Walking down West 130th Street near St. Nicholas Park, one can hear the sound of music coming from the windows of PS 129, where the students of the Harmony Program rehearse every afternoon. On Wednesday, melodies echoed off the concrete and bricks outside as Julie Desbordes’s trumpet class polished up an arrangement of Moussorgsky’s Great Gate of Kiev, which they’ll perform later this spring.
These young musicians were kind enough to take a moment out of their rehearsal to talk about their experiences playing music.
Of all the instruments in the orchestra, why choose the trumpet?
Raphael: I picked the trumpet because I liked how it sounded. It can make all different kinds of sounds.
Julio: I started playing the trumpet to continue what my mom started. She played the trumpet when she was little and I wanted to play also.
What is the most important thing to know about playing the trumpet?
Jordan: There are two important things: contact and air.
Julio: Some people think it’s just air to play the trumpet, but you need both.
Jordan: Yea, but you have to make contact with the lips, like a buzzing sound, and then the air. That’s how you play the trumpet.
Tell me a little bit about your teacher, Miss Julie. Is she a good trumpet player?
Julio: Oh man, she’s good. She’s extremely good.
Johann: Yea, she should teach teachers — that’s how good she is.
Raphael: And she can play high and fast!
Bryan: She can teach us every day. That’s how I know she’s good.
You all come here every day. That’s a lot of work. Is it hard?
Bryan: Nope. I love it.
Jenifer, you’re the one beginner in the group, how do you like it so far?
Jenifer: I like it a lot. My dad played the trumpet when he lived in another country, and now he plays the piano. We play together sometimes and he helps me practice.
Do all of you play at home with your families?
Raphael: They like to listen to me, especially my little sister.
Julio: I have two little sisters, and the youngest likes to take my trumpet from me when I’m playing. My guess is that she’ll be a trumpet player one day soon.
Bryan: My baby brother likes to sit in my trumpet case because it’s so soft.
Any advice to other kids who are just beginning to play music?
Jordan: If you want to play an instrument, play the trumpet!
Thanks to Miss Julie and the students!