band director told my child to change instruments :(

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetmom94, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I don't get it, I don't understand. If your son wanted a trumpet and you bought a trumpet then I'd say he needs to stick with trumpet because you spent the money and he needs to stick with the responsibility.
    The instrument the band director suggests is also a brass instrument just bigger. So, if he sounds bad on the trumpet, then wonder what he's gonna sound like on a bigger brass instrument.
    Mom, do you require your son to practice daily? A private instructor can only show what needs to be done and how to do it. It's up to the parents to be sure the kids practice.
    If the son isn't up to par then why? Find out what is needed to get him up to par and this is what the private instructor needs to work on.
    I'd listen to TrumpetMD
  2. trumpetmom94

    trumpetmom94 New Friend

    Nov 21, 2009
    Range Specifics, was Re: band director told my child to change instruments :(

    High A = no problem
    High C = can hit it 1 out of 10x

    It was mainly evident on the All-Region Music, which I think is a Class V. It's from the Arban Book, 14 characteristics studies: 1, 9, 11.

    Specific feedback was he gets too nervous, the air is too constricted, and the sound won't come out in the higher ranges sometimes.

    Our band is always a competitor in Honor Band Taping, so the competition is fierce. There are 26 trumpets in the whole band and he only take 6 in top band-- so hopefully, as a junior, we can hit that... that's why we're trying to make progress now.. we just got finished with Spring Band placement auditions, and we'll have next year's auditions in May -- so I'm trying to be proactive...

    And yes, this does come from him -- I'm not pushing, but I don't know a thing about trumpet so I don't know how to help, and he comes to me discouraged and asking for help... so I'm trying to find it.... Googled stuff yesterday and came across this site...
    Thanks everyone for helping.
  3. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    My humble opinion would be that if your son has no trouble hitting an A above the staff, leave him alone. He is only in 10th grade. If he gains 1 note a year he will be screaming Gs above C by the time he is a Sr. in college.

    It may be that your son plays 3rd or 4th part in jazz band, not the lead. No big deal. Everyone's chops aren't the same. If they were, people wouldn't pay the big bucks for the scream lead player.

    More practice, and the right type of practice will also help extend range. If he is getting private lessons, be sure it is someone who actually PLAYS the trumpet (unless the person has a reputation among top trumpet players). I really think the director may be making more out of this than need be and that a little more practice might be the best answer. Give him a chance to adjust to the braces. It is nice that your son has a mom that is concerned and supportive. Just don't make him feel it is "too big" of a deal.

  4. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I was a terrible cornet player in junior high (back in the 60's), one of those end of the line players. My band director told me and a friend we'd never be any good on trumpet, and that we should switch to tuba. I told my parents and they basically said I had a new cornet and I was going to play it (my friend switched, though). The first year of high school, I barely made the cutoff for contest band. I had a weak sound and anything above a top line F was a struggle - I never even thought about solo & ensemble contest. I played 3rd part for a year and 2nd for the last two improving slightly as I went. I had a blast in band, and we had award-winning bands every year. Sure, I wanted to be better, and practiced regularly, but not playing 1st part and not winning medals wasn't the end of the world.

    Now, 40 years later...I'm still playing (other than a 6 year layoff after high school). I ran into my old JH band director back in the 80's, and he said "Hey Proctor, are you still playing?" I said "Yes, I'm 3rd trumpet in the Huntsville Symphony. Remember when you told me I'd never be any good as a trumpet player?" He laughed and said "I guess I was wrong." :D

    Well, moral of the story is - I became a much better player over the years, mostly on my own because I wanted to. I still don't have a killer range, but can play a D above high C most any time, with a 50/50 E and F. I still play 2nd and 3rd parts most of the time, enjoying every minute. Never had a medal, never played in all-state, rarely play 1st part. Good bands need good low part players, too...
  5. Asher S

    Asher S Pianissimo User

    Sep 20, 2009
    Suburban Boston
    I had braces through most of high school, and I played 1st trumpet all through high school, so no, braces are not an impediment to playing trumpet.

    If your son loves the trumpet, why not just continue the private lessons and forget the school band, particularly if the director is not supportive of your son's development? That way your son will have straight teeth AND will be playing the instrument he loves. Win-win.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    your statistical experience of one player does not mean that others are not affected more seriously. I have had students covering all variations from no effect to not being able to play. That is reality.
  7. Asher S

    Asher S Pianissimo User

    Sep 20, 2009
    Suburban Boston
    As Nassim Nicholas Taleb demonstrates in his books "Fooled by Randomness" and "The Black Swan", an n-of-1 can refute a claim such as, for example, "braces are an impediment to playing trumpet". Such totalitarian statements are assumed to be true, until a single case proves them incorrect.

    Sure, braces CAN be an impediment, and more so in some than others- I never doubted that. But braces are not a deal-breaker, and definitely not grounds for suggesting to have the boy's braces removed, as someone above recommended. I was merely trying to provide some constructive and realistic encouragement.

    Furthermore, how can you be certain that your students with braces are not having problems playing due to factors unrelated to the braces? How many of your students played well, then had braces put on, then developed persistent problems until the braces were removed? Disclaimer- I am not an orthodontist, so no personal gain by advocating for braces...
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2009
  8. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    I think it is great the way you advocate for your son, trumpetmpm94, but -

    Is there a reason why he cannot join us himself? Not to take away from his already fairly meager practice time, but there is something about asking your own questions and processing the answers which might empower him even more. He knows, after all, how important it is to you that he do well. But just how important is it to him?

    Letting him motivate himself may be revealing. He my not actually care as much as you do. Many youngsters do what they do because it is what their parents want. But it only really comes together when we are doing what we want. Let him be the driver of his own dreams.
  9. gglassmeyer

    gglassmeyer Piano User

    Apr 28, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    I had braces for the first 3 years of high school and I was given beeswax to cover the front braces with while playing. I wish I would have just learned not to play with pressure, because it was a hassle to smear junk on your teeth everytime you'd play. When my braces were removed, just prior to my senior year, I began to enjoy playing so much more, I practiced more and my skills rapidly improved that year. I made more progress in that one year than the 3 previous years combined. I also had a new teacher who really inspired me and drove me to become better. Lessons prior to his would consist of just playing my few pages of the Rubank books. This guy would pull out charts he was getting ready to play and joke with me that he needed me to show him how to play them. Then if I could play that piece, he'd say aw that one's too easy and he find something harder. At the end of the lesson he'd give me the name of a popular song and the key I needed to know it in for next week.
    He'd also give me some handwritten jazz standard to read through and know for the next week. I'd play the new songs the next week and he'd start laughing if I played something cool, and he'd tell me "you laid that down like <insert obscure Jazz trumpet player name here>"
    He really enjoyed teaching and loved when we'd play music and not just notes.
    He also sold me his old horn at the end of my senior year, my first pro horn and it still gets used often.

    If your kid loves trumpet don't switch. It's better to not make the honors band and progress his skills on the instrument he loves. The other thing to think about is what type of music does he want to play in the future? If he's only interested in concert band music the Euphonium is fine, but you don't see euphonium players in the horn sections of pop bands.

    Good luck
  10. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    Anecdotal evidence can disprove the general hypothesis that braces "cause" problems playing, but do not address whether, in this particular instance the braces are causal in his problems. Moreover, even if the braces are a causal factor, they may not be the only cause. That's something for him to work out with his private teacher. His band director is another matter - selection of whether or not he participates in honor band, it appears from his mother's post has to do with overall competitiveness for the slot. The band director - it seems - is saying "I don't have a place for you in honor band as a trumpet, but if you would play baritone or euph (I don't remember which), I can find a slot for you. At that point, its a question of choice - right?

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