Monday, September 28, 2009

9/28 First Trombone lesson, reported by Don Kaser

Chuck and I had our first "music therapy" meeting this afternoon. At this point I am not sure who will get the most benefit from our lessons, Chuck or me. This was my first meeting with him since he has been mobile and communicative, so I didn't know what to expect even though Auburn has described in great detail the progress Chuck has been making. My fears were cast aside however when I knocked on their door and Chuck answered it with a warm welcome and a firm handshake. I am one to not often be overcome with emotion, but that really did it for me.

Anyway, on to the lesson. We started out with a little singing. We sang the "Smile" song which the Rotary club sings at our meetings. Smile, and the world smiles with you. Sing a song... Chuck knew all the words (I think he even corrected me on my interpretation) and sang pretty much in tune.

We then moved on to a reintroduction of the trombone. I played Amazing Grace for him as he sang along. I was then reminded that he was not a tenor and brought it down to a more approachable key. The second verse was of his own composition I think. Or it may have been another setting. Anyway, it seemed to work out better. After that bit of warmup we unearthed the trombone. We talked a little about the instrument. He told me which mouthpiece to get, the 12C.

And the success story of the day- mouthpiece buzzing, three distinct partials, low Bb, F, and high Bb in first position, and finding third position. And, oh yes, did I mention that he is doing this without several upper front teeth? I get the feeling that I will be the student before very long. We decided to have two lessons per week and set up the next time. Next lesson we will work on some more sustained notes and look at note slide positions. I need to ask my trombone colleagues if trying to play too much with missing teeth is going to do harm to his embouchure. So far it looks like Chuck remembers a lot about the trombone.


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