Any advice for how to help my 5 year old with trumpet?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by samsplace, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. samsplace

    samsplace New Friend

    Jul 9, 2009
    I have a son that just turned 5 at the end May. For nearly his entire fourth year of life, he begged for a real trumpet, after seeing one hanging on the wall at the music store. Everyone musical that we have talked to has advised us that you do not start trumpet until late elementary age. Taking their advise, we bought a realistic toy trumpet for him for Christmas. He was all but insulted, and continued to ask for the real thing. Assuming we would be buying an expensive toy, we ordered a starter trumpet from the internet for his fifth birthday.

    Much to our surprise, he seems to have an ability and uncanny interest to play it for a five year old. He will sit for 20-30 minutes listening to the teach yourself CD and within two weeks had his first song down. He is now wanting to work on much harder songs at the end of the book and is asking me daily for a teacher. I am at a loss, who will teach a five year old to play the trumpet? Is it even a wise thing to do? My intent was to start him on the piano once he was reading as his two older sisters have done.

    I am not the kind of mother that wants to turn my children into little prodigies, but the laid back approach I have been taking is not working. I don't want to shut down his interest and I think that it will be important to find just the right sort of teacher.

    I have contacted the music college of a local university and heard back from what I assume is a college student willing to work with him. I don't want my son to develop bad habits from the beginning, but at age five I don't know that a professional instructor is necessary. I read through the amateurs teaching amateurs thread (probably not the best intro to Trumpet Master LOL) and now I just want to go back to my wait and see approach. However, my son keeps on pulling out his trumpet and practicing so I don't think he will let me ignore it!

    He is the youngest of three, both of his sisters play both piano and violin. My oldest seems to have a natural gift for piano and the middle dd has a natural talent for violin according to their instructor. My son has been sitting at the piano and "composing" little songs, complete with names since he was 2.5 years old. He now has at least 20 songs that he has taught himself by ear on the piano including adding chords to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I was planning to start him in piano lessons sometime this year after he enters kindergarten and is beginning to read.

    Any thoughts or wisdom would be much appreciated!

    ETA, I meant to post a link to him playing the first song he learned. This is after he had the trumpet about two weeks or so:
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
  2. RHSbigbluemarchingband

    RHSbigbluemarchingband Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 17, 2009
    Hey, I did the same thing your son did! I was the little girl who wanted a trumpet. Every christmas from age 3 to 6 I asked for a trumpet, I cried when i didn't get it. Then my aristocrat came along age six, I couldn't get much out of it, but I got a couple of notes, and fell in love with it. Getting him a trumpet was smart, even if you don't get him lessons. It never hurt my playing, just let me play around with it a bunch. I took piano lessons at the same time, started around age 4 or 5, can't remember. It will help him later on when he starts taking actual lessons.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
  3. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    I wish I had advice, but my daughter's only 15 months old, so her routine is mostly pushing valves in and out while I provide a sound. Oh, and stealing the mouthpiece.

    She's a little better on recorder and pretty dramatic with maracas, though not exactly rhythmic.

    Getting lessons sounds like a good idea, but I'd encourage you to make sure it stays fun and that he's the one pushing to move further into it. So far, though, it sounds like that's exactly what's happening.

    Good luck, and enjoy watching him!
  4. rbdeli

    rbdeli Mezzo Piano User

    May 8, 2009
    Start him with Carnival of Venice, and all the variations. Have him memorize it, then move on to the more challenging materials in a couple of weeks. ;)
  5. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    Hmmm....I've never heard of anyone starting as young as your son, but that doesn't mean he can't! I guess I would say that if he's actually spending time playing the horn every day, then giving him some direction might be helpful. I would also STRONGLY advocate piano lessons at the same time...

    As far as a teacher goes, a lot depends on where you live and who might be available. If a college student is available, then I would check with his college teacher to see if the teacher thinks this is a reasonable idea. At his age, he's mostly going to be working on building his chops and learning the basics anyway, so a college student might not be a bad possibility.

  6. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    Both Maurice Murphy and Rod Franks (London Symphony Orchestra) have started playing cornet at the age of 6 (as far as I know) and soon after that joined youth brass bands. There was some threads about some young "prodigies" who are quite a proficient already in 3rd or 4th grade. So starting young is not really a problem. I would advise to get him first a cornet as some student cornets are easier to use with smaller hands.
  7. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    Buy him some extra large blank staff paper to let him color on, or practice drawing a G clef.

    Let him listen to lots of varieties of music at great lengths of time during the day. While the music plays, sometimes do rhythmical play exercises with him, like rolling a ball back and forth, jump rope, hop scotch, dancing,to the beat of the music, then leave him to his own vises as the music plays.

    Don't force anything on him. A five year old knows what he wants. It's when they're 15, that they can't make up they're minds.

    There are cool accessory gadgets, like electric tuners and metronomes you could get him now for birthday or whatever that make as much nerve wracking noise as any other electric toy for a five year old, and then you won't have to buy it later, when he "needs it" and then only cost even more.

    Now, I don't know what your money situation is, but, if you were to buy some certain Pro level horn, brand new, such as Calichhio, or Lawler, Selmer Paris, and kept it stored, in twenty years, you would have a world of favor for your boy, imagine what a pro trumpet will cost then. As well, if your son eventually quit interest in trumpet before, you would have a rare horn, twenty years old and never played for sale.... the bids would roll in high, and you would profit. anyway, it all depends if you're a small investor, like me.

    My boys are young, and I have some nice diamonds stashed long ago ( I knew a wholesaler/employee) they might use some day for that special someone. Can't lose!!! A trumpet or diamond is better than money in the bank at this rate. I bought a Kanstul this year, and When I was shopping for a trumpet in March I was told a price increase was coming. After I bought mine, the price went up, everywhere, about $160 bucks. I'll bet they go up again before Winter.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2009
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    A college student that is studying trumpet is a good enough start. I generally don't start children before 9 or 10, but one that is this dedicated and motivated should NOT be slowed down. You are very right about getting a good start. A pro teacher does not necessarily have the skills to teach very young children. I prefer to make sure the basics are covered and add the rest through tunes. Once they have a reasonable level of proficiency, method books can help. I let my kids write the fingerings on their music for the first year. The finest music was always written in pencil.

    One thing that is critical is that they include big breath, long tones, slurs and scales in their daily routine. The teacher should give them this stuff for about 10 minutes daily. Then they also need to play lots of tunes. Melodies get them the positive reinforcement that keeps them going. After 3 or 4 weeks I start all of my students on double tonguing. After 6 months, triple tonguing. At that age, they have such an easy time.

    You should check out this thread:

    A wonderful example of talent unleashed!
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2009
  9. longhorn747

    longhorn747 Pianissimo User

    Dec 22, 2007
    Yes, I also think its a good idea to get him a teacher. 5 years old is a great age to start playing, most GREAT trumpet players start at a young age. Rafael Mendez started playing when he was 5 years old and look he turned out to be the GREATEST trumpet player that ever lived! With the determination that he is showing at a very young age is a great sign, I bet he has the potential to be one of the next great trumpet players. Just make sure he has fun learning and playing, most kids quit because they get fusturated or just tired of playing.

  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Even worse than getting braces are losing teeth! I got to start a 6-year-old in Germany, and things were great until he started losing his front teeth, at which point he started using brute force in order to get the same range as earlier, and that was a very difficult thing to unlearn. When the front teeth go, I would advise accepting the loss of range, and work on soft playing, with plenty of fast playing and scales, rather than range.

    A difficult challenge, but worth it!
    trumpetnick likes this.

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