[Dixielandjazz] Gifted trumpet student

Ministry of Jazz jazzmin at actcom.net.il
Fri Jan 12 11:46:24 PST 2007

Shalom Jazz Fans,

One of the things I do since moving to Israel is to give private lessons on
banjo and brass instruments. I am a motivated teacher because this seems to
be the only way I can create banjo and brass players to work with me to form
bands and perform. You won't find either over here. No banjos, and only a
few brass players here and there who are not already in the symphony or
police or army bands. Most of my students have done reasonably well, and in
anywhere from 6 months to a year or so, are able to play parts in the jazz
band, or to get together for fun and play brass ensemble arrangements. The
jazz band has become a working band, now some 4 years later beginning to
command respectable pay for respectable performances (and did I mention we
have a CD for sale?). I hope to get there with the brass ensemble too.

So last month I started a new trumpet student, a petite, quiet 18year old
girl with no musical background whatsoever -- couldn't read a note, and
never so much as strummed on a guitar. She lamented to me that she regretted
starting to learn music so late in life (yeah, I figured some of you old
geezers would get a good laugh out of that one!), but she was determined to
try to learn to play.

On the first lesson I got over an octave out of her, with reasonable tone
quality. She was bending some notes a lot farther than I can bend them, not
on purpose, but because she was not used to where the clean notes are on the
horn. I thought that was unusual. Well, each lesson brings me new surprises
out of this gal. At the second lesson, she could play the couple of scales I
gave her to work on easily and with clear tone, and she could play about
half of the first song I gave her. Now, a month into her trumpeting, she has
nearly a 2 octave range, plays two full songs cleanly, not fully up to
speed, but it sounds like music, and she sight read another one yesterday.

She went to a music store to look at trumpets, and when they heard her play
they couldn't believe she's only been learning for a month. I've had other
good students, but nobody that I know ever made this kind of progress,
including me when I first made the jump from trombone to trumpet. Next week
she will come to my brass ensemble group and try sitting in. From my
experience, I expect students to get to that point in 3 to 6 months.

Next months she goes into the army for her mandatory service. I will
probably not lose her as a student, since they usually station girls close
to home doing community service.

Anyone else had experience with outstanding students? This one is a
teacher's dream.

Dr. Jazz Dixieland Band
Tekiya Trumpet Ensemble
Jerusalem, Israel

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