After the success of our unique, brass starter instrument, pBuzz, many upper brass teachers loved the idea of a simplified foundation instrument. However, some felt that pBuzz is, in essence, a lower brass instrument. Despite the fact that I carefully tried to make pBuzz the easiest way to begin your brass playing journey, I could also see the logic in the argument that an instrument with a higher pitch and a smaller mouthpiece might be better for trumpet and cornet players starting out.
In pBuzz we had already isolated one harmonic or partial and focused on changing pitch by lengthening and shortening the instrument. So with our new trumpet-orientated instrument, it felt right to offer an alternative approach by plugging into centuries of bugling tradition and focusing on changing harmonics.
The result is pBugle!
"A brilliant crossover between toy and musical instrument pBugle has been designed especially for mini musicians. Lightweight and robust enough for a child to learn about brass playing through playful exploration, pBugle is a real trumpet that can develop authentic beginner brass skills without the complication of learning to play valves."
pBugle is in Bb, an authentic trumpet playing key meaning that notes learnt are instantly transferable to trumpet or cornet. Also, it steers learners away from moving step-wise around the lowest part of the trumpet, encouraging early access to higher note-playing skills that will become essential later in the players' journey
Before production, we carefully tested pBugle in school settings alongside respected and experienced trumpet teachers. Both the teachers and I were delighted to see the great progress and freedom of music making that pBugle allowed. Concentrating on buzzing, breathing and blowing without the distraction of valves meant that children were quickly making great sounds and all involved were pleasantly surprised by the ease of crossing harmonics. This also meant that the participants could get really involved with the music, improvising and developing their musical memories right from the start of the sessions.
pBugle is, of course, light and incredibly robust compared to any metal instrument and represents outstanding value for money, especially when you consider a good quality plastic 7c mouthpiece is included.
Like all our products it is also carbon neutral and 100% recyclable.
We have also created some materials to help young players get going and to help teachers use pBugle in the classroom...
As an undergraduate Chris studied Jazz at Leeds College of Music and then became a member of the Advanced Studies, post-graduate performers course at the Royal Academy of Music and Principal Bass Trombone with the European Community Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado. He then spent 25 years as a busy freelance performer based in both London and the North of England working with a wide variety of ensembles and artists, including being a member of Grimethorpe Colliery Band, The British Philharmonic Orchestra, Dame Shirley Bassey’s Orchestra and the Creative Jazz Orchestra.
Alongside this Chris has worked extensively in all areas of music education, latterly as a leading deliverer and trainer in informal, large group practice. This included roles as Leader in Wider Opportunities at Hertfordshire Music Service, Leader of Instrumental Development for Derbyshire City and County Music Partnership and as a face to face trainer on the Trinity Guildhall/Open University “Whole Class Instrumental Learning” national training program.
He became a key member of the team that created pBone, the plastic trombone in 2011/12 and has been involved with Warwick Music Group in various roles since then. Chris is currently Director of Creativity and Innovation for the company, a role which includes overseeing product development and improvement, quality and education.