

Lots of people start band and drop out, only to regret it in later years. My 19th trumpet student did just that—dropped out after his first year in band when he was a 5th grader at John Muir Elementary School. Now he’s a 9th grader at Kamiakin Junior High in Kirkland, and his goal is to join the band next year as a sophomore at Juanita High School. He’s given himself one year to catch up and be ready. It’s a rare, ambitious attempt. So far, so good.

Last September at the start of the new school year, he found himself eating lunch alone—all his best friends were in band rehearsal during his lunch period. Well then, rejoin band, his mother suggested. “Ok, I’ll try,” was his response.

His mom contacted the high school band director, Mariko Lane, to determine whether she would accept him into band. Yes! Kids join at all levels of performance, she said enthusiastically. She then advised him to stay with his original instrument, the trumpet, and to find a good tutor right away. In our first meeting, I listened to the story of why he quit and why he wants to start again. I wondered, is this his goal or someone else’s? Is this realistic or just a pipe dream? So I grilled him thoroughly with tough questions and provactive comments, giving him every opportunity to drop the idea or select a different tutor. But he stayed cool and stood fast, which pleased me, so we embarked on the challenge together.

Our first weekly lesson was on 3 November 2011. They ordered the instruction book I prefer for beginners, “Progressive Trumpet,” by Peter Gelling. It happened to be out of stock in local music stores and took a few weeks to arrive on special order. Why is this important? Because he is now finishing that book after about only three and a half months! A fifth grader takes much longer. He is now more mature, he is more dedicated, he has more self-discipline–in other words, he practices regularly! He works at it, so he’s on the fast track. It’s that simple. But simple is not always easy, is it? Simple can be the most difficult.

What does he think of his progress so far? “It’s more possible than I originally thought,” he said. Yes, it is. He has finished the first instruction book faster than any of my other students. When he finishes the second book, he’ll be ready to join high school band. Immediately, he’ll have to learn to march while playing. Then he’ll get three, fun, high school band years full of wonderful, lifelong memories with his friends—just by playing music, and that’s fun in itself. It’s one of those things that’s better “The Second Time Around.”

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Mercer Island Sophomore Trumpeter Returns to Music Fundamentals

Posted by glennled on February 6, 2011

Mercer Island was my home for 33 years. One of my two sons (now living in New Zealand) played drums in the MI High School Band. And now my 15th trumpet student is a sophomore in that same school and plays trumpet in that same band. Also like my drummer son, she

Drum Major, MIHS Marching Band

has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). It’s easy for her attention to drift from one thing to the next, and it’s hard to stay focused on something for a long time.

She first learned to read music and play trumpet when she was a young girl, but then she transferred to another school and did not play for three years. To her dismay, when she returned to school at M.I. and resumed playing trumpet in the band, she found that she had forgotten much of what she’d once known about how to read music. Now she manages to play ok but wants to improve. Marching band season is over, she’s moved into concert band, the music is more complex and difficult, and she wants to play it well. She realized she must return to the basics and re-study the fundamentals…with a trumpet tutor.

I am the lucky man who is privileged to help her. We started her private lessons on 18 December 2010. She already plays with such a sweet, solid tone. Now all we need to do is help her learn all those notes over a two-octave range, learn all those music notations, strengthen and train her embouchure, and develop her hand-to-eye coordination and muscle memory. As that happens, her confidence and pride will soar. She will play as well as, or better than, most of her classmates. And, in turn, she will enjoy music and her band membership even more!

She  says she had a great time when the 300-member MIHS band went to England a month ago to march in the colossal 2011 London New Year’s Day Parade (see www.londonparade.co.uk), joining some 10,000 performers from 20 countries who marched in front of about half a million spectators along the 2-mile route. The parade, which began in 1987, is broadcast by over 700 TV stations worldwide and is watched for some three hours by about 200 million viewers. This was the M.I. band’s first appearance in this, the 25th annual parade. Roughly 200 M.I. band students made the trip. The kids and community raised about $80,000 in support of those students who could not otherwise have gone. Go to the links below to watch videos of the MIHS band’s performance in London. Other USA bands participating came from Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Almost one out of every four students in Mercer Island High School is enrolled in the band program! The program consists of four concerts bands, the marching band, jazz bands, and the “Animal Band” (see http://www.misd.k12.wa.us/schools/hs/hsband/bands.html). The successes, awards and accolades won by these bands are numerous; for example,  over 50 students were selected to participate in the All-State and All-Northwest honor ensembles during the last five years.

Next year, they will march again in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. Hmmmm….now if only the UW Husky football team can just win enough games next season, maybe they’ll get to play in the Rose Bowl game itself. Go, Huskies! And then she and her fellow M.I. band members can watch our own Seattle team play there. It’s so much fun to be in band!  🙂

There are at least four videos of the MIHS Marching Band’s performance in London on YouTube:

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