Learning about the Trumpet and the Horn in music class

Here are a few music lesson plan ideas to help you when you are next planning a lesson about brass instruments.

Make a rudimentary brass instrument. You will need plastic beverage bottles (e.g. two-liter soda bottles) and sharp scissors or utility knife. Turn the bottle over and cut off the bottom so it is completely open Try to get different tones by Buzzing your lips into the neck of the bottle Experiment with different sizes and shapes of bottles. Use the cut-off bottom of the bottle as a “wah wah mute” like trumpeters use plungers or hats.

Measure things in “trumpets” and “horns.” An uncoiled trumpet would stretch about 6 feet or 1.8 meters. An uncoiled horn would stretch about 12 feet or 3.6 meters. Cut lengths of string into these dimensions and give them to groups of students. Invite students to measure things in the classroom using their strings. For example, the back wall of the classroom might be 1.5 horns long and the chalkboard might be 2 trumpets long. Smaller things could be measured by folding the strings e.g. if you have to fold the trumpet string three times to measure a desk, then the desk is 1/3 the size of a trumpet (Obviously, some estimation and rounding will be necessary for this exercise.) Students could even measure their bedrooms, hallways, cars etc for homework. This activity will focus students on the amount of tubing within the relatively compact brass instruments.

Recommended listening:A good piece featuring the trumpet and horn is:Bartók, Concerto for Orchestra, II. Giuoco delle coppie (Game of Pairs)