Interview in Portuguese (Português) and English with Brazilian Trumpeter, Pedro Azevedo

Pedro Santos de Azevedo, mestre em música pela Unicamp e bacharel em música com habilitação em trompete pela Faculdade Santa Marcelina, iniciou seus estudos musicais aos 9 anos, na Escola de Música da Banda Musical de Peruíbe (1998-2002). Atou como trompetista em importantes grupos musicais, como a Banda Sinfônica de Cubatão (2008-2015). Possui cursos de educação musical pelo Método Suzuki e em 2016 realizou o curso de capacitação para professor de trompete Suzuki no Canadá, se tornando o único professor latino-americano com o curso de formação no instrumento. Sua pesquisa de mestrado, sob orientação do Prof. Dr. Paulo Ronqui, resultou em uma composição inédita para trompete e flugelhorn solo de nome “O Chamado do Anjo”, do compositor Leonardo Martinelli. Trabalha como professor de música na instituição AMIC – Amigos da Criança desde 2013 e como professor de trompete do Centro Suzuki de Campinas desde 2017. Atua como trompetista convidado em orquestras da região, como por exemplo a  Orquestra Sinfônica de Indaiatuba e Orquestra Sinfônica da Unicamp.

Pedro Santos de Azevedo, received a master in music degree at Unicamp and a bachelor in music with trumpet qualification from Santa Marcelina College. He began his musical studies at the age of 9, at the Music School of the Peruíbe Music Band (1998-2002). He played as a trumpet player in important musical groups, such as the Cubatão Symphonic Band (2008-2015). He holds music education courses by the Suzuki Method and in 2016 held the training course for trumpet teacher Suzuki in Canada, becoming the only Latin American teacher with the training course in the instrument.

His master’s research, under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Paulo Ronqui, resulted in an unpublished composition for trumpet and flugelhorn solo named “O Chamado do Anjo”, by composer Leonardo Martinelli. He works as a music teacher at AMIC – Amigos da Criança since 2013 and as a trumpet teacher at the Suzuki Center of Campinas since 2017. He is a guest trumpet player in orchestras in the region, such as the Indaiatuba Symphony Orchestra and the Unicamp Symphony Orchestra.

Equipment
Trumpets:
Bb – Stomvi Titán Bellflex #27 with MaxiClappers
C – Stomvi Titán Bellflex #23 with MaxiClappers
Eb/D – Stomvi Máster Titanium #20 Bellflex gold plated and #20 Copper silver plated  
Bb/A Piccolo – Yamaha YTR-6810s
Pocket Trumpet: Eagle
Herald Trumpet: Suzuki
Mouthpieces:
Stomvi Valencia 3C Classic (on Bb and C trumpet)
Stomvi Valencia 5C Classic (on Eb/D trumpet)
Monette Classic STC-1 C4S S2 (on C trumpet, sometimes)
Stomvi Valencia 10E Classic (on piccolo)
Schilke 13A4a (on piccolo)
Denis Wick 3FL (on flugelhorn)

 


Bi-lingual Interview with Brazilian Trumpeter, Pedro Azevedo

The interviewer is Stanley Curtis


SC: Pedro, muito obrigado por concordar em fazer essa entrevista

PSA: É um prazer Stan, obrigado pelo convite!

SC: Pedro, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview.

PSA: It’s a pleasure Stan! Thanks for the invitation.

SC: A maioria dos meus leitores não sabe muito sobre o Brasil. Diga-nos onde você nasceu, cresceu e vive agora. Como é viver de música nesses lugares? Como você acha que a vida musical no Brasil se compara a outros lugares do mundo?

PSA: Eu nasci na cidade de São Paulo – SP, e nos meus 4 anos minha família mudou para Peruibe – SP, uma cidade pequena no litoral sul do estado de SP. Lá permaneci até completar 20 anos. Comecei a estudar música aos 9 anos em Peruibe, na banda musical da cidade, em agosto de 1998. No inicio tinha aulas de coral e percussão, e cerca de 3 anos depois comecei a estudar trompete. No ano de 2002 passei a estudar no Projeto BEC, na cidade de Cubatão – SP, um importante polo musical do estado. Em Cubatão foi o momento onde o estudo do trompete começou a ficar realmente sério, e lá permaneci, como estudante até 2008, tendo aulas com José Torres Menezes. No final de 2008 passei a atuar profissionalmente na cidade, tocando em duas bandas locais: Banda Sinfônica de Cubatão e Banda Marcial de Cubatão. Também em 2008, comecei a estudar trompete na Escola Municipal de Música de SP, com o Prof. Dr. Carlos Sulpicio. Em 2010, ano em que ingressei na Faculdade Santa Marcelina, voltei a morar na cidade de São Paulo, e lá permaneci até março de 2014. Me mudei para Campinas – SP, interior do estado, depois de casar com Marina Maugeri. Nos conhecemos na faculdade. Em Campinas, comecei a fazer mestrado em performance na Universidade Estadual de Campinas – Unicamp – no ano de 2015, sob a orientação do Prof. Dr. Paulo Ronqui. Finalizei o curso no mês passado (agosto/2017).

SC: Most of my readers do not know much about Brazil. Tell us where you were born, grew up and live now. What are these places like to live in for a musician? How do you think the musical life in Brazil compares to other places in the world?

PSA: I was born in the city of São Paulo – SP (the state of São Paulo), and when I was four my family moved to Peruibe – SP, a small town on the south coast of the state of SP. I stayed there until I turned 20. I started studying music at the age of nine in Peruibe, in the city’s music band, in August of 1998. At the beginning, I had classes in choir and percussion, and about three years later I started studying trumpet. In 2002, I began studies at the BEC Project, in the city of Cubatão – SP, an important musical center of the state. In Cubatão I began to get really serious about the trumpet, and I stayed there as a student until 2008, taking classes with José Torres Menezes. At the end of 2008 I started to perform professionally in the city, playing in two local bands: Cubatão Symphonic Band and Cubatão Military Band. Also in 2008, I started to study trumpet at the Municipal School of Music of SP, with Prof. Dr. Carlos Sulpicio. In 2010, the year I joined Santa Marcelina College, I returned to live in the city of São Paulo, and stayed there until March 2014. I moved to Campinas, state of São Paulo, after marrying Marina Maugeri. We met in college. In Campinas, I started to do a master’s degree in performance at the State University of Campinas – Unicamp – in 2015, under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Paulo Ronqui. I finished the course last month (August / 2017).

SC: Como você se interessou pela música? Por que você escolheu o trompete?

PSA: Não foi escolha minha estudar música. Em Peruibe vivíamos na periferia e meus pais tomaram essa decisão para que eu e meu irmão mais velho, João, não ficássemos na rua. A escolha do trompete, até hoje para mim é uma dúvida. Lá na banda de Peruibe, quando me perguntaram qual instrumento eu gostaria de tocar, eu respondi “trompete”de imediato, mesmo sem conhecer o instrumento. Eu escolhi o trompete, e não me arrependo até hoje.

SC: How did you get interested in music? Why did you pick the trumpet?

PSA: It was not my choice to study music. In Peruibe we lived on the outskirts and my parents made the decision for me and my older brother, John, did not stay on the street. The choice of the trumpet, to this day for me is a doubt. There in Peruibe’s band, when they asked me what instrument I would like to play, I answered “trumpet” immediately, even without knowing the instrument. I chose the trumpet, and I do not regret it until today.

SC: Conte-me sobre seus estudos musicais avançados no Brasil. Sua educação foi típica?

PSA: Creio que agora, depois de finalizar o mestrado, não é tão típica assim. Tenho faculdade, o que é bem comum. Tenho diploma de conservatório (Escola Municipal de Música de SP). Muitas pessoas estudam em conservatório, mas aqui no Brasil o número de pessoas que consegue se formar é baixo. Muitas vezes elas acabam desistindo quando entram na faculdade, ou pelo fato de terem conseguido alguma bolsa de estudos fora do país. Sobre o mestrado, falando sobre trompetistas, levando em consideração o tamanho do país, eu diria que existem poucos trompetistas com esse tipo de formação. Estou especulando, não tenho muita informação sobre isso.

SC: Tell me about your advanced musical studies in Brazil. Was your education typical?

PSA: I believe that now, after finishing the masters degree, my education is not so typical. I do have college degree, which is very common. I have a conservatory degree (Escola Municipal de Música de SP). Many people study in a conservatory, but here in Brazil the number of people who can graduate is low. Often, they end up giving up when they enter college, or because they have gotten scholarships out of the country. About the masters, speaking about trumpeters, taking into account the size of the country, I would say that there are few trumpeters with this type of training. I’m speculating, I do not have much information on that.

SC: Em quais grupos musicais você tocou? Conte-me sobre alguns dos seus concertos interessantes.

PSA: Posso dizer que maior parte da minha vida musical aconteceu dentro de alguma banda. Como já disse, comecei na Banda Musical de Peruibe, e lá também tocava na Banda do Colégio Irene Bargieri. Depois atuei na Banda Escola de Cubatão como estudante, e profissionalmente na Banda Sinfônica de Cubatão e Banda Marcial de Cubatão. Minha prática de orquestra, antes de mudar para Campinas, ficava restrita a orquestras de festivais. Entretanto, sou frequentemente requisitado para atuar na Orquestra Sinfônica da Unicamp, Orquestra Sinfônica de Indaiatuba, e outras orquestras da região.

Sobre os concertos, eu diria que os 8 anos que integrei o naipe de trompetes da Banda Sinfônica de Cubatão foram muito enriquecedores. O repertório de Banda Sinfônica é riquíssimo, e muito desafiador. Tocávamos desde música barroca até música contemporânea, brasileira, e etc. Só para citar um, lembro quando tocamos a Sinfonia Nº2 “The Big Apple”, de Johan de Meij, em 2011. Foi marcante não só pela dificuldade, mas pelo que a sinfonia trouxe de conhecimento para mim, sobre música contemporânea. Gosto muito de música contemporânea.

Um concerto inesquecível para mim ocorreu em um festival na cidade de Pelotas – RS, onde tocamos Abertura 1812 de Tchaykovsky com uma grande orquestra, coro, uma banda com cerca de 20 músicos e dois canhões de guerra. Eu estava na orquestra, foi sensacional!

SC: What music groups have you played in? Tell me about some of your interesting concerts.

PSA: I can say that most of my musical life happened inside some band. As I said, I started in the Peruibe Music Band, and there I also played in the Irene Bargieri College Band. Later I performed in the School Band of Cubatão as a student, and professionally in the Cubatão Symphonic Band and Cubatão Martial Band. My orchestra practice, before moving to Campinas, was restricted to festival orchestras. However, I am often asked to perform at the Unicamp Symphony Orchestra, Indaiatuba Symphony Orchestra, and other orchestras in the region.

Concerning the concerts, I would say that the eight years that I have been a part of the trumpet section of the Cubatão Symphonic Band have been very enriching. The repertoire of Symphonic Band is very rich, and very challenging. We play repertoire from baroque music to contemporary Brazilian music, and so on. Just to name one, I remember when we played Johan de Meij’s Symphony No. 2 “The Big Apple” in 2011. It was remarkable not only for the difficulty, but for what the symphony brought to me of knowledge about contemporary music. I really like contemporary music.

An unforgettable concert for me took place at a festival in the city of Pelotas – RS, where we played Opening 1812 by Tchaykovsky with a large orchestra, choir, a band with about 20 musicians and two war cannons. I was in the orchestra, it was sensational!

SC: Quem são seus “heróis” trompetistas – no Brasil, na América Latina, no mundo?

PSA: No Brasil eu diria que os três professores que estudei até hoje. José Torres é minha referência de som, sem dúvida alguma. Ele tem um som lindo! Já Carlos Sulpicio foi quem me introduziu no meio acadêmico, e até o momento foi o professor com quem passei mais tempo, cerca de 8 anos. O Prof Paulo Ronqui foi um marco na minha carreira. Cresci muito com ele, passei a tocar melhor, mais relaxado, e aprendi a organizar meus estudos. Aprendi com ele a me conhecer enquanto trompetista, e saber o que é preciso fazer para evoluir. Essas são minhas maiores referências no Brasil. Tem também o Sidmar Vieira, Daniel D’Alcântara, Walmir Gil, Moisés Alves, dentre outros.

Na América Latina, sem dúvida alguma, é Pacho Flores, da Venezuela. Nunca ouvi em toda minha vida um som tão lindo. Ele vem com frequência ao Brasil, e tive a oportunidade de assistir alguns concertos, participar de alguns masterclasses. É um ser humano que transborda alegria e musicalidade, que canta com o trompete, que realmente faz música. Sem contar que a sua técnica é fantástica. Na minha opinião, todo trompetista deveria conhecê-lo!

No mundo, depende do que quero ouvir rsrs. Quando procuro música contemporânea, Ole Edvard Antonsen. Quando quero alguém com muita musicalidade, Alison Balsom. Quando procuro música antiga, Niklas Eklund. Música eletroacústica e trompete, Markus Stockhausen e Marco Blaauw. Ultimamente tenho ouvido muito Ibrahim Maalouf, foi uma descoberta recente através de um amigo. A música que ele faz é impressionante!

SC: Who are your trumpet “heroes”—in Brazil, in Latin America, in the world?

PSA: In Brazil I would say the three teachers I studied until today. José Torres is my reference of sound, without a doubt. He has a beautiful sound! Already Carlos Sulpicio was the one who introduced me to the academic environment, and so far he has been the teacher with whom I spent the most time, about 8 years. Prof. Paulo Ronqui was a mark in my career. I grew up a lot with him, I started playing better, more relaxed, and I learned how to organize my studies. I learned from him to know me as a trumpeter, and to know what it takes to evolve. These are my biggest references in Brazil. There are also Sidmar Vieira, Daniel D’Alcântara, Walmir Gil, Moisés Alves, among others.

In Latin America, without a doubt, it is Pacho Flores, from Venezuela. I’ve never heard such a beautiful sound in my whole life. He comes often to Brazil, and I had the opportunity to attend some concerts, to participate in some masterclasses. It is a human being who overflows joy and musicality, who sings with the trumpet, who really makes music. Not to mention that his technique is fantastic. In my opinion, every trumpeter should know him!

In the world, it depends on what I want to hear. When I look for contemporary music, Ole Edvard Antonsen. When I want someone with a lot of musicality, Alison Balsom. When I look for old music, Niklas Eklund. Electroacoustic music and trumpet, Markus Stockhausen and Marco Blaauw. Lately I have heard a lot of Ibrahim Maalouf, it was a recent discovery through a friend. The music he does is amazing!

SC: Como você se interessou pela educação infantil?

PSA: Minha esposa Marina é professora de violino Suzuki (e mãe Suzuki), e foi uma aluna Suzuki também. Ela me incentivou a fazer o curso de Filosofia Suzuki com a teacher trainer Shinobu Saito no ano de 2013, pois já tínhamos notícia do Método Suzuki para Trompete. Após a realização do curso, fui contratado como professor de música na AMIC – Amigos da Criança para trabalhar com uma faixa etária de 0 a 6 anos. Nunca havia trabalhado com crianças tão pequenas, foi desesperador. Não sabia o que fazer. Em Janeiro do ano seguinte, minha esposa estava se preparando para ir ao Peru fazer alguns cursos de capacitação de violino. Lá existe um festival muito importante na América latina. Ela me informou sobre os cursos de Estimulación Musical Temprana, um curso equivalente ao Early Childhood Course Suzuki. Acabei fazendo os dois níveis (de 0 a 2 anos e de 2 a 4 anos) e também alguns outros relacionados a educação musical. Foi fantástico. Comecei o ano muito mais capacitado a atender às expectativas da instituição. Ainda trabalho com isso na AMIC. Mas até ir a Calgary, não tinha nenhum aluno de trompete.

SC: How did you get interested in early childhood education?

PSA: My wife Marina is a Suzuki violin teacher (and mother Suzuki), and was a Suzuki student as well. She encouraged me to take the Suzuki Philosophy course with teacher trainer Shinobu Saito in the year 2013, as we had already heard about the Suzuki Method for Trumpet. After completing the course, I was hired as a music teacher at AMIC – Friends of the Child to work with an age group of 0 to 6 years. I had never worked with children so small, It was scaring. I did not know what to do. In January of the following year, my wife was preparing to go to Peru to do some violin training courses. There is a very important festival in Latin America. She informed me about Early Chilhood Music courses, a course equivalent to the Early Childhood Course Suzuki. I ended up doing both levels (from 0 to 2 years and from 2 to 4 years) and also some others related to music education. It was fantastic. I started the year much better able to meet the expectations of the institution. I still work on AMIC. But until I went to Calgary, I had no trumpet pupils.

SC: Você é, eu acho, o único brasileiro que ensina trompete utilizando o Método Suzuki. Conte-me sobre sua decisão de obter certificação, sua experiência em Calgary no verão passado e seu estúdio agora.

PSA: O motivo no qual eu fiz o curso de filosofia em 2013 foi para a possível realização do curso de trompete em um futuro distante. Eu realmente achava que seria algo distante, pois a teacher trainer é sueca, etc. Sempre fiquei, na verdade ainda fico, impressionado com a eficiência do método Suzuki. Minha esposa dá aulas em casa e no estúdio, portanto eu vejo o progresso de seus alunos bem de perto.

Sobre Calgary, eu fiquei sabendo muito tarde desse curso. Um amigo meu, Fábio dos Santos, professor de violino e viola Suzuki, esteve na última conferência em Minneapolis para apresentar uma palestra, e encontrou com Natalie DeJong, com quem ficou sabendo acerca do Suzuki Summer Institute em Calgary. Foi uma loucura! Corremos atrás de patrocínio, crownfunding, ajuda de parentes, amigos, comunidade Suzuki, pois sair do Brasil na época das Olimpíadas com destino ao Canadá no período de férias, é muito, mas muito caro! Mais ainda se a passagem for comprada perto do dia da viagem!

Mas o problema não foi só a passagem. Eu esqueci do visto! Foi insano, mandei muitos e-mails para o consulado canadense no Brasil, fui lá na porta, mesmo não podendo entrar, liguei, e etc. O visto ficou pronto um dia antes da viagem! O consulado adiantou a entrega, o que é algo muito incomum por aqui. Para completar, no dia da viagem era o primeiro dia das olimpíadas no Rio, fiquei preso em um congestionamento por um bom tempo. Não atrasou o vôo, mas me deixou muito preocupado.

Consegui uma bolsa da SAA que cobriu aproximadamente 25% do valor do curso, e mais 50% diretamente da Mount Royal University. Resumindo, consegui uma ajuda para pagar cerca de 70% da passagem, 75% do valor do curso, e fiquei hospedado na casa da Profa. Natalie DeJong, que me ajudou muito nesse processo. Sou eternamente grato. Outra pessoa fundamental nesse processo foi Marg Caspell, que também ajudou bastante.

Sobre o curso, para mim foi um divisor de águas. Eu realmente não sabia como iniciar um aluno adulto no trompete, que dirá uma criança. O conteúdo foi excelente e foi transmitido com muita clareza. Tive a oportunidade de conhecer outros professores de trompete (como você, Stan rsrs) de realidades completamente diferentes, e isso foi bastante enriquecedor.

Atualmente sou professor de trompete no Centro Suzuki de Campinas, um estúdio com mais de 35 anos de ensino Suzuki. No Brasil temos duas teacher treiners Suzuki, e uma delas é fundadora do Estúdio, a Prof. Shinobu Saito. Tenho 5 alunos: Henrique de 4 anos; Davi de 10 anos; Maria Luísa de 14 anos; Glauco de 9 anos; e a Isabela de 9 anos. O Henrique e o Davi começaram juntos há cerca de 6 meses, a Maria Luísa começou agosto, e o Glauco e a Isabela começaram em setembro. Eles tem uma aula individual e uma em grupo por semana, ambas de 30 minutos de duração. No dia 16 de setembro de 2017, Davi e Henrique se apresentaram pela primeira vez. Foi muito legal.

Pedro Azevedo with young students

 

SC: You are, I think, the only Brazilian who teaches the Suzuki trumpet method. Tell me about your decision to get certified, your experience in Calgary last summer and your studio now.

PSA: The reason I took the philosophy course in 2013 was for the possible completion of the trumpet course in a distant future. I really thought it would be something really distant because the teacher trainer is Swedish, etc. I’ve always been, in fact, still impressed with the efficiency of the Suzuki method. My wife teaches at home and in the studio, so I see the progress of her students very closely.

About Calgary, I knew very late about this course. A friend of mine, Fábio dos Santos, Suzuki violin and viola teacher, was at the last conference in Minneapolis to give a lecture, and met Natalie DeJong, with whom he knew about the Suzuki Summer Institute in Calgary. It was crazy! We run behind sponsorship, crowdfunding, help from relatives, friends, Suzuki community, because leaving Brazil at the time of the Olympics heading to Canada on vacation is very, very expensive! Even more so if the ticket is purchased near the day of the trip!

But the problem was not just the ticket. I forgot the visa! It was insane, I sent many emails to the Canadian consulate in Brazil, I went there at the door, even though I could not enter, I called, and so on. The visa was ready the day before the trip! The consulate advanced the delivery, which is something very unusual around here. To conclude, on the day of the trip was the first day of the Olympics in Rio, I was stuck in a jam for a long time. It did not delay the flight, but it made me very worried.

I got a scholarship from SAA that covered approximately 25% of the course fee, and a further 50% from Mount Royal University. In short, I got help to pay about 70% of the flight ticket, 75% of the cost of the course, and I stayed at Natalie DeJong’s house, who helped me a lot in this process. I am eternally grateful. Another key person in this process was Marg Caspell, who also helped a lot.

About the course, for me it was a watershed. I really did not know how to start an adult student on the trumpet, which will tell a child. The content was excellent and was transmitted very clearly. I had the opportunity to meet other trumpet teachers (like you, Stan hehe) from completely different realities, and that was quite enriching.

I am currently a trumpet teacher at the Suzuki Center in Campinas, a studio with more than 35 years of only Suzuki teaching. In Brazil, we have two Suzuki teacher trainers, and one of them is founder of this Studio, Prof. Shinobu Saito. I have 4 students: Henry, 4 years old; David of 10 years; Maria Luísa, 14 years old; Glauco, 9 years old; and Isabela, 9 years old. Henrique and David started together about six months ago, Maria Luisa started in August, and Glauco and Isabela started in September. They have an individual lesson and a group lesson per week, both 30 minutes long. On September 16, 2017, David and Henry introduced themselves for the first time. It was very cool.

SC: Qual direção da carreira você quer ir de onde você está agora?

PSA: Pretendo seguir a carreira acadêmica, mas não quero deixar de lado a performance. Penso em montar um quinteto de metais ou alguma outra formação e sair por aí tocando. Tenho um projeto de montar um duo de violino e trompete com minha esposa, mas isso ainda não aconteceu rsrs. Tenho interesse também e aprender a tocar trompete barroco, mas aqui no Brasil é difícil conseguir esses instrumentos. Na verdade, é difícil conseguir qualquer instrumento. Normalmente alguém vai para fora do Brasil e traz para vender aqui. Comprar em lojas é inviável! São muitos impostos, fica muito caro.

SC: What career direction do you want to go from where you are now?

Alan Siebert (trumpet professor at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music) with Pedro Azevedo

PSA: I intend to pursue the academic career, but I do not want to leave aside the performance. I think of putting together a brass quintet or some other group and go out there playing. I have a project of putting together a violin duo and trumpet with my wife, but this has not happened, yet. I am also interested in learning to play baroque trumpet, but here in Brazil it is difficult to get these instruments. In fact, it is difficult to get any instrument. Usually someone goes out of Brazil and brings it to sell here. Buying in stores is unfeasible! It’s a lot of taxes, it’s very expensive.

SC: Quando você não está tocando e ensinando trompete, o que você gosta de fazer?

PSA: Gosto de brincar com meu filho, ir ao parque, ficar com minha família.

SC: When you are not playing and teaching trumpet, what do you like to do?

PSA: I like to play with my son, go to the park, and hang out with my family.

No tags for this post.

Suzuki Trumpet, Part II: An Interview with Natalie DeJong

Natalie DeJong

Natalie DeJong

Natalie DeJong holds a Master of Music degree from Rutgers University. She began her studies at the University of Calgary and the Vancouver Academy of Music. She has attended trumpet and brass workshops in Alberta, Quebec, Chicago, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Sweden.

Ms. DeJong now teaches trumpet at Mount Royal University Conservatory in Calgary. She has performed with a variety of ensembles, including Altius BrassThe Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble big band, the Prime Time Big Band, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.  She has performed with the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass in Pennsylvania and China, and has played the natural “baroque” trumpet with early music groups Musica Raritana (New Jersey), Concert Royale (New York City), the Swedish Baroque Orchestra (Stockholm), and Per Sonatori (Regina). Natalie also performed as principal trumpet with the Philadelphia Camerata National Symphony on a month-long tour throughout China. 

Ms. DeJong developed a class called Funfare TM  for young children to learn the trumpet and went on to train as a Suzuki Trumpet Teacher in Sweden in 2013.  She returned to Canada to launch the first Suzuki trumpet program in the Americas at Mount Royal Conservatory in 2014.  She is a member of the International Suzuki Trumpet Committee and thrilled to be promoting and sharing the concepts with other trumpet and brass players throughout Canada, the U.S. and beyond. Natalie is also a “Suzuki Parent “ as her son studies in the Suzuki piano program at Mount Royal.

Trumpet equipment(for Ms. DeJong to play):
Bb-Bach Stradivarius 37 ML (mouthpiece: Stork 5C or B)
C-Bach Stradivarius 329 G, 25H leadpipe (mouthpiece: Stork 5C or B)
Picc-Yamaha Custom (mouthpiece: Stork Vacchianno 3P)
Baroque Trumpet-Tomes 4-hole Ehe 1746 (mouthpiece: Naumann 5B and one given to me by Niklas Eklund!)
Flugelhorn-Conn Vintage One (Variety of mouthpieces)
Cornet-York “Preference 3027” (mouthpiece: Breslmair Wien AH2-F3)
Pocket Trumpet-Jupiter model 416 (mouthpiece: anything on hand!)
(French Horn-Conn single F horn)
 
Trumpet equipment for Suzuki students: 
-Most kids are using a pocket trumpet (the older Jupiter model 416 with the smaller bell, as well as the new Jupiter pocket trumpet model 516.  
-Older children use a cornet or standard sized trumpet when they have grown big enough
-Students a generally using a standard 5C or 7C mouthpiece, also other sizes as needed.
-Various “buzzing devices” are fun, but the favourite is the “shortcut” (made by JoRal).  This can also be made out of simple household materials.
 
Some Toys Ms. DeJong uses for teaching children (in her words):
I can’t possibly list all the toys I have collected over the years, but I can say that I walk through toy stores with entirely new eyes; looking at toys for ways they might apply in my teaching. 
Rafael

Rafael

Some of favourites in my toy box include:
 
 
Rafael (My Mexican Trumpet playing string puppet) who reminds my students about good posture
 
Pinwheels

pinwheels

-Any toys that get the kids breathing in full and blowing out in various ways or thinking in various ways:  
Little mouse holding a "shortcut"

Little mouse holding a “shortcut”

  We use anything from ping pong ball games, pinwheels, toy cars, trains, and airplanes to miniature animals
  
 
hospital breathing machine

hospital breathing machine

–and breathing aids found at hospitals.  
 
 
  
 
breathing device from Arnold Jacob

breathing device from Arnold Jacob

 
 
 
Arnold Jacobs gave me one of his ping pong ball breathing machines when I was a student…and I now use it with my students too!
 
 
-There’s a great invention out there called “Staccator” which should become a staple in any wind player’s studio!  
-There are MANY great children’s books out there with little life lessons in them.  I like the Harold B. Wigglebottom books. And kids always like Franklin 🙂
 
magnetic dartboard

magnetic dartboard

 
 -I carry my magnetic dart board to everywhere I teach (no, not with regular darts-safe MAGNET darts!)
-Music theory materials, such as MusicMindGames products by Michiko Yurko, and simple flashcards are a nice way to take a “chops break”
 
Rolling, decorated box, used to carry teaching aids and "toys" for Suzuki trumpet class.

Rolling, decorated box, used to carry teaching aids and “toys” for Suzuki trumpet class.

 
 
 
 
 
-I carry it all around in my toy box on wheels
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Interview with Natalie DeJong, expert Suzuki trumpet teacher
The interviewer is Stanley Curtis

SC: Tell us about your background as a musician and trumpet player—who have been your big influences?

ND: I grew up in Calgary with my earliest musical influences being all the classical records that my grandparents played for me in their living room.  They loved listening to everything from Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven to Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, and anything that might get played on CBC radio!  I started learning to play the trumpet at age 12 when there was a chance to join the school band, and eventually private lessons led to post-secondary music school (University of Calgary, Vancouver Academy of Music, Rutgers University).  I’ve enjoyed opportunities to play in orchestras, in chamber ensembles, in brass ensembles and brass bands, and in big bands… and one of my favorite things to do is to play baroque trumpet in period music ensembles.

My biggest influences start from age 12; my earliest private teacher, Linda Brown played 3rd trumpet in the Calgary Philharmonic and not only set up amazing opportunities for me (such as attending masterclasses in Chicago with Vincent Cichowicz), but she also set an incredible example of hard work and diligence in striving for the highest playing standards for her role in the orchestra…and an example of really beautiful trumpet tone too!  I was also fortunate to have the sound of Jens Lindemann’s playing in my ear from that age, as the first trumpet player I ever heard live! 

 

SC: What got you interested in teaching—especially early childhood trumpet teaching?

ND: I’ve always admired all of my teachers and their creative and musical ways of tackling the ‘little mysteries’ of trumpet playing.  I find it exciting to gain some new ability on the instrument.  It’s also fun to be able to explain it to someone else.  I find that once I can explain it…and be understood, that I also learn even more from it.  And the fun part is that communicating is not always via direct language, but sometimes through imagery.  It’s fascinating to always learn something new about playing a brass instrument, and helping others do the same is fun.

I became interested in early childhood trumpet teaching when I had started Doctoral studies at Rutgers University with Dr. Scott Whitener (author of Complete Guide to Brass).  I was working on a project about ‘Tension in Brass Playing’ and began thinking about instrument size (I’m a small person). It occurred to me that brass playing tends to be delayed until we’re “big enough” to hold the heavy brass instruments… but it also occurred to me that children are missing the opportunity to start very young on the trumpet like their friends who play piano or violin. When I propped my two-year-old son up with my big B-flat trumpet, he could create quite a beautiful tone…he just couldn’t hold the horn by himself.  So, I put a pocket trumpet in his hands…and from that point, realized that small children really CAN learn to play the trumpet from a very young age-if we give them the right equipment and the opportunity!

SC: When did you take the Suzuki teacher training for trumpet? What was that experience like? 

Ms. DeJong's Funfare class

Ms. DeJong’s Funfare™ class

 

 

 

ND: I had already started a pilot project called FunfareTM which was a trumpet class for younger children, aged 5-7 or so, in 2011.  I was very excited when I found out the first-ever Suzuki Trumpet Teacher training course would be held in Sweden starting in the fall of 2013.  I had been looking for Suzuki activity in trumpet land for a number of years, because I knew it was such a wonderful way to teach a musical instrument to young children.  At last I had found a trumpeter who had begun developing the method for Suzuki trumpet.  How could I not jump on board?!  There was so much to learn, (and there still is)! I was lucky enough to find a way to get myself to Sweden to take part in this first teacher training event.  We were a group of four student teachers from all over: Poland, Spain, Ireland, and Canada, and we later joined a group of Swedish trumpet teachers who were also training to teach Suzuki trumpet.  As you know, it was wonderful to work with Ann-Marie Sundberg, the world’s first official Suzuki Trumpet Teacher Trainer. It was a very collaborative atmosphere and everyone brought fun and creativity to the studio… I’m sure I wasn’t the only one feeling the joy of being like a kid again… approaching the trumpet with fun, games, and good music!  Combining that with gaining a deeper understanding of the Suzuki Method and philosophy, made for a life changing experience.  It added to my reasons for teaching and even to my own reasons for playing music.

SC: How would you describe the Suzuki philosophy in general and how the trumpet teaching fits into the world-wide movement? How is the trumpet school different from the other disciplines, in your opinion?

ND: The Suzuki philosophy encompasses ideas that are much deeper and farther-reaching than mere ways in which to teach a musical instrument; Dr. Suzuki had the goal of creating a better world.  He devoted his life’s work to fostering a sense of happiness in children, and felt that he could use music as a tool to do so.  If children could learn to play music from a young age, they would be raised to have good hearts: they would know the value and satisfaction of hard work, sharing, empathy, perseverance, team-work, and a host of other noble qualities.  In essence, it is an educational philosophy that can be applied to the teaching of any skill or subject… to students of any age.  The notion that “Any Child Can” is a belief that every child—every person—can be nurtured to learn something toward these goals.

Suzuki trumpet teaching is simply the newest voice in the world of teaching instrumental music in the Suzuki Method way.  The Suzuki Method began with the violin, but has been applied to many instruments since Dr. Suzuki first brought his ideas to the world.  There is much crossover from the activities used in other Suzuki studios.  I believe there is much for Suzuki trumpet teachers to learn from Suzuki teachers of other instruments, and I believe that the trumpet method, as we are developing it now, will also give ideas back to those same teachers.  What will be exciting to watch is how the Suzuki Trumpet Method impacts the larger world of brass playing in general.

The Suzuki “trumpet school” is different from other Suzuki instrument schools, in that much time MUST be spent in the beginning getting students to actually CREATE a sound, let alone a beautiful one!  It’s not impossible to create a good sound from day one or two…but it’s also possible that it can take weeks for a small child (or any new beginner for that matter) to even create a sound.  In the meantime, there are many musical and physical activities that are introduced that lead toward the creation of sound and eventually toward beautiful tone.

SC: Can you describe the process of getting one of your beginning students to play the trumpet for the first time? What are some common hurdles in this process that you have to overcome with the student to get them to be successful in this very important beginning step?

ND: I always aim to have students begin creating trumpet sound for the first time in the most natural, tension-free way possible.  This all starts with a strong concept of tone quality and musical concepts:  listening and watching is key to young students.  Any beginner needs an image of how it’s supposed to look and sound.

We always start by forming an easy posture and natural breathing habits.  I like to “coax” the lip vibration to start, using simple blowing exercises rather than “forcing” a lip “buzz” to happen.  A common hurdles for many beginners is getting over the idea of “trying too hard,” which only creates tension and back pressure when blowing into the instrument.  Beginner students often hit tones that are in between proper pitches on the instrument, so finding the “resonating” spots of each pitch can be a challenge.  Because this can all take time—to simply get a centered and beautiful note on the trumpet—it is a challenge to keep students musically engaged in the meantime. This is especially true for the very young aspiring trumpet players who really want to press all the buttons and make songs come out!  We do a LOT of singing and moving, and playing just on mouthpieces.

SC: What have been some of your success stories in your Suzuki teaching?

Ms. DeJong with three young students at the Grand Opening of the Bella Concert Hall in the Taylor Centre for Performing  Arts, Calgary

Ms. DeJong with three young students at the Grand Opening of the Bella Concert Hall in the Taylor Centre for Performing
Arts, Calgary

ND: So far, I see every child as a success story.  Each child who has been a part of the program has learned SOMETHING valuable—which is the whole point!  Musically speaking though, I will have my first student graduating soon from Suzuki Trumpet School Book One.  He is a sensitive, expressive player, with a beautiful and naturally produced tone on the trumpet!  There are several children within the studio who have taken it upon themselves to perform (all by memory, I might add) at school or community events by their own initiative. There are several more who have struggled with this or that, be it trumpet playing or behavioral issues, but each has grown in some way through the process of practicing regularly and persevering.  The biggest success I can see, when I look at the program as a whole, has been the little nurturing trumpet community that has formed between parents, children, and even other trumpet teachers.

SC: What did you learn about teaching young children during your teacher training with Ms. Sundberg?

ND: Besides all the things that you learn from the children themselves—some having nothing to do with trumpet playing or abilities, but to do with things like their attention span or confidence levels—I learned that the parent’s role plays a huge part in the success of the child and the method.  Ms. Sundberg’s ideas and materials are wonderful and support the Suzuki Method beautifully, but it is the relationship between teacher, parent, and child that determines the ultimate outcomes.  Everyone is a partner in learning…and everyone is learning.  So that’s been exciting!

SC: How is your studio different from other Suzuki studios in the world?

ND: I can’t imagine that my studio is all that different from other Suzuki studios in the world.  We might have a different set of instruments, equipment, toys, and songs to work with, but our goals and methods are all based on the same ideas.  What IS truly different at this point in time, is that the method for trumpet is new.  It is new within the Suzuki community and certainly new within the trumpet and brass community as a whole.  It is still in the beginning stages of development and will be for a very long time.  We are not in a rush to find the perfect ways to teach very young children.  I envision that, like a growing child, the Suzuki Trumpet Method will grow and mature alongside the young children who are enrolled in these first Suzuki trumpet programs.

SC: Has your Suzuki teaching experience shaped your teaching of older students?

ND: Absolutely!  Basically all of the same concepts in the Suzuki method and philosophy can be applied to older students.  Listening is key.  Playing without sheet music is key.  As are the ideas of taking one small step at a time, repetition, and providing loving encouragement.  Two days after returning to Canada after my first trip to Sweden, I began applying the ideas to junior high and high school trumpet classes, hour after hour at a festival where I was teaching.  Without putting any music in front of these multi-level trumpeters, we set about learning the exposition to Haydn’s trumpet concerto (all on Bb trumpets).  I didn’t tell them how high or fast the notes would go…we simply listened, watched, played and repeated until pretty much every player was capable of playing most or all of the passages with the exception of a few younger players missing high notes.   But no one stopped playing the SONG. The key thing I noticed was how naturally relaxed everyone was.  Compared to the results of putting printed music in front of students first thing—revealing to them the range of pitches and rhythms and causing a whole bunch of tension and doubt—this method was more successful by leaps and bounds.

There are many ways you can use the concepts with older and/or more experienced students.

SC: What do you like to do in your spare time?

ND: I love to get outside and be in nature, whether it’s hiking up mountains, camping, or cross-country and downhill skiing.  I love to draw and paint, and I’m starting to dabble in writing short stories.  Mmmm, and if I really have spare time I like to cook good food!

SC: What are your aspirations for the future of your Suzuki studio and your teaching career?

ND: I would love to see the students in my Suzuki trumpet studio grow and develop into fine people and skilled, musically sensitive players.  As the studio is still young, I am looking forward to eventually having a wide range of ages within the studio to see how the older Suzuki trumpeters will influence and guide the younger students.  This is already beginning to happen, as I have enough students to begin to separate them by age and ability, and bring them all together periodically.  I would like for my students to continue to perform in public and become confident in their performing abilities.

I’m always aspiring to learn more as a player myself so that I continually have more to share.  Teaching can become stale if the teacher isn’t also continuing to grow.  Ultimately, I love to teach people of all ages; my oldest student is now 83. I also love to connect with players and teachers of all levels.  I want to continue learning from my new Suzuki colleagues and students, and ultimately begin to teach other teachers to teach Suzuki for trumpet…and all of the the brass instruments!

SC: Thanks so much, Natalie, for your time! 

 

 

 

 

 

No tags for this post.

Suzuki Trumpet Training, Part I

Ann-Marie Sundberg, the only Suzuki trumpet teacher-trainer in the world

Ann-Marie Sundberg, the only Suzuki trumpet teacher-trainer in the world

I just got back from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Mount Royal University was hosting the very first Suzuki Trumpet Teacher Training ever given in North America. I was one of ten students in the course, and the teacher was the only teacher trainer in the world: Ann-Marie Sundberg of Sweden.

I knew a little about Suzuki music education, because my two children have both developed in Suzuki studios (violin and flute). I have been impressed for years by their early start, rapid progress and confidence as young instrumentalists. Compared to my education as a trumpeter, they are much better technically, they have a far greater and more serious repertoire, and their ears are more refined than I was at their age.

Swedish Suzuki Trumpet Class

Swedish Suzuki Trumpet Class

I read about Ms. Sundberg’s Suzuki teaching and  teacher training a few years ago, and I eventually wrote to her asking how I could  learn how to teach Suzuki trumpet. She wrote back, saying that I would have to fly to Sweden three times in one year in order get the certification. As much as I would like to visit Sweden that many times, I realized it would be quite an expensive undertaking. I put it off that year.

Natalie DeJong teaching Suzuki trumpet at Mount Royal University

Natalie DeJong teaching Suzuki trumpet at Mount Royal University

Fortunately, one of her students, Natalie DeJong, who is on the faculty of Mount Royal University, arranged to have Ms. Sundberg come to Calgary in Alberta, Canada last August (2016) to give an eight-day seminar to do the entire training for the first unit (training to teach the first book of Suzuki trumpet). So, when I heard about this possibility, I signed up right away.

 

Shinichi Suzuki leads a violin group class of children in the United States (date unknown)

Shinichi Suzuki leads a violin group class of children in the United States (date unknown)

On the day before the trumpet training, I took the required all-day prerequisite course called Every Child Can. I formally learned about the general history and philosophy of the Suzuki school, named after the founder, the Japanese violinist, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, whose revelation came when he realized that “all Japanese children speak Japanese.” In other words, all children learn effortlessly how to speak their own language regardless how difficult that language is. He applied this language learning process to music learning. But perhaps the most important take away from learning about the Suzuki philosophy is that it is not primarily for teaching children how to be better musicians, but it is a way to nurture them to become “fine and noble human beings.” That is a concept I can truly believe in, and I am really excited about teaching students of my own very soon. 

Next: Suzuki Trumpet Training, Part II 

No tags for this post.