Beginners and problems

There are a number of reasons why a new student is having problems. 1. Kid being forced to play by parents / No desire to play therefore he won’t try. 2. Not practicing enough / (We live in the age of instant gratification. Many kids don’t understand that some things really require work.) 3. Being tone deaf. Some people have trouble hearing the difference in pitches. This translates into problems with playing those pitches. (They may think they are playing the right pitch or not notice the difference.) This requires a lot of ear training to overcome this. It also requires the teacher to be creative. Checkout Clyde Hunt’s webpage http://www.bflatmusic.com Clyde has some wonderful ideas and items that help this kind of problem. He has written songs in the range that problem students play in. This keeps them motivated and trying. 4. Not understanding that they change the pitch […]

Continue reading

Mouthpieces in Middle School

My daughters MS director wants all of the students to switch to a Bach 3. Is that right? Mouthpieces come in sizes like shoes do. Lips come in different sizes as well. Besides lip size the strength of the embouchure also comes into play. Some highly respected playing professionals play mouthpieces the size of a 7c, some smaller and of course some larger. Your daughters director feels that he should say something about mouthpieces but he does NOT know what to say. Most Band directors do not play every instrument well. Some colleges cover all instruments in 1 semester brass, woodwinds and strings. Some do not teach them at all. There are some playing tests that can help determine if your daughter needs to change her mouthpiece. One is how well she plays below low c. If a mouthpiece is too small the low notes do not respond very well. […]

Continue reading

2nd year player range

I’m in my 2nd year of playing and I want more range. 2 years playing the trumpet is a very SHORT amount of time. There are reasons why you don’t see high music in band. 95% of second year students would injure themselves working on range. You should buy 2 books and play from them every day. The first is Clarkes Technical Studies . For the second book the complete Arban . Your local music store will have both. Work on putting air into the horn and using very little mouthpiece pressure. Pops

Continue reading

Beginners and Range

How do you help beginners with range? Buzzing terminology is abstract and confusing. Tighten up, compress your lips, faster air…. This is one of the few times that I use the pencil trick. Most students would require the use of a quarter at first. Take a quarter and place it between your lips. Then show how lip compression can raise and lower the end of it. Let the student do this as well. After doing this they may have a better understanding of what is going on. My daughter fell into this group. I let a respected teacher teach her for a while. He is a friend of mine and my kids never listened to me anyway so he taught her. He told me many times what a great sound she had from low g to low c. She never played a d until after I put a quarter in […]

Continue reading

How do you start your beginners?

I’m old fashioned about all beginners. I treat them like Mendez did. They buzz simple songs before they ever pick up the horn. This helps to build some muscle strength and control without adding bad habits. I know that they want to play and will try however if you insist on 20 – 30 minutes of buzzing a player with 1 week of experience will out play anyone elses’ 1 month player. It forces them to learn a closed setting which helps range, tone, and endurance. Let them use buzzing practice after every playing session for a couple of months and you will be shocked at the results. Pops  

Continue reading