Teaching brand new trumpet beginners. Anything to tell them/avoid telling them?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BitLion, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. BitLion

    BitLion New Friend

    Nov 13, 2013
    San Diego

    Recently I started this new mentor program at the local Youth Symphony (San Diego Youth Symphony) to try and mentor some beginning trumpet players in an intermediate ensemble. The mentor program is a program in which players in higher level ensembles in the youth conservatory mentor younger musicians.

    I have experience on the trumpet but I have almost no experience teaching.

    Is there anything that I should tell new players, or are there things that I shouldn't mention to them at an early stage?

    Also tips on teaching young students (ages 7-12) would be much appreciated.

  2. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    - first, try to ascertain what problems they are having as individual players
    - advise them to make sure and cover the fundamentals -- warmup, scales, lip slurs, articulation
    - and try to instill the idea that through all of these exercises and studies, they are playing MUSIC.....so try to be musical....=:-)

  3. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Dont tell them that playing trumpet is hard or give them any negative connetations, make sure they are playing relaxed and not using pressure to squeeze out notes.

    At a music camp ten years ago on my left was a 6 year old starting on cornet, on my right a trumpet player/teacher head of brass at a prestigeous private school, when music was handed out she leant across me and said to the lad "Dont play this it is too hard for you", I was gobsmacked, when she looked away I said to the lad "Have a go, play what you can". Now at 17 he is a better trumpet player than the teacher and fronts his own big band, also plays piano at University level.

    Regards, Stuart.
  4. RRVancil

    RRVancil Piano User

    Sep 24, 2009
    Littleton, Colorado
    Hi BitLion,

    Little ones are the easiest to teach, because they will do what you tell them to. That said, keep things simple, approach only one or two issues per session and rembber this to be fun.

    Think of all of the poor teachers you've had and don't do anything that did or would do. :-)

    Good luck
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Generally public schools in the US introduce the option of instrumental music in the 5th grade at age 11, as is when private tutoring also begins. Still, I'll advocate that it could begin much earlier and we've known excellent instrumental stage performers whose age was less.
  6. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Don't start them on technical details like embouchure etc. Get them to produce a nice steady airflow first. Have them do breathing exercises (like the "steam train" exercise: pronounce f - p - t- k - explosively, goping ever faster, and stop with a steam engine's whistle...) and gerenally get them to have fun while just breathing. Then get them to do funny noises on mouthpiece alone, and then ask them to bring in three feet of garden hose and a fuinnel (Make your own trumpet)... and take it from there.
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Trumpet students can start too early. If they still have baby teeth they can play great, but when they start to fall out usually the student will resort to force in order to keep their chops, and that can ruin them. At best, the first time a student experiences a mouthpiece on their lips is when the teacher places it in the proper position. Muscle memory will do the rest, but yeah, most of us have started out wrong (me in the back seat of my parent's car and blasting away like a beginner) in the small space. To their credit they didn't ask me to stop, but I ended up sounding like a wimpy Herb Alpert wannabe until my junior year. Then I became a wimpy Maynard wannabe. In college I became a musician wannabe and my chops took off.
  8. BitLion

    BitLion New Friend

    Nov 13, 2013
    San Diego
    Thank you for all the great tips/responses!

    My next mentoring session is in a couple weeks - I'll try what was said above. :)
  9. faulken

    faulken Pianissimo User

    Aug 20, 2013
    Greenwood, IN
    My 6 soon to be 7 year old daughter wants to be like her daddy and play the trumpet and or cornet. I tried breathing and buzzing. It didn't go to well the first times through. The funny one was she buzzed on a snorkel tube. It merits some promise. I will have to try the garden hose and "fun" ways to learn.
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Small chops, small pieces.

    And let them play C-F-G-C as loud as they want until they ask what's next. Then introduce them to quiet.

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