Brass For Beginners: A Comprehensive Brass Education for the Primary School Classroom or Private Instruction. www.brassforbeginners.com
HBS members have learned of Chris Hasselbring and Kristy Montgomery’s innovative educational program through a number of presentations they have given at HBS events and through a number of news reports. Their program, Brass for Beginners, has had numerous recent developments.
They are now offering lightweight plastic natural trumpets for students. These instruments weigh under two pounds and are made of a sturdy non-toxic polymer without moving parts. The trumpet is pitched in C at 440 Hz and is so light that even a preschooler could easily hold and play it. Its cost is $150, and at such an affordable price, many school programs could afford a set. The trumpet plays extremely well. They also have developed a horn mouthpiece which would expand the use of the program for horn students as well as trumpet players.
The basic concept of Brass for Beginners involves an interdisciplinary approach to the fundamentals of brass playing with hands on use of the natural trumpet. The curriculum, supplied by BFB, comes complete with lesson plans, teacher’s guide and other pedagogical supplies and involves the study of history, anthropology, archeology, religion studies, as well as fundamentals of music. Their method book, Around the World in Twenty-One Trumpets: A Brass Odyssey systematically takes the students through basic musical studies while being accompanied by various cartoon characters teaching the students about numerous historical periods, all involving trumpet activities. There is an online interactive aspect to the curriculum with links to sites such as listen and play www.practicecave.com or Hear it Online www.hearragnar.com These online components bring the study to life, particularly for young students. It is an impressive and innovative approach to the study of music and other disciplines. It is well suited to both classroom or private study. I encourage teachers to explore this wonderful method.
-- Jeffrey Nussbaum