Innovative instrument boosting literacy among Campbell 3rd-graders


Holding horns that were nearly as tall as they are to their lips, a group of third-graders from Campbell K-7 School unleashed a wall of sound during their morning music class.

The horns, called pBuzzes – essentially a bell and a slide with a removable mouthpiece made from red plastic – are a relatively new instrument, and are made specifically for young and beginner musicians.

Campbell teacher Daniel Welch obtained 200 of the instruments, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the The Turning Foundation’s “Innovative Teacher Mini Grant” program. The purchase included the instruments, protective carrying cases and programming.

The lightweight pBuzz – “p” stands for plastic – horns are simple to operate. The only moving part is the slide, which is broken up into colored sections for easily finding the right note and are made to teach the fundamentals of playing brass instruments.

Musical competency isn’t the only lesson students learn with the pBuzz in Welch’s class. His not-so-secret motivation to introduce the program into his curriculum was to bolster his student’s literacy.

“Study after study has shown that when students learn to read music, they also see an increase in reading comprehension, which is key to understanding any subject, whether it’s math, the social sciences or anything else,” Welch said.

Read more about the instruments and the program in Wednesday's Vindicator or on

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