FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps:

Expand allClose all

Students

Where do I send my Verification Form?

After you play at a funeral, the funeral director will sign your Verification Form that can also be presented to your school for an excused absence. Visit the volunteer login area on our website to upload a scan or photo of your Verification Form in order to receive credit from YTTC. After playing at your first funeral or third community event, you will receive the official YTTC patch for your scout or band uniform.

How long will the funerals last?

You can expect to be at the funeral service for up to three hours. This includes arriving early, rehearsing, waiting on the family to arrive, the actual service, and the playing of the final Taps. In some circumstances this may take a longer or shorter time. You are dismissed when the Honor Guard is dismissed. At a graveside service, this may happen at the very beginning. At a chapel or church service, you may not sound Taps until the very end.

What do I need to do to get started? How do I sign up?

Volunteers must meet the requirements below, take our training, and then connect with their local funeral home.

Volunteer Requirements:
-Must be age 14 – 23,
-Must play trumpet, bugle, or flugelhorn.
-High school students must be enrolled in a formal band program, taking private lessons, or have earned the Boy Scout Bugler Merit Badge,
-Must have Taps memorized and signed-off on by their band director or private instructor or submit an audition video.

If you meet the above requirements, you can either watch our online training videos or attend a Taps workshop and then connect with your local funeral home.

Click here to register as a new volunteer.

How old do I have to be to participate?

Currently, we are seeking high school volunteers who are at least 14 years old.

How much playing experience do I have to have?

Playing Taps at a funeral is a high-pressure solo performance. Volunteer Players need to have experience playing solos and feel comfortable performing in front of large audiences in high-pressure situations.

Are there any instruments besides trumpet that can be played at a funeral?

Taps was traditionally played on a bugle. Other instruments that can play Taps include: trumpet, cornet, and flugelhorn.

Which version of Taps should I memorize?

 

Taps is traditionally played with open fingerings. Our training program offers alternatives for students who need a lower option.

Open:

taps

Do I have to attend a Taps Workshop in order to participate?

No. Volunteer Players may either attend a workshop or view our online training videos. Links to the training videos are provided after you fill out the new volunteer registration form.

How will I know where to stand and when to play?

You will arrive early and meet with the funeral director and/or the Officer In Charge (OIC). They will direct you where to stand.
For more information, consult the YTTC Handbook, which is provided to new volunteers upon registration.

Which funeral home should I work with?

Choose the cemetery nearest your home or school. Contact the funeral homes in your area and ask which cemeteries they serve. In our volunteer login area, you can find a letter of introduction to send to funeral homes that introduces YTTC and your availability to play at funerals.

How much notice will I get?

You will receive last minute notice. It will likely be less than 48 hours and possibly as few as 6-12 hours notice.

What if I get a call on a school day?

 

Many veteran funerals are held on weekdays, so you may have to miss school. If you get a call for a day that you cannot miss school, you may respectfully decline and contact YTTC so we can help find another bugler. Because notice is short, we recommend that you get approval from your band director and high school principal at the beginning of each school year. Students should follow their schools policy for requesting and documenting absences.

Download our School Principal Letter to get approval for missing class. Absences need to be approved in advance, even in states that provide excused absences for students participating in Military Honors funerals.

Texas Education Code § 25.087(b-4)(2)(c) A school district may excuse a student in grades 6 through 12 for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in this state for a deceased veteran.

Oklahoma State Dept. of Education [70 O.S. § 10-105(B)] A school district shall excuse a student from attending school for the purpose of participating in a military funeral honors ceremony upon approval of the school principal. (Senate Bill 1715)

West Virginia Board of Education Policy 6302 – Taps at Military Funerals, 6302.4.4 Absences incurred through participation in the sounding of Taps shall be considered an excused absence as a school approved cocurricular/extra- curricular activity. (WVEIS Code X-1)

Wisconsin Board of Education 430-Rule (2)  Students in grades 6 to 12 will be excused for the purpose of sounding “Taps” during a military honors funeral for a deceased veteran.

Illinois Statutes 105 ILCS 5/26-1 7. A child in any of grades 6 through 12 absent from a public school on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in this State for a deceased veteran…” Click here to see full text and requirements.
(HB4432)

What should I wear to a funeral?

YTTC Volunteer Players are expected to dress respectfully. You may wear a scout uniform or black suit/dress (funeral attire). Be sure to consider coordinating weather-appropriate dark outerwear and shoes, because funerals are held regardless of the weather.

Will I get paid for playing at funerals?

No. YTTC Volunteer Players provide their services free of charge.

Can I apply if I am under 14 years of age?

We are currently recruiting high school students who are at least 14 years old. We are able to make exceptions for younger players who have already played several funerals and are recommended by a funeral director they have worked with. 

Are civilians allowed to play Taps at military funerals?

Yes. In fact, the Department of Defense says a live bugler (military or civilian) should be sought before the use of a recording is authorized.

DoDI 1300.15, October 22, 2007 states: 5.3.7. Provide a bugler, either military or civilian, for the sounding of Taps. Bugler support may be contracted or voluntary. The Military Service responsible for providing military funeral honors shall ensure that there is an active search for a bugler. If none is available, the Service representative may authorize the playing of a high quality recording of Taps on a stereo player or ceremonial bugle and shall ensure that it is available. In general, whereas a bugler sounds Taps in a prominent position, to include a member using the ceremonial bugle, sound systems should be out of sight of the funeral party.

View category →

School Principals

How long will students be absent if they play at a funeral?

Students may be absent for up to three hours. Graveside services generally last less than 30 minutes, but the student will need to arrive 1 hour prior to the service and must stay till the Honor Guard is dismissed.

Many states provide educational code which excuses students’ participation in a Military Honors funeral.

Texas Education Code § 25.087(b-4)(2)(c) A school district may excuse a student in grades 6 through 12 for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in this state for a deceased veteran.

Oklahoma State Dept. of Education [70 O.S. § 10-105(B)] A school district shall excuse a student from attending school for the purpose of participating in a military funeral honors ceremony upon approval of the school principal. (Senate Bill 1715)

West Virginia Board of Education Policy 6302 – Taps at Military Funerals, 6302.4.4 Absences incurred through participation in the sounding of Taps shall be considered an excused absence as a school approved cocurricular/extra- curricular activity. (WVEIS Code X-1)

Wisconsin Board of Education 430-Rule (2)  Students in grades 6 to 12 will be excused for the purpose of sounding “Taps” during a military honors funeral for a deceased veteran.

Illinois Statutes 105 ILCS 5/26-1 7. A child in any of grades 6 through 12 absent from a public school on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in this State for a deceased veteran…” Click here to see full text and requirements.
(HB4432)

Will the student have a signed verification form certifying they have played at the funeral?

Yes, the funeral director will sign a verification form after the student has completed each service. This form can be obtained by volunteers in the volunteer login area of our website.

View category →

Funeral Directors

Are Volunteer Players available on weekdays?

Some states provide educational code excusing students’ absences when participating in a Military Honors funeral. If your state/school district does not allow students to get excused, contact us for information on how to work on getting this exemption in your state.

The following states have educational code providing excused absences for participation in Military Honors funerals:

Texas Education Code § 25.087(b-4)(2)(c) A school district may excuse a student in grades 6 through 12 for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in this state for a deceased veteran.

Oklahoma State Dept. of Education [70 O.S. § 10-105(B)] A school district shall excuse a student from attending school for the purpose of participating in a military funeral honors ceremony upon approval of the school principal. (Senate Bill 1715)

West Virginia Board of Education Policy 6302 – Taps at Military Funerals, 6302.4.4 Absences incurred through participation in the sounding of Taps shall be considered an excused absence as a school approved cocurricular/extra- curricular activity. (WVEIS Code X-1)

Wisconsin Board of Education 430-Rule (2)  Students in grades 6 to 12 will be excused for the purpose of sounding “Taps” during a military honors funeral for a deceased veteran.

Illinois Statutes 105 ILCS 5/26-1 7. A child in any of grades 6 through 12 absent from a public school on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in this State for a deceased veteran…” Click here to see full text and requirements.
(HB4432)

How do I find YTTC Volunteer Players to work with my funeral home?

Contact us to let us know that you’re interested in working with a YTTC Volunteer Player. We will provide you with information on how to recruit local volunteers. After the volunteers have registered with YTTC, we will provide training and support.

How do I know if a YTTC Volunteer Player will be able to play Taps?

Volunteer Players will receive certification from their high school band director that they can play a quality Taps from memory.

You may ask YTTC Volunteers to audition for you. You may also ask volunteers to play when you call to book them for a funeral.

Another great way to build a working relationship with our volunteers is to invite them to play the National Anthem or branch of service songs at church funerals or other events.

Do YTTC Volunteer Players charge for their services?

YTTC members are volunteers and do not charge for their services.

What type of training do YTTC Volunteer Players receive?

YTTC Volunteer Players may attend a training workshop or view our online training videos. Our trainings cover topics including: history of Taps, funeral etiquette, and playing technique.

How will I know if a YTTC Volunteer Player will likely be available?

Don’t hesitate to contact players regularly to update their availability. If you want to recruit new players, contact us for a band director letter to send to your local high school.

Are civilians allowed to play Taps at military funerals?

Yes. In fact, the Department of Defense says a live bugler (military or civilian) should be sought before the use of a recording is authorized.

DoDI 1300.15, October 22, 2007 states: 5.3.7. Provide a bugler, either military or civilian, for the sounding of Taps. Bugler support may be contracted or voluntary. The Military Service responsible for providing military funeral honors shall ensure that there is an active search for a bugler. If none is available, the Service representative may authorize the playing of a high quality recording of Taps on a stereo player or ceremonial bugle and shall ensure that it is available. In general, whereas a bugler sounds Taps in a prominent position, to include a member using the ceremonial bugle, sound systems should be out of sight of the funeral party.

How do I book a YTTC Volunteer Player for a funeral?

Funeral directors book volunteers directly.

If you have not been contacted by a YTTC Volunteer Player, contact us for information on how to recruit a local student volunteer. YTTC will facilitate training and support for the student volunteer.

View category →

Band Directors

Will students have to miss school?

Yes, students may have to miss school. Many funerals take place on weekdays. Funerals generally start around 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM with the graveside service following. We estimate students will serve for two or three hours, longer in some circumstances.

Some states provide educational code which excuses students’ absences when participating in a military honors funeral. Band directors may also be able to count Taps performances as co-curricular activities. If your state or school district does not allow this exemption, contact us for information and support in advocating for policy change.

Texas Education Code § 25.087(b-4)(2)(c) A school district may excuse a student in grades 6 through 12 for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in this state for a deceased veteran.

Oklahoma State Dept. of Education [70 O.S. § 10-105(B)] A school district shall excuse a student from attending school for the purpose of participating in a military funeral honors ceremony upon approval of the school principal. (Senate Bill 1715)

West Virginia Board of Education Policy 6302 – Taps at Military Funerals, 6302.4.4 Absences incurred through participation in the sounding of Taps shall be considered an excused absence as a school approved cocurricular/extra- curricular activity. (WVEIS Code X-1)

Wisconsin Board of Education 430-Rule (2)  Students in grades 6 to 12 will be excused for the purpose of sounding “Taps” during a military honors funeral for a deceased veteran.

Illinois Statutes 105 ILCS 5/26-1 7. A child in any of grades 6 through 12 absent from a public school on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in this State for a deceased veteran…” Click here to see full text and requirements.
(HB4432)

How do I approve students to participate in YTTC?

Students need to visit our website and register as a new volunteer. After registration, students will receive a link to our volunteer training site, containing training videos and forms. Please sign their volunteer form once they are able to play a quality Taps from memory.

What skills are required by students that want to volunteer?

Students should have experience playing solos and performing in front of large groups. Students need to be able to play a quality Taps from memory and should include Taps in their daily practice routine because volunteers may be called upon with short notice.

View category →

Veteran Families

Do YTTC Volunteer Players charge for their services?

YTTC members are volunteers and do not charge for their services.

What will the YTTC Volunteer Player wear to the funeral?

YTTC Volunteer Players will wear a scout uniform, JROTC uniform, or black dress clothes.

Are civilians allowed to play Taps at military funerals?

Yes. In fact, the Department of Defense says a live bugler (military or civilian) should be sought before the use of a recording is authorized.

DoDI 1300.15, October 22, 2007 states: 5.3.7. Provide a bugler, either military or civilian, for the sounding of Taps. Bugler support may be contracted or voluntary. The Military Service responsible for providing military funeral honors shall ensure that there is an active search for a bugler. If none is available, the Service representative may authorize the playing of a high quality recording of Taps on a stereo player or ceremonial bugle and shall ensure that it is available. In general, whereas a bugler sounds Taps in a prominent position, to include a member using the ceremonial bugle, sound systems should be out of sight of the funeral party.

How can I schedule to have a YTTC Volunteer Player at a funeral?

The Department of Defense Military Funeral Honors program calls for the funeral director to request honors on behalf of a veteran’s family. If a military Honor Guard bugler is not available, the funeral director can contact a YTTC Volunteer at the family’s request. If the funeral home does not have a YTTC Volunteer, funeral directors may visit our website for information on how to recruit a local student volunteer. YTTC will facilitate training and support for the student volunteer.

View category →

Other Questions

Are YTTC Volunteers available to play music at non-military/non-funeral events?

Our mission is to use our musical gifts to honor those who have served our country. We only book our volunteers for events that follow our mission. We feel that performing live music at non-military events would potentially create competition for our fellow musicians who make a living playing music. We recommend that you look into hiring a working musician for your event. We are happy to pass on any contacts we have.

View category →