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Music review: Join the Band (Phil Storer)

Phil Storer Music/Brimpsfield Music Society/Gloucestershire Academy of Music
Price: Free download


This brand-new trumpet eBook comes from Phil Storer, a performer and teacher with over 25 years’ experience with the aim of providing “…all students with a series of graduated musical experiences, rather than just exercises.” 

Aimed at young players (who should find it fun and easy follow) it is offered as a free download and consists of 34 pages of music, all of which have embedded hyperlinks direct to recorded backings on Phil’s Soundcloud page. 

His own ‘band’ is made up of bass guitar (Saffron Young), keyboard (James Agg), drums (Ian Evans) and Phil himself on trumpet – and the strong emphasis on fun and enjoyment comes through on each page.

Simple and effective

The titles speak for themselves – from  ‘The Buzz Zone’  on general tips and approaches, through to  ‘American Medley’  and even  ‘Captain Tom’ – a tribute to the remarkable Captain Tom Moore.

It’s aided by a simple and effective layout.  The click links to the recordings are easy to use andresult in a smooth delivery to each backing track (streamed from the internet). It’s much easier than a CD!

To its credit the book doesn’t attempt to teach any music theory, although there are several helpful summary pages at the back. The main bulk focuses purely on the performance of each piece, with the occasional question or quiz to encourage further learning. 

To its credit the book doesn’t attempt to teach any music theory, although there are several helpful summary pages at the back. The main bulk focuses purely on the performance of each piece, with the occasional question or quiz to encourage further learning. 

There is also a variety of styles and genres on offer, from Beethoven and Haydn to national folk songs and big band swing. The pace of progress through the book is just about spot-on – something which you would expect from such an experienced educationalist.

The book has also been designed as a scheme of work for students involved with Whole Class Ensemble Tuition (WCET) or just playing with their friends.

There really is something for everyone.

Strength

The publication’s strength though is the “series of musical experiences” mentioned in the preface. Right from the first stave (a piece called  ‘E E Easy’  using only one note – I’ll let you guess which one) the emphasis is on the student. 

The motivation to make this book available for free to anyone is admirable, and everyone should be congratulated for their efforts in bringing it to fruition. 

Listen to the example track with just a simple click and, when you’ve practiced (with the track or without) click the ‘JTB’ button enabling you to immediately ‘Join The Band’. 

Because the tracks are all recorded by real musicians, there is an immediate sense of community which can really spur a young player on. 

Admirable

Each JTB track is rhythmic and catchy, including Beethoven’s  ‘Ode to Joy’  as a cha-cha and a reggae version of  ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’. It adds to the sense of progression all the way to  ‘Our First Concert’  which features an ambitious whole page performance.

The motivation to make this book available for free to anyone is admirable, and everyone should be congratulated for their efforts in bringing it to fruition. 

All that and it is also a fantastically fun introduction to the trumpet which should engender a great deal of musical enthusiasm.

Philip Harper

To download for free: https://www.gbba-online.org.uk/jointheband

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