An 11 year old brass player with autism has just published a tutorial book aimed at helping players of all ages and abilities.
'Lord Alex's Musical Menagerie' is 11 year old Alex Hoekstra's first book, and has already gained widespread critical acclaim from leading players, conductors and composers.
Alex, from Warrington in Cheshire is understandably proud of his achievements. He is a gifted composer and trumpet player (currently at grade 5 distinction), and likes to be called 'Lord Alex' as he has an official title that comes with his 1 square foot of land in Glencoe, Scotland.
He also plays in the award-winning Splinters Band (a woodwind and brass band set up by the Halton and Warrington Music Support Services) which performed at Wembley Arena in 2016.
With the help of his tutor, composer Lucy Pankhurst, he has been working over the past few years to develop a unique flavour of trumpet tunes for this book.
Tenor horn star Owen Farr was certainly bowled over: "What a great book this is, packed with great instruction, fun and laughter! This is a must have for any brass enthusiast!"
Meanwhile, Foden's principal cornet player Mark Wilkinson said: "Lord Alex's Musical Menagerie is made up of pieces that are fun and challenging to play both technically and musically."
It's also impressed academics too, with Edward Gregson, the former Principal of the RNCM adding: "Alex is clearly a talented young musician. In this collection of short pieces based on animals of various kinds and dimensions, he has an intuitive understanding of how to turn their various characteristics into musical pictures.
I look forward to seeing how he develops in the next few years, but he undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him."
Lucy Pankhurst (above) told 4BR that Alex's autism has provided him with a unique personality and a raft of musical gifts, together with a great view of the world around him.
"Although he struggles with communicating with children of similar age, he's most at home in an adult world where people appreciate his talents without judgement.
Lord Alex has many other passions outside the music world, such as Harry Potter, Braille printers, oxygen masks, Judge Rinder, Britain's Got Talent (or anything with red buttons!), walking around in his Lord Alex 'Cloak of Authority' and inventing fascinating machinery. He really is a modern day Caractacus Potts!"
Lord Alex's Musical Menagerie is made up of pieces that are fun and challenging to play both technically and musicallyMark Wilkinson
The Menagerie is packed with teachers' notes, quirky tunes and (even quirkier) illustrations.
The book is linked to www.lordalex.net through a special username and password hidden in the book — once logged in, you can view and download the tunes, backing tracks and other files.
The book can be ordered direct from his website, via his eBay page (Lord_Alex) or direct from the publisher (Hoekstra Publishing) under ISBN 978-1-9996066-0-2 (RRP £9.99 plus £2.00 postage).