Thanks to the Houston Symphony, the Parish students had the opportunity to play real brass instruments (trumpet, trombone, and French horn) to our story, Root-A-Toot-Toot by Bernice Myers. After explaining how to pucker lips to create the embrasure and to blow into the mouthpiece, students picked a character and the associated instrument: bear with trumpet, fox with drum, skunk with trombone, and raccoon with French horn. In the story, the raccoon plays a tuba and I substituted with a French horn because that is what I had. With only four characters in the book, the other half of the class were the forest animals who said “too loud” and “play louder” in response to the musicians. We read the story two or three times to ensure each student had a chance to take turns to try out the instruments.
All the students enjoyed trying out the new instruments, working their lips around the mouthpiece, figuring out how to hold the instrument, and playing with such perseverance through bigger and bigger breaths to try to make a sound. It was a challenge for some students to control their lips and place it within the mouthpiece or to figure out how to control their breathing and support it while blowing out. After trial and error, many students face lit up when they realized they figured out to produce a sound. Success! Thank you to the Houston Symphony for letting us borrow their Instrument Petting Zoo!