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Once more into the breach , dear friends....

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Another Merit Badge Day done and wrapped up. Actually two days:  this Council plans a first  day in January, and the second in February.  It is a nice idea, the Scout gets to meet the MBCouncilor, then some time to complete things (if they are not "ready" the first time). 

I do Bugling, I guess I have a  rep, because I keep getting invited back.

Covid protocol,  lots of space. Alcohol rubs on everything. 

First saturday:  Advanced registration shows ten Scouts,  five in the morning,  five in the afternoon sessions.  Pre-requisites posted on line, obvious in the registration page.  Pre-reqs include "Bugle not included, bring your own horn. Yes, you are expected to have READ the MBBook or online requirements...etc."

Day One, morning....  four boy Scouts. One no show.  three horns, (one Mellophone ! one trumpet, one Bugle), one no horn.  "Pre requisites? What are they?" Everyone can make noise, only two can make "notes" . We teach/learn history, physics/philosophy of music. What is SOUND? What is the difference between SOUND, NOISE, MUSIC?  We play with my garden hose Bugle (five feet of hose,  funnel bell, yes you can make the calls on it !).  Wynton Marsalis?  Dizzy Gillespie? No horn says he is in his school band, but can't bring his school trumpet to the MBDay.... I give lots of encouragement, lots of attaboys,  In music, you are learning a foreign language !   On to lunch....  I visit with other MBCouncilors, give some personal experience to the Disabilities MB class (dad had only one arm. Try tying your shoe laces one handed, as I learned to!).

Day one, afternoon:  three boy Scouts, one girl Scout, one no show .  two trumpets, one Bugle. Girl has none, said she "used to " play french horn.  No one can really make notes, lots of "sound".  Even trumpets can't play all five (or six?) notes needed for the calls. Encouragement. You have good sound, tone, need PRACTICE....  We teach/learn/discuss history/physics/philosophy of music.  I even see some "aha ! " in some eyes, not just  "how do I get this card signed?" No, no one ever says that exactly...  Garden Hose Bugle gets some smiles, especially from the girl, who really seems tired and depressed.  Garden Hose Bugle is, I tell them, the start of a middle school science fair project on Sound and Acoustics .  School band will take them places others won't get to see (much like Scouting?). 

A month passes. I send out one email (properly copied, YPT!) to their registered emails as reminders.....

Day two, morning.  Two trumpets, previous no horn brings a Bugle ! New (used).  three out of five... Melophone is missing...  both trumpets can play, progress has been made. Bugle hasn't even tried it, he says, since his dad (!) bought it for him. He makes noises and eventually thru the two hours gains three notes ( the middle ones). Trumpet 1 is good, He has been practicing. He plays the charts well, and while he does the Call to the Colors, I sign off on his Blue Card, much to his surprise. Trumpet 2 does much better, but still can't quite do both tone and tempo. A little more practice, I tell him. They all have my contact info, I have access to a ZOOM account, phone, meet somewhere in the church parking lot, I will listen when they are ready.  Bugle is eager (seemingly), but ya got five/six notes to play and a certain tempo/rhythm to attain.  Ya got good tone, work on the details !  Off to lunch.

Day two, afternoon.   One boy Scout , one girl Scout.  (note the original sign ups)    Girl has a new Bugle ! Unfortunately, it is a "Cavalry" bugle a small one.  The calls can be done with it, but the technique is challenging , more so than with a F Bugle or Trumpet.  She makes sound, and begins to differentiate the tones, the "flips" between the notes. In our two hours she makes good progress and is smiling at the end. Boy has his trumpet again.  He has some progress , but again, those high and low ends of the Bugle scale are lacking. By the end of our two hours,  he is much better, but still not really able to play the calls fully.  Then I read his registration again, his email indicates he registered from a Scoutmaster's email. His dad is Scoutmaster? Good, he certainly has an encourager there. He asks if I can give him any "partials", so I do. He departs, and I then realize I have been left by myself with girl.  She would like to practice some more, but even with the doors to room wide open, I must excuse myself for YPT concerns.  As I am packing up and cleaning the room,  boy comes back, with SM dad. SM dad asks for explanation, why I did not give MORE partials?  I explain, while boy listens, that the class room stuff I partialed, the calls and "reasons" for the calls go together and I certainly would pass them both when boy is able to play them successfully.  SM dad seemed unhappy I would not "partial" the reasons, I smiled and said that is my way, the calls and reasons can easily go together. As I am leaving the building, I run into girl Scout and adult. She is NOT a parent, but I stop, again compliment girl about her effort and improvement, and remind her of the possibility , if difficult, of using the cavalry horn. Adult thanks me, will pass on to mother, girl smiles thru her mask. 

And so I will wait for Scouts to contact me to complete the MB. It does happen....

My 2 hour drive home became four with stops for some history and scenic stuff (the sign on the visitor center read open dawn to dusk, but not on saturday ? )


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