LEATHAM MUSIC

Brass Lessons in Albury

Starting out

Brass lessonsA CORNET OR TRUMPET is an excellent choice for a young musician. It is an easy switch to trombone, horn or euphonium at a later date.

Only seven combinations of three valves are needed for all the notes, making it easy to remember the finger patterns. In most cases students can create a clear sound within a few days.

Younger children often learn on a B♭ cornet which is easier to hold for small hands. The breathing technique and finger patterns are the same for other three-valve instruments.

Cornet lessons can begin at about age eight. Larger instruments can be started as soon as the child is strong enough to hold them safely.

The trombone is a large instrument and normally a child will need to be around ten or eleven years old to hold it comfortably. Trombone slide positions are not difficult to understand as long as the student has a well developed sense of pitch. Good singers generally make good brass players.

Teaching books

MANY BOOKS are available to help you learn the finger patterns, rhythms and general musicianship of playing brass. These often include a play-along CD which makes performing at home more fun.

We recommend Sound Innovations. This book is also used in The Newbies beginner band at the Murray Conservatorium in Albury.

Beginner tips

TAKE A DEEP BREATH, quickly inhaling as much air as you can without raising your shoulders, then play immediately. Hold your breath will cause tension and a poor sound.

You don't need to blow very hard to play the trumpet. Rather, you create a very small aperture between your lips and just let the air escape with the natural pressure in your lungs. The vibration of the air inside the instrument will make your lips buzz.

Keep your cheek muscles firm so the energy from the air flow is directed into the instrument, not wasted in puffing up your face. Try for cute dimples in your cheeks, not the bullfrog look!

Playing brass should never take more effort than singing. Watch the great New Zealand cornet soloist Trevor Bremner. Note the gentle way he holds the instrument, the huge breaths and the lack of muscle stress even when playing very soft high notes.


Your instrument

BRASS INSTRUMENTS have the distinct advantage of lower price compared to most other types. For well under $1,000 you can buy a student cornet, trumpet or trombone that is perfectly adequate for many years of lessons.

The largest supplier of brass instruments in Melbourne is Melbourne Brass & Woodwind in Ormond. They have an extensive range to browse and expert staff to demonstrate the different types and models. They sell both new and second hand instruments with excellent service backup.

Wrights Music in North Fitzroy is another respected supplier of brass instruments in Melbourne, stocking a good range of choices including the popular Norton student cornets.

The rental company Studio 19 can supply trumpets and trombones for around $40 per month on rent-to-buy plans. This is a very cost effective way to enter the world of brass playing.

Albury’s local music store Blackline Music stocks the budget lines of Aston and Jupiter instruments and a selection from Yamaha. If you know what you want then shopping locally is certainly an option.

Many schools have brass instruments available for rental. Using the instrument for private lessons is usually not a problem so long as the student supports the school’s own music program and attends band rehearsals regularly.

Accessories

THERE ARE SOME ITEMS you should own personally even if you have a borrowed or rented instrument.

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