Back with a new video of my 5 year old and a question

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by samsplace, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. samsplace

    samsplace New Friend

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    Jul 9, 2009
    My son has now had his trumpet for three months. For the month of August, we have been meeting weekly with a junior high band director, which my son is loving. We have been working with him on reading music, but so far that is not clicking. I am not pushing him, just working with him when I have a teachable moment. His teacher is also working on note reading, technique and assorted other beginner theory.

    Lately I am wondering what the line is between allowing him to play by ear vs. learning to read music? He seems to have a natural ability to play what he hears. For instance today, we were showing my parents the video of Geoffrey Gallente and Chris Botti play America the Beautiful. The next thing I knew my son had his trumpet out and had played half of the song, stopping only when he got to notes that he had not yet learned.

    He has an airplane game on their iPod that includes the anthem from Top Gun. On Friday, though he had not heard the song in at least a week, he figured out how to play the beginning of it on the trumpet.

    Here is a little video:
    YouTube - top gun anthem

    And just to prove we are doing our best to not turn him into the next prodigy, if he wants to play the trumpet, while holding it upside down, why not?? :-)
    YouTube - silly trumpet
     
  2. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Perhaps - and I'm guessing here - you could find the score for something he plays, something of which you have a recording, and let him watch as you follow the recording on the score - note by note. See if he can get that relationship into his head, that he doesn't need to hear the music to play but that he can also see the music and play. Remember, we all learn either by sight, touch, or hearing - mostly a combination, but some people are very specific in their primary learning mode (or preference) - Have you had his sight checked?
     
  3. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    I would assume that like teaching a child to read and write, it just takes time and repetition to get him to learn to read.
    In my opinion, playing by ear is just as vital as being able to read music if you want to be a well rounded musician.

    Why don't you get him a cornet? I think that he would fit a smaller instrument better. (even though resting the horn on the black thing seemed to work.)
     
  4. samsplace

    samsplace New Friend

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    Jul 9, 2009
    Thanks for the advice on learning to read notes. Yesterday, I used the song that he has played the most to work with and I think it helped. It was a major duh moment, wondering why I hadn't thought to use that song! Hopefully it will click for him soon.

    Brekelefuw, I wonder if you wouldn't mind further explaining why the cornet might be more beneficial than what he is using. Several people have suggested that and so I asked his teacher last week if I should look into renting one (which we are quite willing to do). She felt that he was doing just fine with the trumpet he has and that the cornet isn't much different size/weight wise. I would love to hear further detail on why you recommend the cornet.
     
  5. RHSbigbluemarchingband

    RHSbigbluemarchingband Mezzo Piano User

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    the cornet is more compact, and easier to hold for small hands.....my opinion anyway
     
  6. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    As far as reading music How well does he read words? you can expect these skills to progress at the same level. As the best way to learn to read is reading out loud to your child and let them follow along, reading music is the same way. Find the music to a song he likes to listen to and let him watch the music as the song plays. Let him alone with this. too many times as adults we get in the way of how children at this age learn by trying to prod them in a certain direction. I suggest a book called " How Chidren Learn" by John Holt. It has a lot of insight in to how children learn.

    By the way, he's adorable. I really like the look of his embouchure. His tonguing sounds very good and his air use"support" is also very good. He certainly looks like he's having a good time.

    I prefer to start children on cornets because they are easier to hold up because the arms are closer to the body. It's also easier to blow and in a band blend better with the woodwind instruments. But since you are using a guitar stand to help him hold the trumpet I think you can stick with the trumpet.

    As far as range, while trying to go too high too soon before the emouchure is ready can cause bad habits. This is usually only a problem when the teacher tries to move too fast with the brass, before the embouchure is properly developed. Buy continuing to push the range the student ends up forcing or straining to hit the high notes. In your case I think it won't be a problem. If he tries a few times and can't do it, he won't keep struggling with it. He may find a substitute note he can play instead.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2009
  7. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    A cornet with a shephards crook is a smaller instrument. It would just make it easier for him to use, seeing as the trumpet looks so be about the size of his entire upper body. I wouldn't want to have him pull his chin in and strain his neck so that he can put his lips in the MP and hands on the valves.
     
  8. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    I imagine that he will not be 'reading' the notes per se at this point, but he certainly will be able to recognise the concepts of UP and DOWN in terms of the tonal qualities - he'll probably be seeing patterns - and kids are like sponges - they learn sooo quickly. You may have to explain the concept of reading left to right and then down the page (but probably only once). Developing young minds - such joy. :thumbsup:
     
  9. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    I would not push the reading any faster than he is able to accept without stressing over it. Playing by ear is just fine. In fact, ALL trumpet playing is, in the end, done by ear. Even when sight reading, there is a two-step process. First, the eyes see the written notes and related dynamic markings, Then the "ear" (in the mind) hears the pitch and volume of the note, then the embouchure and fingers are positioned to play the note that the "ears" hear. So, whether the brain receives the information from the written note translated into sound, or from the hearing memory based on sounds memorized, it comes to the same point. In fact, based on what you are now doing, he is looking at the written notes and comparing them to the sounds that he already knows to make a match. That is probably a more effective way than looking at notes and then playing a bunch of notes until the right one comes out.

    Even today, I can play much better by ear than by reading the notes. If I hear the music, even once, before I play, I can pretty much do it the first time through. Otherwise, I need to play it many times to finally 'hear' all the notes so I hit them correctly.

    Good luck.
     
  10. samsplace

    samsplace New Friend

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    Jul 9, 2009
    Thanks so much for all of the input, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. We rented a cornet today and one might have thought it was Christmas for as excited as my son was! It is still pretty heavy for him, but definitely a much better fit.

    Thanks too for the answers here and in my other thread about developing his range.

    Fortunately, we will be able to meet with two different professionals in the next week and hopefully get some good input and wisdom to keep him on the right path. It is my current intention to keep doing lessons with the jr. high band director, but our thoughts are that having a few minutes to glean wisdom from two trumpet experts is quite valuable.

    Now that my 5 year old has set aside the trumpet in favor of the cornet, my 10 year old dd has decided that maybe she needs to learn trumpet as well. She is already playing piano and violin. We told her that probably she should stick with those two a little while longer. However, if she wants to practice on the trumpet?????? She has the same tenacity as her little brother and is playing piano at a pretty advanced level.

    We added the violin to the mix last January more for the benefit of our middle dd, age 7, because she was really struggling on the piano. Their violin instructor has said a number of times that our middle dd is a natural on the violin and it has definitely helped make music click for her. *My* plan was that oldest dd would stick with piano. Middle dd would move to the violin and drop piano. Yet, 9 months later, we have two rented violins, two in violin lessons, two (soon to be all three) in piano, one purchased trumpet, one rented cornet and one in trumpet lessons. Maybe one of them at least will end up with college scholarship???? Because I think we are spending their college fund on music! :)

    Ahhhhhh, if I would have had any idea that I would be raising extremely musical kids, I certainly would have worked harder in my piano lessons as a child and would have stuck with playing the flute past middle school.
     

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