All sorts of bits and pieces that might be interesting and important … or not …
Here's a YouTube video, from the very wonderful Sankofa Read Aloud project, of ❗Ben's Trumpet, a book by Rachel Isadora published in 1979.
I talk about it in my video for World Book Day. There are no questions - just have a look and enjoy! Comments are always welcome, of course - you can use any Class Dojo method, or talk to me next week at school.
Here is the very top tenor horn player Sheona White in a ❗short YouTube video playing a great, lively tune. On Class Dojo there are questions for dojos in your portfolio - or just enjoy it. To see and hear the video, click the link right here on this card in the the website picture below.
Please see my Class Dojo video for today (Wednesday 23 February).
Been playing the whole time? Great! Well done, keep going, talk to me!
Haven't played for a while? Don't worry, we're starting again right now. Let's:
• Find your instrument
• Unpack carefully
• Wiggle the valves
• DON'T unscrew anything or let anyone at home do that!
• Talk to me about any problems
• Do a warmup
• Choose a Simply Brass tune and play it
• Enjoy your playing!
It really is that simple. If there are problems we will solve them, and we will be ready to play a tune straight away in your first lesson!
Feeling stuck? Talk to me!
Today's newest thing is the Sam Rivers tune Beatrice ❗played at this YouTube link by David Adewumi, a prize-winningly brilliant Nigerian-American trumpet player from New Hampshire, US. You can click the link here on this card or just click the website picture below for the video.
David won the 2019 Carmine Caruso Competition for jazz trumpet solo. It's a big deal. You don't have to, but if you would like to answer questions for dojos, they are on your Portfolio. I'm asking you the obvious stuff, and you might get another dojo for an interesting thing you notice or a good question you ask me!
Here is a reminder of the first three note lengths we learn in our brass lessons.
This is all about:
Please click on the picture above or the following text to download the PDF so that you will have your own copy when you need it.
Remember that these note shapes are only half the code - they tell you how long a note lasts, but not how high it is. There is no stave here (the system of five lines and their spaces) so we cannot say whether these notes are Cs or As or anything - only that they are 1, 2 or 4 beats.
We will have some more note lengths in a later card, and some puzzles and challenges on Class Dojo.
OK: I swear I didn't just choose ❗ this video because Dr Brian Shook is a friend of mine!
Yes, he is, but this is a really nice clear explanation of how the instruments are similar and how they are different: it is something that we are often asked about.
I can show you it best of all in a lesson, but if we can't be there in school right now this is a great help.
Brian tells us three main points that are different between the instruments. Can you tell me one, two or all three of them? For Dojos??
I've never seen this group live but I would like to put that right one day. There is fantastic playing here. Please visit the YouTube link to ❗ Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Delta and appreciate their skillful playing.
I'm not doing official questions (see my Tuesday video!) so here are a few things to look out for (but you don't have to, you could just enjoy the music) starting with:
This man and his hat and his brass instrument did rather well with a tune released about 43 years ago. It was quite unusual, even then, for an instrumental feature (no singing!) to do well in the charts and as a brass player I was very excited about this. Please see my Class Dojo video story today then go and listen to and watch ❗ this YouTube video then have a go - Dojos for Answers! - at the questions I have put on the Portfolio for you. And please enjoy it!
Here is ❗ a lovely tune from the French-Lebanese trumpet player Ibrahim Maalouf.
I'd really like you just to watch/listen and enjoy it, but, in case you like questions for Dojos, it's in the Portfolio for Tuesday 26 January on Class Dojo.
Well, I thought I was done with the US Presidential Inauguation but then I realized that a friend wrote one of the fanfares. I am sitting here trying to catch a few rays of Reflected Glory … however you slice it and dice it I do think this is pretty cool.
Here is ❗ the Fanfare played live at the Inauguration by the President's Own, the top US Marine band. It gets interrupted by the TV presenters, but you can see that it is the real thing.
This next link is ❗ a recorded performance of the Fanfare from an excellent virtual brass and percussion group. So whilst it is less cool than seeing real soldiers playing it for the POTUS (look it up), it sounds better in the studio(s) and doesn't get talked over by the telly!
Finally, here is Jim the composer's ❗ own page about the piece. Not unreasonably, he is very proud of it. I like it where he says "I am honored and humbled to be a part of such a historic event." How great is that?
President Biden gets inaugurated on Wednesday 20 January. Here to celebrate is a very good US Army band on YouTube being a bit silly with ❗ Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee with an incredible trombone soloist … but then stuff happens … you have to watch it … I don't want to spoil it for you here.
There are no questions and no mark scheme for Dojos … just enjoy!
So. what we have here is a little, short clip from a much bigger performance. It is brassy and gorgeous and rather focussed on one instrument.
Have a look and a listen to ❗ this fabbo YouTube video and then please see my Portfolio item on Class Dojo where you can earn Dojos for answers … woo woo woo.
Even if you don't do the questions - and, let's face it, you should - but, yes, even if you don't, just go and enjoy this music anyway. If you think ballet music is not your thing and you're not interested, even more so - I challenge you to just give it a listen. It is most unlikely to hurt you.
Here is Journey's❗ Don't Stop Believin' played by the excellent Christopher Bill and several of his friends. There are no questions on this - just enjoy it!
I do say a couple of things about this in my Class Dojo video for Thursday 14 January but it's not an assignment, just a tune.
Here is the story
• My rich, eccentric auntie just gave me a load of cash to spend for fun.
She didn't really. She doesn't exist. It's a story, OK?
• She gave me the exact amount of money for the most expensive tenor horn at the ❗John Packer website where we buy our school instruments.
• Question 1: What is that most expensive tenor horn called and what is its price on the website?
• I very nearly bought it but at the last moment I decided that I wanted more cornets. So, instead, I am going to spend the same money on as many cornets as I can buy.
• Question 2: What is the cheapest cornet called and what is its price on the ❗website?
• Question 3: How many cornets can I buy? You can round the prices to the nearest £10 if you like - it won't affect the result much and I will allow it anyway.
• Please show me some working so I can see how you got your result and help if you need me to.
• The external links here all take you to the ❗ brass pages at the John Packer site where you will find all the information that you need. Have fun!
• Please have a try at as much or as little of this challenge as you feel you can do. Want to go for it and do the whole lot? Great! But if you would just like to do some of the research, tell me what you found out, and leave it at that, that is OK too.
On the YouTube channel of Jens Lindemann, an amazing Canadian superstar trumpet player, here is a huge virtual performance by some of the world's top trumpet players. It's called A Hope for the Future and although it's from last April, or "last Lockdown" if you prefer, it also works right now. Please go to ❗ the YouTube video and have a listen and a look. If you would like some Dojos for answers please have a look at my Class Dojo video for today, Tuesday 12 January.
The vastly unfair Dojo mark scheme is similar to the Star Wars one - two Dojos for straightforward (easy!) answers and a third on offer for something clever or funny that you noticed or said - going the extra 100 metres, basically! Enjoy.
Here is a rather nice performance, live on stage, by the Barclay Brass playing the Main Title - you know, the Big Tune At The Start - from Star Wars.
Please go to ❗ this YouTube link and have a look and enjoy it. Remember that it's an ❗external site and all the commonsense rules and things you have learnt about using external sites apply. There are some reminders down at the bottom of this page: look for the REALLY BIG red exclamation mark!
For two Dojos please tell me two interesting things you noticed in this performance. It hasn't got to be anything in particular - just something you saw or heard. I mean, not something a bit boring like "the floor is made of wood" or "the audience clapped at the end" but the sort of thing you would notice and tell me in class. There aren't really any wrong answers.
For a third Dojo you could tell me who wrote the Star Wars music, or a third thing you noticed, or one extra thing that you decided to find out about all this.
ANSWERS - please send them on the Portfolio if possible: see the next card here, "How to tell me quiz answers".
Right then. It was my first attempt, yesterday, at a quiz using Class Dojo to get the answers back to me - what a shambles, I'm sorry.
I'm still working on getting it right and you might have to help me a bit!
I now understand that children do NOT have messaging in Class Dojo, only parents. I'm sorry - if I had realized that earlier, it would all have gone a bit more smoothly.
Here's what I think we will do:
• I will set up quizzes as portfolio items on Class Dojo. I think this makes them come up in your To Do list. This method should be your first choice of how to tell me your answers.
If the portfolio approach doesn't work, you could try:
• Get a parent or carer to message me on Class Dojo
• Put your answers in a Journal item on Class Dojo, and then use the comments on my video to warn me if you think I have not seen it yet.
• Just put your answer in the video comments. Obviously this is less good if it's right/wrong answers and you don't want to give them away to all your classmates too (or maybe you do!) but if it is that kind of problem I will copy them then delete them so maybe that would help.
I'm going to keep trying to find the best answer. Till then, always nag me if it looks like I have not seen your reply or forgotten you. I haven't: I just need the nudge.
Please use Class Dojo messaging to send your answers in.
Plus 1 bonus Dojo available for a wrong or funny answer (within reason) that makes me laugh.
Name two brass instruments that you don’t play.
Name one famous composer.
Name one famous brass player or even a specific instrument from any time, any genre, whether real or fictional.
A cornetto is the name of a musical instrument as well as a delicious ice-cream. True or false?
The saxophone is technically a brass instrument. True or false?
Name two types of music groups that you might expect to hear a brass instrument in.
Mnozil are an Austrian brass group who are funny, but also very good players.
Sometimes when I hear that someone is going to be funny with brass instruments it makes my heart sink just a little, because it can sometimes be a disappointment. But these people absolutely deliver the goods - please have a look. Visit this YouTube link for the ❗Mnozil Brass William Tell performance and let me know what you think.
I've kept my promise to add something new to this site, every day of this school year, since the lockdown started. If you have a look at What's New you can see how it starts right back on Monday 23 March – the very first day we were closed – and runs up the end of the Summer Term. I hope that you have enjoyed this material and found it useful.
Now that we have hit the holiday I feel that I can slow down or even stop for a while. I am certainly not giving up the site – there is a lot here that is valuable and I have many ideas for the future. So please check back from time to time and see what has changed. I will always announce it at What's New, with a little hint on the home page too.
I am hoping that in September we will see ways of working with brass at school, and then it might be clearer what direction this site should take. Until then, I hope you agree that there's nothing wrong with the current diet of tunes, links and other odds and ends!
Until then, have a good summer and I will look forward to seeing you back here before too long. Here's a link to the the ❗Sweet Canonbury song video with a cast of (nearly) thousands … and some brass playing …
Please visit this YouTube link for the ❗Concerto for 7 trumpets and timpani by Johann Ernst Altenburg who was an 18th-century German composer.
You will remember that a few weeks ago we had Alison Balsom talking about the Baroque trumpet – it's down below here, about 5 rows or 17 cards under this one. Well, this an amazing and rather joyous and noisy piece for seven of those plus a set of timpani (sometimes called kettledrums, though not by the cool kids). That total of seven is divided into a solo superhero and two groups of three who share the rest of the work between them. The timps just come in as needed and are not glued to one group or another. I like to imagine a monarch arriving at their court with something like this to announce them!
Make no mistake – what these players are doing is very hard: it is an amazing skill to play these old-style (look Mum, no valves) trumpets. I am proud to say that one of these people, Brian Shaw, often seen at the bottom left on a blue background, is a friend of mine. Can you imagine how much practice it takes to get that good? Plenty. You could do it – it's about going for it and doing the work to get where you want to be.
Two of the greatest jazz artists of all time perform Summertime from George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess". It's just … well, I find every note perfect. Please go and have a listen at ❗this YouTube link and see what you think.
The Czech composer Antonín Dvořák worked in the US from 1892 to 1895. Fascinated with America and its music, in 1893 he wrote his Symphony No. 9, From the New World, in which he tries to capture some of his ideas and feelings about the country. This tune is the main theme of the symphony's second movement. I can pretty much promise you that if you play it to an adult, they will know it – even if they think it is the "Hovis Advert Music"!
It's not that difficult but I have made you high and low versions so you can choose which you are more comfortable playing. The first version, with the higher notes, is more authentic – closer to the original – but if you would prefer the lower note version, please go for it and it will still be great! The PDF is here and I hope that you will enjoy playing this lovely tune.
Here's another great tune that you will already know. This Old Man is not too hard to play - if you know your First Five Notes™ then all you need to add is an A with valves 1 and 2 and you've got it. Here is the PDF.
There's a tiny bit of maths to look at here too. Do you like to read the start of this tune as Tee-Tee Ta or Ta Ta Too? I've given you both on the same sheet. One is marked 60 Beats Per Minute (BPM) and the other is 120 BPM. What on Earth is going on here? Have a look for yourself!
This Ronde is by the composer Tielman Susato, who lived in Antwerp (which is now in Belgium) in the 16th century. He wrote lots of great tunes, many of which we still have. This busy dance is not as hard as it looks! Start slowly, and keep going – you can make it go a bit faster as you get more used to it. Want a backing? Just let me know.
Please click here for the PDF, and enjoy playing this great tune.
By the way, this is called Version 1 because there is more to the tune than these 8 bars, and we can maybe do some more of it in a later version.
After yesterday's busy song I thought you might like an easy, slow song that's relaxing and calming to play. First four notes only – you can do this. Here is the PDF for Take It Easy and as usual the music asks, and I am asking you, if there is something you would like adding to it to make it better for you. Go!
Here is the PDF for Run Canonbury Run, our newest tune. Have a look, and please tell me if there is anything you need to help you with this one.
Here's another popular, quite easy, tune that you can play with your First Five Notes™. The same things I said for Twinkle Twinkle are true here too. Would you like a backing for this one? Just let me know.
Please click this link for the PDF of Oh When The Saints.
Another nice tune, following from Twinkle Twinkle on Friday. In fact, everything I want to say about it is the same as for Friday ... so please carry on!
Please click this link for the tune PDF.
Please check the previous card, about Twinkle Twinkle, for all the other information. Please contact me if stuck. Or if not stuck. Whatever.
I thought you might like to play the popular classic Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star. It's one of those great tunes that we all know but it doesn't need too many notes so it is not difficult! Sshhhh, don't tell the audience it's easy.
If you click this link it should take you to a PDF of the tune.
If you have any trouble with the PDF please let me know. We can try other ways of getting the music to you.
You will see that the PDF asks you to let me know if you would like it changed – maybe you would like the lyrics, or the fingerings, or the note names, or something else? Just let me know on Class Dojo.
And maybe I will add a backing some day, too. Would you like that?
Continuing from yesterday's lovely horn music:
Let's call this top horn A ...
... and we can call the other one L.
These are both horns – they are examples of the instrument sometimes called a French Horn. Lots of horn players don't like the French Horn name and they much prefer to call it just a horn. Unfortunately that does not always work and sometimes you pretty much have to specify French or some other way of making it clear what you mean.
Can you think of a situation where it might not be clear what you mean? What else might people be thinking if you say "horn"? Does it depend on where you are, or to whom you are talking?
Now let's look at the photos. A and L are both horns. Are they the same? If they are not, then what differences can you see? What similarities? Do you think one looks better than the other? Might one cost more? I would love to know what you think when you compare A and L!
Here's a beautiful postcard, one of my most favourite things. What do you think is going on here?
To see the card much bigger and to read more about the picture and the music, you can click this link or the little picture above.
Have a listen to the music at the top of this card by pressing the Play button just below here. This is just the very start of a much larger work. What can you hear in this music?
I know you were a bit little in 2013! Even so, you may well, since then, have heard the Pharrell Williams song Happy which was a huge hit. Continuing our theme of amazing multi-trombone videos, here is ❗Happy: Trombone Loop with Christopher Bill playing all the parts and doing very clever looping using software called Ableton which is designed for "live" use – that is, Christopher Bill isn't going back and editing this together afterwards: he is doing it right there on the spot. That is why he has to be so fast and clever, to not only do the trombone playing but also to control the software so that he gets the right bits recorded and played back. I wish I could do this but it is a very very advanced skill which I do not currently have!
Minor language warning: as noted above, what Christopher Bill is doing in the video is complicated and demanding, and you can see him having to move back and forth quickly between the trombone and computer. So it is maybe not a huge surprise that something goes wrong in the middle - the music stops for a moment because he made a computing mistake. Christopher says a mildly bad word here. You know it and I know it; we don't use it in the classroom and at other times when we are talking politely because it's not appropriate. So no, you can't say it in front of your favourite auntie and then blame Christopher Bill (or me!) for it, because you know how to use language sensibly. OK?
A pBone is, as the name might suggest to you, a plastic trombone. In this rather ridiculous but clever video, ❗THE (pBone) CLONE WARS, an excellent trombonist called Michael Munzert plays his blue pBone – and a couple of other things besides. If you want a couple of questions to try, how about:
Plastic trombones are, as you see, a real thing, and surprisingly good!
Hmmmm: I might come back to this topic one day …
Content warning: this video has a small plastic squeaky pig being played along with two trumpets and a piano. It's possible that for religious or cultural reasons you would rather skip it – that's fine. Everyone is different. If you know that you don't want to see it, just don't. If you know you do want to see it and you're sure it's OK then fine, enjoy. If you are not sure, please seek adult advice first.
Here is ❗the link to the video of Oink by Anthony Gustav Morris, performed by the composer with Aneel Soomary playing the trumpets and Agnes Wolf on piano. It's a very very short piece of modern classical music (just over one minute) with a really hard piano part and a really hard part for two trumpets (the one trumpet player swaps between them). There is a less challenging part for the squeaky pig, though it is still quite hard and must be played right. I am not qualifed to assess Mr Morris's pig playing but I can tell you that the pianist and trumpet player are both rather wonderful.
Continuing with our exploration of some great brass playing, have a listen to Rico Rodriguez, who was an eminent trombone player in lots of styles but originating in reggae and ska. He seemed to be on every pop song in the 1980s!
This link takes you to his album ❗That Man is Forward from 1981. It's actually the whole album there, going on for about 40 minutes, but you could listen to as few or as many tracks as you like.
It's a YouTube link so, in school, you might need adult help to make it work. The ❗ is there to remind you about online safety on external sites: the next two cards are all about that.
I am planning to make a better page to show you videos and other links, but this one will do for now, I reckon. Do please let me know what you think!
Here is Alison Balsom, a very top player of an interesting and difficult instrument.
This video is from Classic FM: ❗Introducing the Baroque Trumpet.
Have a look, and enjoy the different sound and the weirdness of there being no valves. Some of the language is a bit technical – maybe just let it wash over you and enjoy the video anyway? OR you could look it up, or ask for help with words and ideas that are unclear. Either approach is fine.
It's a YouTube link so, in school, you might need adult help to make it work. The ❗ is there to remind you about online safety on external sites: the cards a couple later are all about that.
In my Class Dojo videos for 10 and 11 June I showed you the cornetto (no, not the ice-cream) and played you Castle March and a little tune by Giles Farnaby.
Now you need to see and hear someone who can really play it! So here is Lene Langballe to show you her ❗Cornetto Podcast Episode 1 – please enjoy her amazing playing and her joy in making music!
It's a YouTube link so, in school, you might need adult help to make it work. The ❗ is there to remind you about online safety on external sites: the next two cards are all about that.
❗ This thing…
… is telling you that the link next to it takes you to an external site. Here is an example:
When you see this you need to think about everything you know about online safety. You have done this at school! Remember all the important things from those lessons.
When you are on this site or the Canonbury Primary School main site, you should be safe from most internet threats apart from my bad jokes.
When you venture outside those sites you need to be very careful that you only go to the places that I've recommended and that you don't wander off or click stuff that could be inappropriate for you.
I talked to the brilliant ❗Childnet about this and they gave me some great tips to share with you and with whoever is helping you with your computing.
Some ideas for parents/carers/whoever is helping you with your online work.
• Turn off autoplay – you find this by clicking the settings cog on any YouTube video – this prevents videos from playing straight on, back to back.
• Adults/helpers/chidren sit together or very close by.
• Turn on "restricted mode" – see ❗this article at Internet Matters for more
To follow soon
Is someone helping you with your music practice? Please ask them to read this!
I occasionally mention this in lessons but it's not a big deal there – the backings are already sorted out and if I play piano I just fix it as I go along, with hardly any wrong notes at all hem-hem.
The problem is that for reasons waaaay too long and boring to discuss here, the note we call C on your cornet or tenor horn is not the same as C on the piano. Sad but true. We're all lying to each other. Tsk. I apologize.
The solution is that one of you has to change to make up for the difference.
|Cornet: the piano has to play everything one tone lower to match. So:|
|The cornet's First Five notes:|
|C||D||E||F||G||… are played on the piano as:|
|Tenor horn: the piano has to play everything 4½ tones lower to match. So:|
|The tenor horn's First Five notes:|
|C||D||E||F||G||… are played on the piano as:|
I'm sorry: I know it's a pain, but I didn't invent it, and it is mostly useful to us. I might write a bit more about it – and maybe some nerdy music-person notes – later, but I hope this is a help for now.
Important instrument note: what I have said about adjusting the pitch for the piano is the same for violin, flute, guitar and most other instruments. Clarinets and tenor saxes are in B♭, the same as cornets; alto saxes are in E♭, the same as the tenor horn. Not many people know that, but you do now!
Cornet and piano
Tenor horn and piano
Yes, I cheated a tiny bit. The tenor horn version is really an octave lower. The horn's written middle C sounds as the E♭ below middle C on your piano, bassoon, harp, banjo etc. Go figure.