Welcome to the Irish Trumpet Song Challenge


First Things First…

PLEASE check your email. Within minutes you will receive a message asking you to confirm your admission to The Challenge by clicking a ‘Subscribe’ button. I’ll be scheduling some live streams and recorded videos to help you through your song, but I can’t let you know about them if you don’t click that button.

Steps to ‘The Challenge’

Very simply (perhaps deceivingly simply, for some…) there are 3 steps to the challenge:

  1. Select a song and download your sheet music.
  2. Practice!
    • Notes and Rhythm
    • Musical Expression
  3. Perform your song on or before St. Patrick’s Day

Simple enough? Let’s get started!

Here are two versions of two popular, traditional Irish songs. They’re listed in order of difficulty for most beginning and developing trumpet players.


More Challenging(?):

  •   Molly Malone-Low (right click to download) – a basic version, easy rhythm. If you can play notes from low A to G in the staff, you can play this.
  •   Molly Malone – dotted quarters (right click to download) – range up to D, and several dotted quarter note rhythms.
  •   Danny_Boy (low) (right click to download) – just a bit longer than Molly; easy key with range up to 4th space E.
  •   Danny_Boy_(in_Eb) (right click to download) – This one has 3 flats and goes up to G on top of the staff.

You’ll likely recognize both melodies, but perhaps not if you’re younger or have had little exposure to Irish culture – and BTW, if that’s you, you really need this challenge! 😉

Whether you know the songs or not, I suggest going to your favorite online music-finding source (YouTube, Spotify, Pandora…) and listen to 2-3 different artists performing your selected song.

Step 2: Practice

In general, the following order will be helpful:

I’ll be broadcasting tips live on YouTube and Facebook, and posting archives of those videos here. Watch your email for announcements!

Step 3: Perform on St. Patrick’s Day

This is the fun part! You performance may be:

  • public, like in the video below
  • a ‘virtual’ performance on YouTube
  • something private for family or friends
  • just for the art on your walls or the stuffed animals in your room.

You get the idea. Just get the song to the best of your ability, and then you’re in the spotlight! Any time on or before St. Patrick’s Day is just fine!

I’ll also provide ways for you to share your performance with fellow trumpet players who also took this Irish Trumpet Music Challenge!

More on this to come…

Below is a presentation with tips for playing correct rhythms on your selected song. It’s also my first attempt on the Facebook Live platform and an example of a ‘no-apologies performance.

Prior to going live on Facebook I had reviewed the process, learned a new 3rd party ‘assisting’ software, prepared my content…. I felt prepared but still nervous about giving a live presentation on a new platform. Right before going live I moved a stand and unknowingly hit an outlet that unplugged my microphone. Yes, I broadcast with no audio for nearly 10 minutes!

Disaster, right? I closed the broadcast, reset some hardware and software… fast forward about 10 minutes I was back in my live presentation – but with zero confidence. My viewers had vanished. My mental preparation was gone, and I stumbled through the presentation. As you’ll see below, it was rough to say the least.

First thing I wanted to do was delete the video from FB, redo it offline and repost a more polished version of it. I was also going to follow up with an apology email to all the Challengers when it hit me that this is a perfect example of how performances sometimes go. Whether on the trumpet or on a live FB broadcast, things don’t always go as we’d like, but the correct response is not to apologize, delete, go run and hide… No, the right response is pick yourself up, recognize you can do better, and prepare for next time.

So I recommend forwarding through the first several minutes of the video and so straight to the part that’s relevant to your song. Practice the rhythm ‘square’ at first, and then we’ll look at possibly changing up things in your phrasing.

After you’ve gotten comfortable playing the correct notes and rhythm, it’s time to turn that into real music!

If you couldn’t catch the live broadcast on Facebook you may view the replay below. Fast-forwarding or skipping to relevant parts is just fine.
The presentation shows techniques such as dynamic contrast, varied pacing, grace notes, and adding space within and/or between phrases in order to create real music.


Final Performances!

Now it’s time to gather your audience (family, friends, pets…) turn on the spotlight, hit that ‘record’ button if that applies, and play your heart out!

A big congratulations to everyone who made it to this point. If you’ve recorded your performance and would like to share it, please send me a link and I’ll post it here to celebrate your accomplishment.

Here’s the final live broadcast of the Challenge: