"My" kids

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Manny Laureano, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    Please write about your group. What kind of ensemble is it and how did you get involved with it?

    In fact, let's expand the thread and all have a chance to talk about any ensembles we work with that we find we get a lot of satisfaction from. What are your joys, your woes, your high's, your lows, etc...? I think folks could get a lot out of some stories of challenge and triumph working with our young ones.

  2. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Manny, et al,

    Plaese allow me this rant....

    I really enjoy working with kids, a lot of blessings in it.

    But TODAY.....:bash:

    We were doing a fund raiser for a high school band program about 125 miles from Detroit. One of the band members has a ties to this community.

    The kids had been working on three numbers for a while and were going to come up and join the swing band near the end of the concert/dance and play them with us.

    Remember now, these are 14-15-16 17 year olds.

    I got there early and was giving the brass some pointers in the band room ahead of the concert.

    Our leader finally wanted to have a sound check so we all went to the auditorium.

    Our drummer was not yet at the gig, (nothing new there.) ((actuallyI don't do sound checks either, but was there early to be with the kids))

    The kids join us and we start to play the Buddy Morrow version of "Night Train"

    Our "leader" stops the band, stares at the student drummer and says "Again!"

    We start again and after about three measures he waves his hands frantically and YELLS "We have to do this the tempo I say"

    Again we start and he again yells..."That's the same tempo as the last time! Do it my way!!!" staring at the drummer.

    We start again and the leader was just beside himself, clapping the tempo out with his hands! and yelling "Faster, faster!"

    We quit as the time to begin the show and let the audience come in was drawing near.

    I went to the band room to find the drummer, who was with a bunch of his friends. I told him he was doing a fine job, and not to worry about what went on on the stage. He told me they had been practicing that song for 3 months, every day and that was the tempo they always did it. He was swinging very nicely by the way. I said forget about it. Our drummer would be playing too and that would help him out.

    Man was I MAD.

    We are the professionals!!! They were the students. I understand that the kids will have to be able to follow and adapt, but.....these were young kids in a very uinique posistion. The were in awe to begin with to be able to play with the professionals and then the leader calls one of them out in front of everyone????? Talk about ruining a kid and turning him off to music!!!

    What a.....well, you fill it in.

    Anyway, when the kids joined us it went very well.

    I spoke with them again afterwards and told them how good it was to play with them. I think I helped make a bad situation a little better for them...

    The tunes the kids did were Night Train, the Bobby Darin version of Mack the Knife, and Little Brown Jug.
    LBJ was a near disater because the kids have the stage band version, and we do the authentic Glenn Miller version.
    Guess which group hd to sight read the part? It wasn't the professionals.

    OK, end of rant. :soap:

    Back to the GOOD news.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2007
  3. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    Manny, thanks for the interest. I'm on the jazz side of things, so it isn't exactly what you do but there are some similarities. I teach at a community music school, not a governmentally sanctioned one. It (The Merit School of Music in Chicago) started 28 years ago when Chicago got rid of music from the schools as a whole. We have grown to a state where we educate more than 6000 kids a year between our downtown site and the in schools programs we run. Among the things I do is teach an advanced small group, the Honors Jazz Ensemble which I have led for more than ten years. We perform in public about 25 times a year (the kiddies get paid, which makes it like a real life situation) for a variety of clients. For example, we played a gala for the Illinois Arts Society last fall. At the end the people we had been playing for filed past us to go to dinner. Several expressed surprise that the musicians were students. One of my kids asked me, "Are students supposed to be bad or something?" and I said no, even though some may expect that. I have found that students will rise to the level you expect from them, if you expect (and demand) that they be excellent, they will be excellent. If not, they won't.
    Many of the kids I have had come through that band over the years have gone on to become working professionals (one we even hired to teach trumpet at Merit, which gives me such nachas I can't tell you). Out of the kids who are graduating this year, one is going to Juilliard on a complete scholarship, two are going to Oberlin, one is going to Rutgers and one is going to NIU. I have been grooming replacements who will step into the positions left vacant. It's a whole lotta fun. I love my kiddies, and I know I have had a profound impact on at least several lives over the years. There are a few cases that I know when I reach the pearly gates will count in my favor.
    I was a performance major, and one of the many great things Barbara Butler told me about teaching was that one should be the best player one can be and then people will want to study with you. And the structure of Merit has allowed me to do that. My sole educational philosophical premise was based on a quote from Einstein: anyone who can't explain what they do to a 12 year old is a fraud. I fell into teaching by accident but I love it and it has come to dominate what I do after I turned 50. I see people around my who are frustrated with their lives and are bitter, but I don't fall into that category because I really love what I do, and I have the opportunity to make lives of others better. There is nothing I could imagine that would be more satisfying. Oh, and I still perform in public to the tune of maybe 100 gigs a year. Keeps me sharp. Life is good.

    Michael McLaughlin
  4. Phil Kersh

    Phil Kersh Pianissimo User

    Feb 28, 2008
    Provo, Utah
    May I add my 2 cents? I not only grew up having the opportunity to play in 2 great youth programs, but I am one of Manny's former youth students. I was first introduced to Manny through Clyn Barrus-the principle violist of Minnesota Orchestra and the director of Minnesota Youth Symphony-which I believe is Manny's position now. I have never worked with 2 more committed and loving men, and I know that their approach helped shape not only my desire to perform, but my belief that music must be shared with the youth in order for it to live.
    Currrently I am re-starting my music career after a self-imposed break. I am working with a very hard-working British Brass Band Utah Premiere Brass and I am once again looking forward to helping expose a new generation to the wonders of music performance. We are getting ready to sponser a youth band and I am grateful for all my teachers that did what they did because they loved music and their students.
    Thanks Manny.
    Jimi Michiel likes this.

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