Re: Starting Trumpet
Posted by Inner-City BD on 10/1/2018, 12:58 pm, in reply to "Starting Trumpet"
Do more mouthpiece exercises in class. Do more sirens until they can demonstrate that they understand high and low and the physiological differences between them. If that means that for a day or two you're doing 100% mouthpiece, so be it. The mouthpiece is 95% of successful brass playing - if they don't get it there, they will never get it. |
Translate those mouthpiece skills directly to the instrument. Often kids can do it on the mouthpiece but they're using airstream or pressure - watch for this and correct as needed. High/low are NOT just a function of more/less air, especially at this level.
As for not practicing, there will always be reasons. Here are some tips I've found that are helpful:
Practice inside their parent's (or their own) walk-in closet. It absorbs the sound (all the hanging clothes!), usually has a light directly overhead, and is noise-isolated from the rest of the house.
Practice outside in a common area, if in an apartment. Most complexes don't have "quiet hours" until 9 PM. They can go outside and honk/buzz away for about 10-20 mins after they get home from school with no problems.
If it's a time issue, as in they don't have time because they are the child-care provider, encourage them to get to school early and be willing to stay late. Even if they can come see you and practice one day a week for ten to fifteen minutes, you'll make headway. Ask if it would be possible for them to practice when the little ones are sleeping, if they have that noise-isolated room. It may not be - but look outside the box and inside a different box for solutions.
In short, if they aren't getting "step two" or "step three" then go back to "step one" until they get it. We've all had those classes that just move SLOOOOOOOOW. Make sure they have fundamentally correct ideas in their head and produce correct sounds BEFORE you move on or you're just compounding worse after bad.
I'm through one grading period and a week into the second. My beginner brass students are still struggling to hit notes that will even get them into the book. Concert Bb is not bad and C is okay, but I can't get many kids to D and only have three kids that can play Eb and F. The book starts on F. This is my seventh year and I've never had a brass class move so slowly.
Most don't practice at home. I know many don't have a home where practicing is allowed (baby siblings, apartments, cheap duplexes, aftercare for most of the day), but there's gotta be something conceptually that I'm messing up. We talk about air stream, do breathing exercises, and have a huge bag of coffee straws, but it's not working.
What do you do when you have brass (especially trumpets) who have no range for this long?