WHIRLWIND BRASS TRIO     Matt Lee, Trumpet     Mary Buscanics-Jones, Horn   
Reed Capshaw, Trombone


 Program description

The Whirlwind Brass Trio program begins with a fanfare and continues with a diverse mixture of music. The concert includes classical selections, jazz, pop, show tunes and well-known pieces that the students recognize.  Various activities and questions about the music and the brass instruments engage the audience during the entire concert.  The general techniques used to play all of the instruments of the brass family are explained and demonstrated.  In addition, each member of the trio shares detailed information about their instrument and performs a solo that showcases the special characteristics of the instrument.  Each piece of music performed during the concert contains basic musical concepts and the introduction preceding each piece teaches those elements of music.  The directed listening and questions after each piece reinforce audience participation and comprehension.  The energy and excitement of a Whirlwind Brass Trio concert are contagious and audiences leave the concert inspired to learn more.


  • Slide
  • Valves
  • Air
  • Mouthpiece
  • Buzz
  • Brass instruments 
  • Bugle
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Leadpipe
  • Bell
  • French horn
  • Solo 
  • Trio
  • Fanfare 
  • Composer 
  • Pulse 
  • Rhythm 
  • Melody 
  • Opera


  • Fanfare from Tannhauser by Richard Wagner
  • Excerpt from A Philharmonic Fanfare by Eric Ewazen
  • Sesame Street
  • William Tell Overture by Rossini
  • Movement from Trio for Brass by Vaclav Nehybel
  • Movement from Sonata by Francis Poulenc
  • Latin Trumpet Piece by Matt Lee
  • Little Bugle Piece by Matt Lee
  • Trio Mexican by Matt Lee
  • Hornpipe by David Lyon
  • Suite in D Major by G.F. Handel
  • When the Saints Come Marching In
  • The Entertainer by Scott Joplin
  • America the Beautiful
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb
  • Radetsky March by Johann Strauss
  • Ode to Joy by Beethoven
  • Lindo
  • I’m getting Sentimental
  • Le Basque
  • America, from West Side Story
  • Christmas Carols (When concerts occur in December)


Q:  What is a Brass Trio?
A:   A group of three people playing brass instruments.

Q: Name some other musical ensembles.
A:  Duo, Quartet, Quintet

Q:  What are brass instruments?
A:  Instruments which are made of brass and require a metal mouthpiece to produce sound.

Q:  What are the three things needed to produce sound on a brass instrument?
A:   Air, Buzz and the Mouthpiece.

Q:   Do you have to blow really hard to get a sound on a brass instrument?
A:    It takes a lot of air to play a brass instrument, but the player sends the air through the instrument not against it.  It is different than blowing up a balloon and more like normal breathing.

Q:   Does it hurt their mouth to play the horn?
A:    No, the mouthpiece has a smooth edge and is made to send the buzz through the instrument.

Q:   Is it possible to play a song on just the mouthpiece?
A:    Yes. The player can play songs when he vibrates his lips and creates that buzzing sound. 

Q:   Why are the brass instruments so loud?
A:    The flared, end part of the instrument, called the bell, amplifies the sound, just like a stereo speaker.  Also, brass players practice to learn to make a clear beautiful sound which can carry over long distances.

Q:  How is the Trombone different than the Trumpet and the French Horn? 
A:   It has a slide instead of valves

Q:  What are Valves?
A:   The keys or buttons that attach to various pieces of tubing on the instrument.  They make it possible to play different pitches on the instrument.

Q:  What is a natural horn?
A:   An old type of brass instrument that had no valves and could only play a few notes.  It was used for hunting.

Q:    What is a Bugle?
A:     A brass instrument that has no valves and only plays a few notes.  It is still used in the military to play music with a message like “time to get up”.

Q:    When an instrument is shorter will the pitch be lower or higher?
A:     Higher

Q:   When an instrument is longer will the pitch be higher or lower?

Q:    Which plays lower notes, a Trumpet or a Trombone?
A:      The Trombone because it is longer.

Q:   Is it hard work to play a brass instrument?
A:    No, you can learn to make a sound and play simple songs in a few lessons.

Q:   What is a composer?
A:    A person who writes music.

Q:   What is a Fanfare?
A:    A short, dramatic piece of music often used to announce an important arrival or start. 

Q:   What does SOLO mean?
A:    That is when an instrument is featured playing the main melody part.


Encourage your students to send us pictures and letters about their concert experience.  Here are some suggested topics: 

  • I was surprised that.....

  • Here is a picture of the concert

  • Playing a brass instruments is...

  • When I remember the concert I feel...

  • The concert made me think of...


Please send artwork / essays / evaluations to:          

International Music Foundation
Maria Valdes-Vargas
30 E. Adams Street, Suite 1206
Chicago, IL   60603 

11 E. Adams St., Suite 350-B
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312/670-6888
Fax: 312/670-9166