In-Depth Blog Post #5

Wow, upon starting this post, I’ve just realized how far I’ve come in terms of my In-Depth. My mentor, Mr. Kwong has helped guide me along with journey, and I’ve been having fun the entire way through. Even though we’re all stuck at home because of the current situation outside, my mentor and I are still continuing to meet through teams video calls every week. It would be better if we could meet in person, but this is the best we can do for now. I’m still continuing to practice nearly every day due to the large amounts of free time I have.

I’ve also thought of a new, very exciting project that I have yet to talk to my mentor about. I’ve chosen a new song to learn and I’m really excited to get started on it. I’m not going to reveal what song I’m trying to learn just yet, and you don’t get any points for guessing correctly. But it’s a song that I really enjoy listening to as it’s catchy and has a very happy vibe to it. It always gets me in a good mood whenever I listen to it.

But so far, I have been working on developing a better quality sound with the help of my mentor. Playing a sound that’s nice to listen to is actually a lot of hard work. There are a lot of factors that come into play. You need a nice and sturdy embouchure that won’t give out, as well as a good balance of air compression and air speed to produce a high note that doesn’t end up screeching in your ear. My mentor has also taught me a few more warm up techniques that are actually very beneficial to my practices. If you want to take a look at one of them, you can listen to the recording for April 4th.

We only have 2 recordings this time, since it has only been 2 weeks since the last blog post. But unfortunately, I’m not playing any music in either one. The first displays a new warm up technique that I learned, and the second is just a clip of trumpet maintenance. I really don’t have any new music to show apart from the one that I’m trying to keep a secret for now, so I hope you aren’t too disappointed. But if you are, I promise that the next blog post will actually have me playing music!


April 4

April 11

1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

My mentor actually provides me with a ton a different resources for me to use during my own practice time so that I continue to have a general idea of what my goal is even without him there. So for example, he has recommended many professional trumpet players to listen to while practicing so that I know what kind of sound to strive for. If I have no idea what kind of sound is needed or ideal, then I won’t really have any goals to achieve. He has also been so kind as to provide me with a beginner band book or the trumpet. It’s been a huge help when developing technique as it contains a few simple tunes to play, as well as many technical exercises to practice with.

2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

There are a lot of very good trumpet tutorials out there that are made by professional trumpet players. But, many players have different ways of teaching and can help me to further understand the different techniques for trumpet playing.

3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

Especially during our current situation, I think what would really help to accelerate my learning is some live trumpet playing that I can base my playing off of. Currently, the only playing that I can base my own playing on are all recordings of people playing trumpet. However, this is not actually the same as listening to a live trumpet. There may be background noise, static, or bad microphones that may change and alter the sound of the trumpet, so the pure sound of an unaltered trumpet would be quite beneficial for me at the moment.

4. When you get together what do you talk about?

Whenever I meet with my mentor, we simply start each meeting by catching up with each other and discussing our weeks with one another. We talk about how our families are doing during the quarantine, and we share short stories from our week. After catching up with each other, we get started with the mentorship. He usually just asks me what I want to practice, and we end up focusing on that. Whether that is reaching higher notes, developing better technique, or simply playing a bit of music, we simply discuss whatever topic I choose to develop.

5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

One aspect of our relationship that I particularly value is how easy it is for us to talk casually to one another. When he isn’t teaching me, we usually tend to have a lot of simple small talk whether it’s about our families, or our experiences, or even just about music. I’ve come to really enjoy and appreciate the friendly atmosphere we have between each other where we are able to talk so easy about the most irrelevant topics whenever he isn’t teaching.

6. What are you learning about one another?

I’ve actually learnt quite a bit about him as we tend to have a lot of discussions together. We often talk about our families with one another as I have come to learn quite a bit about his family through our many discussions. He also personally knows my sister since he is her music teacher at her school. So in general, I’ve been able to get to know him at a very personal level.


Overall, I’ve been having a ton of fun with this project. Learning the trumpet has been such a new experience for me and now that I’m able to learn a few of the songs I’ve wanted to learn from the beginning, I’m really happy that I chose this for my In depth. But of course, this wouldn’t be same without Mr. Kwong who has been so kind, patient, and a good mentor to me and I really want to thank him for all of the time he spent mentoring me. So, a huge thanks to my mentor for being an amazing person. I know this isn’t quite over yet, but I feel the end slowly approaching, so it’s time to make the best of the remaining time I have left.

~ MJ


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