A young Iowa musician is displaying quite a talent, the ability to hold a note for minutes at a time. Even more amazing, considering she just started playing the trumpet three months ago.
Learning something new is never easy. "When we're fifth-graders, we're not supposed to sound like the Omaha Symphony, we're supposed to sound like fifth-graders," said Boyer Valley Fifth-Grade Band director Dennis Fett. We all want to rush success and it's no different for the band at the Dow City school. "Circular breathing is a technique that musicians play." This lesson is usually reserved for the big boys, holding a note while breathing through your nose. "I've never seen this with a young kid," said Fett. Megan Mitchell picked up the trumpet just three months ago. "Let the air escape out while you're breathing in," said Fett. And without any prompting, she kept it going, a concert B-flat. For how long? "Coming up to one-and-a-half minutes." Playing so long that it wasn't her lungs or squirrel-like cheeks that gave way, but her arms. "It's unheard of to have kids do that," said Fett. Not bad for the 10-year-old nicknamed "Puffy" by band mates.
Can she explain what she does? "I don't know what I do," said Megan. Sometimes it's hard to describe what comes naturally. "She's just a babe in the music world," said Fett. "She's only 13 weeks into playing the trumpet. Now, how to translate that into being a legitimate player and not a circus act." Megan was ready to do it all over again. "Five minutes and probably three seconds."
A couple of times it seemed as if the note stopped when Megan was playing. That's when she switched from the air in her cheeks to the air in her lungs. It's unavoidable. Professionals who use circular breath usually switch notes to mask the bumps.