FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps:

Students

Frequently asked questions from students:

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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.