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54
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

Back in 2015, I went on my first Kinetika Bloco junior summer school. This was the first time that Bloco had run a summer school for children ages 10-14 (now ages 9-13). I had such an amazing time there and that was when I first met trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey. Sheila was so friendly and supportive and really helped me feel more confident as a jazz player seeing as I had never played that style before. This even led to me starting to do grades in jazz on my trumpet. I enjoyed these so much more than I’d enjoyed the traditional grades and felt like they were much more my style. In Y7, I took my grade 5 jazz exam and since that first Bloco course I have enjoyed jazz and carnival style music more and more. I have taken part in two more junior summer schools as well as the senior one for the first time last year (here’s the link to sign up for this year).

Bloco has given me so many opportunities that I would never have had otherwise; I’ve been to Norway and played for the Norwegian royal family, performed for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in front of Buckingham Palace, participated in Notting Hill Carnival, played at the London Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scott’s and supported Hot 8 Brass Band at the Roundhouse.

As well as all the musical opportunities, Bloco has been a great way for me to meet lots of different people, make friends and has introduced me to the possibility of pursuing a career in arts management. Once I’ve turned 15, I’d like to join the Kinetika Bloco leadership programme which will be a good starting point for the path I am hoping to go down – I’m planning to be involved with Bloco for at least the next few years!

A couple of months ago I applied to represent Bloco on tour to New Orleans later this year and have recently heard that I’m lucky enough to be one of those selected! Visiting the birthplace of jazz will be amazing; we’ll be taking part in workshops, meeting musicians and performing our own style of music there. My school has authorised the time off for this opportunity of a lifetime so all I need to do now is raise £300 towards the cost. I’m currently saving the money I am paid for teaching trumpet to a couple of local children as well as earning money from babysitting but would welcome extra donations from followers of my blog. If you are able to spare £1, please send it my way using this PayPal link: https://www.paypal.me/hattieKBtoNOLA Donations can also be made on Kinetika Bloco’s Local Giving page – please put ‘Hattie’ in the comments.

If donating isn’t your thing, I’d be really grateful if you’d share this post to help spread the word.

Thank you for your support!
Check out this video produced by Kinetika Bloco

I’m on Twitter as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  

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53
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

It feels like ages ago now but at the beginning of the summer holidays I was kindly sent a unique product to review; the ERGObrass Trumpet Support. It was brilliant timing because my teacher had set me the challenge of improving my trumpet hold over the summer. I have been testing this over the past couple of months and am pleased to say I have noticed a big improvement in my posture and the height at which I hold my trumpet.

ERGObrass is designed to help with playing posture by taking the weight off the player to make it easier to sustain a comfortable and upright posture. It distributes the weight through the support rod, to whatever surface it is resting on i.e. chair or floor. The product comes with a belt pocket which slides onto a regular belt and means the ERGObrass support rod can rest in that e.g. for playing whilst standing up. This is a particularly useful feature and I can imagine some marching band players might like the idea of having the weight of their trumpet supported during long parades!

My first impression of the ERGObrass was that the bit that fixes to the trumpet looked neat and that the whole product was less bulky than I had expected. It was a bit fiddly to fit to my trumpet and I would have found it useful to have some clear instructions in the packet as we did it by trial and error*. Once it was on my trumpet, it felt secure and I like that the attachment wasn’t too obvious. When I first fitted the support rod, I found it was too long and actually made me lean my head backwards to reach my mouthpiece! Luckily, my email to Jouko was replied to very quickly with the advice that I should use a hacksaw to trim the support rod to a suitable length. My dad did this for me and I’ve been using the ERGObrass since then for practices. I haven’t trimmed the plastic ties because I want to be able to swap it to my cornet sometimes. I found I prefer using it whilst sitting down so rest the support rod on a chair. Doing this consistently has definitely helped me to play for longer without my arms aching from the weight of my trumpet. I think it has also made a difference to the amount of pressure my lips now put on the mouthpiece and helped improve my embouchure.

The customer service I received from Jouko was excellent; he replied to queries quickly and with helpful responses and he also provided me with links to research and demonstration videos so I could find out more about how ERGObrass works. Thanks Jouko! I think including written instructions with the product would make it even better but I would definitely recommend the ERGObrass to players wanting to improve their posture and to children learning brass instruments.

*Somehow I missed seeing the useful unboxing video on the ERGObrass YouTube channel! https://youtu.be/mGH5Z89wnXs

 

ERGObrass provided me with the trumpet support free of charge, in return for a review.

I’m on Twitter as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  

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52
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

In August I took part in Kinetika Bloco’s senior summer school. I have previously joined in with their junior scheme but after going to Norway a few months ago, I was keen to join the main Bloco. I’m really glad I did…

On the August Bank Holiday, we played at Notting Hill Carnival. Although it was an incredibly rainy day, that did not prevent us from thoroughly enjoying it. The Bloco tagline this year is #firstinline and we stayed true to that by opening the parade. There was a great atmosphere and everyone looked amazing in their green and purple costumes. We paraded around the streets of London for around 4 hours playing music, dancing around… and getting wet! Luckily, umbrellas are part of the Bloco costumes, not for the trumpeters though.

Bloco is also trying to raise funds so that we can visit New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. I’m really hoping we raise the funds as I would love to go. Please check out this video and share it.

KB to NOLA: Help Kinetika Bloco get to New Orleans - YouTube

I’m on Twitter as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  

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51
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

At the beginning of August, my aunt and uncle got married and asked me to play for them. So I did! On their big day I performed on the grand staircase of Barnett Hill Hotel near Guildford. As guests arrived for the wedding breakfast, I performed a jazz set that I’d put together. Amongst others, the set included Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra, Georgia on my Mind by Ray Charles and Autumn Leaves (transcribed by me after my uncle got me a ticket to see Alison Balsom perform at the Albert Hall, where he works). The final piece that I played was a piece that they had especially requested – A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman.

It was an amazing day and I had so much fun playing for them!

I’m on Twitter as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  

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50
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

This is another post that’s mainly images (taken by my mum). This time, from Make Music Day on 21st June, I was playing with Kinetika Bloco… but we joined up with Voodoo Brass and the Unswung Heroes along the way. Think Pitch Perfect meets meets Brassed Off. Sort of.

There are some audio clips on my Twitter and Instagram feeds. I’m on Twitter as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  

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49
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

On Sunday 10th June I was one of approximately 70 people in the all-female brass band for Processions 2018, a piece of living art to celebrate 100 years since women got the vote. I heard about it through my trumpet teacher and went along to be conducted by Jo Hensell. It was a scorching day and we played a number of pieces by female composers, including Lucy Pankhurst who performed in the band.

Photos below are by Sam Benjafield Photography.

There are a few clips on Twitter, I’m on there as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  

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48
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

This time last month, I travelled to Oslo, Norway with Kinetika Bloco to play with the band of Grunerlökka School.

As well as spending lots of time rehearsing with the school band and practising marching, we spent some time sightseeing, including visiting the opera house (where we walked on the roof!) and trying out Norwegian sweets and ice cream.

We were in Oslo to play in the children’s parade which celebrates Norwegian Constitution Day. We paraded along the streets of Oslo for around five hours, playing for the majority of the time and all the way up to the palace where the royal family was stood. It was a boiling hot day and, because we were wearing hoodies so we matched the traditional outfits being worn by the Grunerlökka students, it felt even hotter!

Thank you to Tamzyn, Claude, Sheila and all the Kinetika Bloco tutors that came with us and gave us such a good time, to the students and staff at Grunerlökka School for being so welcoming, and to my school for letting me have time off. The trip was a lot of fun and I’d love to do it again.P

I’m on Twitter as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  

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47
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

 

I was up really early this time last week and on a bus by 5:30am, headed for Pimlico to meet the rest of Kinetika Bloco. Once we were all kitted out in our costumes, we travelled to St James Park where we prepared to perform for the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

It was the hottest day of the year so far but an amazing experience to perform on the Mall. Next time I’m back with Kinetika, we’ll be on a plane!

I’m on Twitter as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  
 

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46
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

This post isn’t about my trumpet, it’s about my cornet! I didn’t actually have a cornet until a few weeks ago but because I’d signed up for the Southern Counties Youth Band (SCYB) Easter course, I needed one.

Playing in a brass band isn’t something I’ve ever done before so I was a bit nervous. However, I needn’t have worried as I had a great time! The cornet section was very friendly and it didn’t take me long to make friends in the back row (we were even awarded section of the week in the concert!). We rehearsed for about seven hours a day under Ian Porthouse and in the evenings, took part in film nights, a quiz or just socialised.

The overall experience was amazing and I’m hoping to join SCYB in September. I’ve discovered I prefer playing in brass bands to orchestras…
 

Thank you to all the tutors who gave up their time to make the course possible, and especially to Alex for organising it. Thanks also to Ian Porthouse for conducting us so amazingly, to Joseph for telling me about SCYB (click here to listen to his amazing solo), and to SCABA for subsidising the week.

I’m on Twitter as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  

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45
My trumpet & me by Hattie Trumpet - 1M ago

It’s Mother’s Day and I was back at Blackheath Conservatoire to perform in the family jazz session. I played James Rae’s Situation Comedy with Joe Thompson, Charlie Pyne and Mark Ridout. Listen to the video, I would love to know what you think…

Family Jazz at Blackheath Conservatoire, March 2018 - YouTube

I’m on Twitter as @mytrumpetandme. Click on the icon to follow me on Instagram.  

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