What age to start new players?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by dwindham, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. dwindham

    dwindham Pianissimo User

    Aug 6, 2006
    I've got three boys and the oldest is 7 (8 in Dec.) and was able to make a sound on my old horn. Is he old enough to start trying to learn yet? Where should he start? Should I look for a teacher for him? I would love to teach him myself but not sure how he would do.

    If I do teach him do I need to get some of my skills back first or can we learn together?

    I'm trying to find an ebay deal on a possible 2nd horn since all I have right now is my old silver T200 bach and a 5C megatone. I'm trying not to spend alot and avoiding the new chinese junk and hoping to pick up an older but still in good playing shape horn to learn on.

    Thanks for ideas out there on dad's teaching their sons.
  2. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I started at age seven.

    I think you can learn together and it would be fun. You played at one time, so you should be able to help him a lot and your skills should come back too.

    There are quite a few good beginner horns on eBay pretty cheap.

  3. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    I've started my son...he's just turned 7. We play when he feels like it right now.

    The key is to keep it fun, especially at first. Games like note conversations, pass the note, long note contests (be sure he wins once in a while), buzzing conversations, etc. are all fun ways to get him to listen and focus on sound and enjoying playing.

    Have fun! It's brought us closer, I can tell you that.
  4. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I think that 5th grade is a great time to start the average student on a brass instrument. I do think that they can start learning the fundamentals of music younger than that. I know they can play piano at a younger age.

    The age to start each student depends on the physical characteristics of each child. As a middle school band director I agree with the long time theory that 5th grade is when MOST students are able to fill up a wind instrument. Some can do it younger, and some still have a hard time in 5th grade.

    My own daughter, who is a tall athletic young lady, struggled with the flute last year as a 5th gader. A few weeks ago we started on remembering the basics after the summer break and there is a world of difference between the sound she makes this year as opposed to last year. I credit this with the amount of wind she is able to project into the instrument, not that she is so very much smarter than last year.

    If you start your child at a younger age remember to focus on the musical basics, and allow your child to grow with the instrument over time. Also remember that if youstart them at a very young age that they may feel bordom when they join the 5th grade band at school. He will sit there while others are feeling the excitement of the first notes. I'm not saying don't start him early, I'm just saying that there are both good and bad things about starting the musical process early.
  5. dwindham

    dwindham Pianissimo User

    Aug 6, 2006
    Thanks I was able to get in touch with my old teacher and he suggested first possibly just get them playing a recorder just to work on the muscial concepts and to get the air moving.

    If I find a good deal on another horn I might pick it up to have spare and take it slow.

    I remember I started playing a little piano around that age and just had the letter names on the keys on stickers and my dad wrote the letter names out.

    Thanks for all the great ideas. I want to help out but not mess up the natural course of things either. Perhaps now just the exposure to me playing will be a start.
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Recorders! Aaaaggggh!
    Recorders are one evil that took a lot of fun out of teaching in Germany. Everybody learns recorder in school, and when it comes time to learn a "real" instrument lots pick trumpet because, hey, it only uses three fingers!
    A recorder is a wind instrument the same way an Estes rocket is a spaceship, and the way the recorder uses air has next to nothing to do with trumpeting. Give your son a mouthpiece and a garden hose before making him learn recorder, please!
  7. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Since you're a trumpet player, you can teach him everything he needs to know for the first few years. Hopefully it will be fun!
    I'll give the stock answer on a horn - get him a nice-looking, newer (1960's or 70's) Olds Ambassador cornet on eBay. They play well and are almost indestructable. A cornet is easier for kids to hold as they play.
  8. dwindham

    dwindham Pianissimo User

    Aug 6, 2006
  9. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    Teaching your own kid to play trumpet is like teaching your own kid how to drive. Emotional issues come into play. I am now teaching a ten year old whose dad works with me. He tried to teach him himself but things deteriorated quickly, and the mom told the dad he was saying things to his son he wouldn't say to someone else's kid. So he backed off and I started teaching the son. Now he will ask his dad to play duets every so often and they're getting along better, but it is an enterprise fraught with danger. Be careful!

    Michael McLaughlin

    In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.
    Miguel de Cervantes
  10. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    The general rule I have when starting new young players is that they have to have their front adult teeth. Starting on baby teeth and then having adult teeth coming through whilst still trying to play can prove very problematic.

    Unless you are an experienced teacher I would recommend finding someone else to teach your son. If you are teaching him you will not only have all the problems associated with teaching, but also the family tension that Michael has referred to.
    I can think of a few people I know who have been taught by their parents, but in each of these cases the parents have been top flight players and teachers.

    Always remember, being able to play the trumpet is NOT the same as being able to teach it.

    If you are concerned about what and how your son might be taught, talk to the teacher. Most trumpet teachers are vaguely human and will probably be very pleased that a parent is showing an interest. I would add here, however, LET THEM DO THEIR JOB. They are there to teach your son, you are there to be the parent, not the teacher. I have had a couple of very frustrating moments when students have arrived at lessons saying "Daddy taught me to play it like this" or "Daddy told me this way is better." I don't mind parents getting involved, but I am the teacher and (hopefully without sounding too big-headed) I know what I am doing - sometimes there are reasons for teaching things in certain ways and in a certain order.
    This is not helped when Daddy has tried to be "helpful" and actually taught them something that is detrimental to their playing (I had one lad turn up whose "helpful" Father had told him that the way to play higher was to "smile and press") or just completely wrong.

    Personally, my advice would be to let someone else teach him, then you can always be on hand to play duets with.

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