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Whole class mixed instrumental lessons - how on earth does it work?

(8 Posts)
kippersyllabub Tue 12-Jan-16 20:24:25

Ds came home from school today with a trombone. It's a lovely instrument in perfect condition and to be honest the whole family has massive trombone envy and we're being extra nice to ds so he lets us have a go. So far, so good.

Everyone in his class has an instrument from the county music service for this term, for a weekly whole-class lesson. It's not all trombones or even all brass: there's flutes, clarinets, horns, oboes, saxophones, trumpets and cornets. How on earth do you start thirty different children on 8 different instruments with a weekly hour-long lesson? Will he learn anything meaningful this term? He's had his first lesson where the kids got the instruments but he hasn't been shown how to blow it or even hold it. Should I find a teacher for him or just go with the flow and accept he's not going to learn anything this term? Has anyone else got experience of this?

I'm apprehensive because I have enough experience of strings and woodwind to be of some use to my kids but I have no experience of brass and can make basically one sound with the trombone wherever I put the slide!

What can I do to help ds make the most of this experience?

raspberryrippleicecream Tue 12-Jan-16 21:53:00

No idea to your query, Ive seen, or rather heard, brilliant results from whole class brass lessons. DSs whole class clarinets were far less effective. But I really wanted to say I have 2 trombone playing DS and it is really cool?

Icouldbeknitting Tue 12-Jan-16 22:39:08

DS had whole class brass lessons seven years ago (trombones and trumpets). They did a lot of clapping, identifying half notes and double notes, I'm not sure whether they got as far as being able to identify notes on a stave. Progress was slow even with the whole class on just two instruments but by the end of the year they could manage a tune. I have no idea how an eight instrument class would work but after you've been to the concert at the end of the year you can come back and tell us.

If you want your son to get the most out of that shiny instrument I'd suggest booking some shared lessons with the music service brass teacher. Also our local music service has a couple of open days where children can go along and try different instruments so there's always that if you think your trombonist is really a cornet player. (search "your authority name" music hub)

I am laughing at your trombone envy.

Ferguson Wed 13-Jan-16 20:22:56

Others may disagree with me, but I think trombone is probably one of the easiest instruments to get started on. There are, however, various kinds of trombone:

and I'm not certain which is the most common, so you will need to know exactly which it is. I think the music is written in bass clef, but there is more information here:

Our DS played trombone for a while, and was in a beginners' ensemble within a month or two.

1805 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:13:12

Sounds like a beginner band. This is how whole class teaching works in america as far as I know. (happy if any americans want to correct me here!!)
You child will learn. Don't panic! The teacher will be a professional music teacher trained to deliver musical education in exactly this setting.

I would guess in this situation the trombone would be taught in treble clef.

VimFuego101 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:19:58

DSD learnt cello in a whole class lesson of violins, cellos and double basses. I was amazed at how much progress they made in a year. I imagine it will be slower with 8 different instruments in a class, but you could help him by a) finding out if it will be taught in treble or bass clef and helping him with basic music theory and b) encouraging him to take the mouthpiece and tighten/loosen his embouchure and try and make higher and lower pitched noises. Even just doing that exercise for 5 mins a day with the mouthpiece on its own (not attached to the trombone) will help him.

LilyBolero Fri 22-Jan-16 09:18:51

Whole class music lessons like this are often more about teaching 'music' rather than a specific instrument - i.e. the instruments are a little bit incidental to work on rhythm, pulse etc. But if they get the 'bug' then after a term maybe they will sign up for individual/small group lessons?

Madcats Fri 22-Jan-16 15:36:16

My DD (YR4)'s school is doing "brass & woodwind" this year (they did "strings" last year).

I am actually quite surprised at progress. I think they were helped by having a few children that were already learning instruments and a few visits from music teachers (and possibly older children) to help them get going.
I signed her up for taster lessons at 1/2 term. Sound quality isn't quite there yet, but she seems to be able to sightread in a couple of keys involving crotchets/minims/quavers.

I managed to find a couple of beginner books, which have really helped. I chose ones that came with CDs so we could actually hear what the instrument was supposed to sound like as well as accompaniment for the multitude of simple tunes.

I suspect a fair few parents are having a sneaky "go" when the kids aren't around

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