Teaching a 6 year old?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by silverstar, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 6, 2005
    My little brother found my student trumpet in my room when I came home for Christmas break. He is really interested in learning to play trumpet, and tonight actually pulled it out and was trying to practice alongside me! I tried to direct him in playing, and got him to focus his tone to a low C and a couple middle G's.

    He is really excited and proud that he can do that, and wants to be just like his big sister! He even made me promise to help him tomorrow morning after breakfast.

    So, keeping in mind that he's a six year old, what do I need to do to help nurture his interest in learning trumpet? I'm not sure how to go about explaining things to him and I don't want to tell him he's too young to start learning - that would break his heart.

    Any ideas guys? Thanks in advance for your help!


    (Yes, I posted this on the other site too...but I thought I might as well try it here as well!)
  2. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2007
  3. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

    Jun 1, 2006

    I've had a similar situation myself before. I would recomend a few things, all of which I would suggest for any beginner anyways...

    Teach him things like fingering and notes without actually playing.

    Have him sing a simple song like mary had a little lamb doing the fingerings with the words. then teach him the names of the notes by singing the tune with the letters instead of the word "E, D, C, D, E, E, E..." (to the tune of Mary...) also while fingering along.

    You might be amazed how fast kids can learn to do a simple exercise like this. I mean they've been singing with Barney their whole life anyways...

    Have him just blow air through the mouthpiece, holding it with two hands and tell him to pretend it's a little trumpet. Tell him he has to learn to breathe in and blow out and to practice that by blowing through the mouthpiece. I wouldn't worry about any sort of embouchure with this as it is just a "blowing" exercise.

    Remove the tuning slide and put your finger over the end and have him blow. Then remove your finger. After a few tries he should be getting a sound. It's amazing how quick kids can get really good at that exercise. The finger over the end is really important. Once he gets good at that, do the same with the mouthpiece (not replacing the previous exercise, but adding to it). And he can use his own finger once he gets the idea...

    Another thing that kids love, once they can get a sound on the leadpipe and mp, is to try and play "flight of the bumble bee" have them wiggle the valves real fast and make the sound of a bee flying around. It helps them alot and they don't even know it...!

    Keep the focus on blowing the air.

    I think you'll find if you do these things for just a few minutes a day with him he'll do quite well, and might prove you wrong as far as being too young to start...

    Good luck!

  4. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 6, 2005
    That's great advice! Thanks!

    I was thinking about getting out my old "Breeze Easy Method" beginner book and giving it to him. He can read at a 5th or 6th grade level (He's the resident genius of the family...lol.), so it's just at his speed.

  5. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006

    Good for you!
    Can you work him toward piano lessons? My parents required two years of piano lessons before trumpet. I stuck it out. A 66 key electric piano is all it takes at the beginning.

    Keep him on the fundimentals. Mouth piece under the nose, locked corners, contract toward the center, let him blow. Have him stand in front of a mirror.
    Teach posture both sitting and standing.

    A small mouth piece might be better than a 7C. I'll look through my stash and see what I have. What do you think?

    My gospel is the Earl Irons, "Lip Flexibilities". You hold down the valve combination and slur up and down. He can work on holding valves down and the trumpet up (posture). When the notes go up, he makes the tone go up, when the notes go down the tone goes down.

    That is enough for a few months.

    A trumpet player that started young in Marion is Joan Force. She plays with the Eastern Iowa Brass Band. She might be a good choice for a teacher. Joan's mother was her first teacher. Joan is resident trumpet player at Westminster Presbyterian in Cedar Rapids. You can find her if you need her.

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2007
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    It is always cool when you can look up to someone. Lara, you are already on the right track. If you have time when your "genius" needs you, you will be giving him the greatest gift possible. The second greatest gift is regular trumpet lessons..............
  7. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    If the horn is too big for him look at having your father buy him a Shulman System. I own one and I used it. I'll use it again if I start up in the future.

    I don't think technique is important at six years old. He will eventually want to play songs and your beginner books will be perfect. Play duets with him when ever you're home. He will be inspired when you spend time with him.
    You are really lucky to have this younger brother.

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2007

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