Ds2 who turned 9 last week has just finished his first term of cornet lessons and I'm wondering if his experience is common.
He has done well so far - his concentration in lessons is great, he gets a good sound out of the cornet and after 10 x 30 minute lessons can play both grade 1 scales quite well and play a couple of short pieces (a bit of ode to joy and twinkle twinkle) competently with no bum notes or rasping. I feel he's doing well and his teacher is making positive noises too.
My question is about how long it takes for a small child to stop finding playing so physically difficult. Ds is strong but you can see that his arms are tired by the end of the lesson, and sometimes his mouth looks a bit sore. I today he said he didn't want to play because it hurt him, but went into his lesson and seemed to cope fine. I'm keen for him to continue for a while at least and see if it starts to become easier (I mean the sheer physical effort involved in playing a brass instrument). How long did it take you/your dc to get comfortable with their instrument? Ir is his teacher missing something?
DS2 plays trombone, and started from 8, and at that age DS1 played trumpet.
I don't recall them getting tired from holding the instruments up. Lips getting tired yes, especially after a lot of playing in bands and after a break. They try and do almost daily practice in the holidays to keep their lip going, even if it is only ten minutes.
Should add, they both learnt at school and had a shared lesson, it wasn't 30 mins and it wasn't full on, so probably a more gradual build up
Sounds like your DS is doing really well though
Get him playing in a group out of school. Top C in 10 lessons is good going. Can he sight read ok?
Sight reading is coming on. We'll work on it over the summer.
Would love to get him playing in a band. :-)
have a look and see if you have a local brass band. There are loads around that you may never have noticed!
dd learnt cornet through the band. They have a process for teaching begiinners. She did 15 minute lessons (30 minutes is along time) after 1 year of lessons she stayed on to join the beginners ensemble. (she could have stayed after about 6 months I think) It was so encouraging to play with the band. That meant 15 minutes of lesson, followed by 30 minutes band. at the end of that her lip was gone. But they play sitting down, so no arm ache.
Now, 2 years in, she stays for the whole band academy (and I got roped in to learn an instrument too and I too stay on for the whole training session). It is 7- 8:30, and by the end we can't play another note. But the whole band experience has been amazing, you learn so much more than just in a solo lesson, and it is fun.
Check out your local music service, they may well have windbands/ orchestras. Our junior orchestra and windband both start at G1 standard.
Keep going and it will get easier, maybe he needs an extra snack on cornet days.
At home can he practise sitting down?
DS has played a sit-down brass instrument from being 7 (euphonium, he had to pass on marching for a fair few years until he was big enough to carry it). "My lip's gone" is a common complaint among brass players, your DS will find that endurance will develop with continued playing. Little and often over the summer will do him the world of good.
I'd echo what others have said about ensemble playing, either with the music service or in a local band (or both). It makes learning more interesting and banding does wonders for their sight reading. There's a search tool here (which I seem to be unable to link nicely, sorry)
that will show you the brass bands in your area. The high flying bands usually have a training band associated with them so that players have somewhere to start before moving into the main band, I suspect that any local band you contact will help you find somewhere suitable even if it's not with them. Your child and others like them are the future of banding and everyone likes to see the next generation of players coming through.
Dd2 (8) has been playing on & off for a bit - dh teaches her. She played cornet for grade 1 as it was easier to hold and has just done trumpet for grade 2 - she was keen to move on to trumpet! She doesn't complain about the weight of the instrument, but does complain her lips feel a bit sore sometimes. Dh tells her to practise little and often to build her lip stamina up.
Dd2 is all about high notes......such a brass player
Look at your county music service website as there might be a few bands in your area.
How does sitting down make any difference to arm ache?
Sounds like he is doing fantastically. Strength will come. I play various brass instruments and have done for 25 yrs and still get tired/lip gone all the time. Just gently encourage and find him a brass group (school, local brass band training section) to enthuse him.
1805 - when she is sitting down, her elbows are resting on her sides/torso.
When she is standing they aren't.
Well, I don't let my pupils do that. I prefer them to develop the strength. Otherwise they carry on like that and end up as 16 yr olds who can't hold a trumpet, slouching in their chairs, all squashed up.
Schilke / what does DH say?
1805 - dh agrees with you. Elbows need some room and shouldn't be squeezed against your body. If you've got your arms tucked in against your body, you'll be creating tension.
thanks for that I will let her know and check on her so she doesn't do it.
She has learned entirely through the band which has been amazing, but less focused on the individual.
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