With the recent federal announcement of the three phases to opening up the American economy, all of us in the music community are eager to get ensembles performing again, and to help new music learners as well. It might be time to think outside the box – or maybe just OUTSIDE.
pInstruments are an ideal way to make things happen. Current musicians "who stay at home" can keep up on their musical prowess with a second or third affordable instrument. Trumpet players would love to try a pCornet. Trombone players of course want pBone too. Younger siblings can learn to buzz with pBuzz. Woodwind players already know how to move air, learning a pInstrument would be easy for them. Many band students have had their instrument locked away at school, and won't have access to them until school starts in the fall. This is potentially catastrophic for some school programs! pBone and pTrumpet 2.0 at home is a great fix for this.
Consider those who have always wanted to learn to play. pBone is a great choice and our informal notation (brass tabs) makes it even easier. Even those who “used to play” in high school can re-learn simple tunes. They may even want to take some online lessons.
That’s why we suggest “pBone Places in Outdoor Spaces”.
pBone Circles (or pTrumpet circles) are a great learning tool that can easily be taken outside and played by amateurs. Social distancing is essential for both good health and great for trombone learning. In Phase One of the Gating Criteria, limitations to ten people in a gathering tells us small ensembles are permissible. Every pBone, pTrumpet and pCornet comes with two mouthpieces so cleanliness is easier between sessions.
First demonstrated at the NAMM show in 2014, the pBone circle program takes about an hour and works well with both children and adults. The complete program includes warm-up activities, call and response and other preparatory steps. Of course, you will have your own comfort level and teaching style.
As your area enters Phase Two, social settings of up to fifty people and non-essential travel are permitted. Invite groups to come together (as long as they are feeling well and healthy). Your smaller pBone programs are a great feeder for this larger feel-good event. Schools and organized youth actives can resume, so resume!
Be your community's music leader! Start just outside your school, move to a park and then to other public spots. Promote getting out with a nod to social distancing. Bring a few “ringers” to get things started. Invite the press to show how music strengthens community even under current guidelines. Your music store can help as well. More importantly, you’ll be encouraging more people to take the next step on their great musical journeys.
Be sure to follow your local guidance in all cases, but be ready to lead your community back to music!