This parent's case study from Katie Ruigrok gives perspective for other parents whose children are looking to get started with the trumpet.
Like every mum, I want the best for my children. I strive to ensure I am providing them with opportunities that will both support them and further their development.
I have three young boys, each very different. My eldest son is now 7 and is thriving, both academically and generally in life, you know – an all-rounder. Thinking back to reception it was obvious early on that he was a bright child, he seemed to complete all tasks with aplomb. I became mindful of the fact that we would need to ensure he had adequate challenges, both to keep him interested and to support his personal development.
He started to show a genuine interest in learning to play the trumpet so I recalled my early years; playing the recorder in primary school, learning to make music, playing in school concerts and learning to read music.... perfect, a sufficient amount of challenge and fun, trumpet lessons were starting to look like a good idea. My only problem was that I knew absolutely nothing about brass instruments... how much they cost, where to get one from, how to look after one, was he even old enough to play?!
I discovered, through a friend who worked for WMG, something called a pBuzz, an early years instrument designed to introduce young children to brass instruments. Its main aim is to teach children how to make a buzz thus introducing the basic skills for playing other brass instruments. We tried it out and my son loved it, (he still does!), so far so good.
Once he mastered a buzz sound, he picked up a pTrumpet - a fantastic invention in that it's light and durable so easy for him to play and carry about without me worrying he’ll break it! His is black with various different coloured mouthpieces that he can use, which is also a winner. He absolutely loves taking it to his trumpet lessons; when he gets a reward sticker, he sticks it straight onto his trumpet :-) It’s fantastic that pBone offers a range of instruments and music, as he progresses further he has the option to progress to a pTrumpet HyTech which will take him to the next level.
Finding music lessons really does involve knowing where to look and who to speak to. In our case, I asked a friend who is involved in the brass music industry for recommendations from someone local. It was from our teacher that we then learned of the local Music Hub which offers a training wind band for players at my son’s level of ability. I would say, if in doubt, ask at your child’s school. In most cases, the peripatetic music teacher will be able to make local recommendations.
Learning to read music has been the perfect challenge for him and one that he relishes. His teacher and I set little tasks for him to improve his sight reading and it’s great to see the satisfaction he gets from every time he improves. As a family we have been delighted to see him develop personally and learn a new skill, however, I was unprepared for the sheer joy on his face when he makes music!