What note to start on???

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by OdieLopez3, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. OdieLopez3

    OdieLopez3 New Friend

    Jan 21, 2007
    Well there is a way to start playing trumpet and for beginners you have to take step by step little by little so they can fully grasp the concept of trumpet playing. What note would be best for a beginner a Low C, E (fingers 1&2) or Middle G?
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Most method books start with G in the staff, then work down to low C. The advantage of G is that the student can check the correctness of this pitch using 13 as an alternate fingering when practicing at home. When starting with a teacher c in the staff can be a good note to aim for -- the higher our middle, the easier the upper register will be. Young muscles tire easily, however, and bad habits will surely be formed if the student goes for the high note at any price. Therefore, good 'ol G in the staff is a safe place to start. Good luck.
  3. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I think Jerry is right on the money here!

    Usually a student when first introduced to the Trumpet/Cornet will blow either the low C or G after they have mastered forming the embourche. That's were I started using the Mel Bay method for Band back when Jimmy Carter was in office; and I don't think much has changed today.

    However I'm not an expert on the topic I'm sure some of our educators on the board with chime in with the latest and the greatest!
  4. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    My experience has been that there are 2 kinds of beginners: those who buzz a G and those who buzz a C. Let them begin on what sounds and feels comfortable for them. Trying to get kids who can only get low C to come out causes pinching and forcing; trying to get kids who can only get a G to match a C only causes frustration. Work from where the kids are and build on what they can do. Encourage them to make good sounds and be consistent on whichever note speaks for them. Get the G kids to work down to C and the C kids to work up to G. After that, you can work all together on getting up to A, B and 3rd space C. (Although I've had at least one beginner who pops out 3rd space C or higher immediately...a sign of pinching).
  5. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

    Jun 1, 2006
    I teach a lot of beginners. While the general answer has always been "G" or "C", I have found that this is very limiting. I usually start of a beginner blowing on just the leadpipe as this is the easiest "thing" to make a sound on related to the trumpet (ie. it's easier than the whole trumpet and it's easier than the mp alone). That being said, the note that is closest to that pitch for most beginners is an E... so that's where I start them. Just have them try to blow the same for the LP and the E. I've found this to work quite well. Why limit yourself to G or C... There's no reason I see why it's mandatory that a beginner start playing on the "open" horn. I have seen no negative value of doing it the way I described, and have actually had better results this way, as I used to do the "G" or "C" only approach. The main point being don't lock into one way of doing it, work with what the kid can do naturally.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    After the first lesson, they should have at least 3 open notes - C/G/C. Then there is no discussion about where to start.
    My students all start with long tones and slurs, from day and hour one. The very first note is the one that just happens to come out. They have no idea how to control it, so we help after seeing and hearing what happens.
  7. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    i think that it the big weakness with beginning band trumpet books is they keep the students in the written middle c to g range and build down before up, to accomodate the clarinets. i like to see the students get the octave c-c pretty quickly to get them to form an embouchure. (can play the c-g range with out doing that) in my teaching i don't use a band book i use SIC and supplement it with other things as needed. i like rowuk's suggestion for private teaching.

    also i hear a lot of beginning students when buzz the mouthpiece are have too tight a buzz and it does affect the sound.
  8. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    There are NO certainties when teaching and you should NEVER try the "one size fits all" approach when dealing with new students.

    There are those players whose natural first open note is a C below the stave, for others it will be a G, for others it could be third space C - all of these are "correct" yet won't necessarily be the same as any other student.
    You can then use any one of these notes as a starting point to expand to the others.

    This is one of the many, many reasons I prefer to start students with individual lessons, as opposed to groups, classes or band beginnings.

    Most of the beginner books start with either the low C or the G, then expanding on to the other.

    There are also no rules about how fast a beginner student will catch on to what is needed in order to change between these notes. I would love to be so confident as to say that all my students leave after their first lesson being able to play all of these notes, but when you are dealing with young beginners (my youngest has so far been seven years old) it is unrealistic to expect anything like that. Some leave after their first lesson being able to play one note, some leave with over an octave - there are NO rules as to what is expected, they are going to learn at their own pace.

    For the record, I probably start between 10 and 30 students each year, usually aged 7, 8 or 9, most of which will have no musical knowledge beforehand so will also need to learn how to read music. These lessons are often only 20 minutes long and frequently in groups of 2 or 3 (NOT my choice, the organisation I work for swears that it is better this way).

    I think many people (myself included) prefer to start beginners on open notes because it gives the student one less thing to think about. They don't need to worry about their fingers, they can devote their thoughts to making a pleasant noise.
  9. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    What is pinching?
  10. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    By pinching I mean squeezing the lips, clenching the jaw; in a sense playing overly tight and constricted. Also evidenced by a thin and tense sound.

    I should add that not all who pop out 3rd space C on the first try on the horn are tight/tense players; but it usually does signify that. Or maybe that they're rolling in their lips when they play.

    MOST kids I've seen get either a G or a low C as their first note. I like to work from there.

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