Any other vets play to forget?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by GarryOwenBrain, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. GarryOwenBrain

    GarryOwenBrain New Friend

    Oct 28, 2012
    Montgomery, AL
    This might sound like a strange title, but I've been contemplating putting this out there to see if there are any others like me. As an OIF vet I picked up the trumpet as something to challenge me as I struggled to fit back into normal life. No serious PTSD or anything like that (though we all have at least a touch), but for four years after returning from Iraq not a day went by when I didn't obsess over friends lost while I was there. I had played the trumpet in elementary school, but became a percussionist in high school and never touched a trumpet again. One day I got the bright idea that I needed a change in my life and a year and a half ago I bought my first horn, a Bach 184 cornet. Since then I've added an Olds Recording trumpet and just last week, the Roger Ingram 1600i from Jupiter.

    I play at least an hour every day, and one day about six months into my new hobby (obsession) I played until my cheeks were screaming at me and my lips would no longer function! It was glorious! And suddenly it hot me, a whole day had gone by and I had not even thought about Iraq once. As the days, weeks, and months went by I had long periods where Iraq and all I had experienced there didn't even cross my mind. Now, Iraq will always be part of who I am, and I will never forget the good friends I lost there, but playing the trumpet has given me new life. Has anyone else had a similar experience? I sometimes wonder if there are enough of us out there to figure out how to introduce this awesome hobby to others who are struggling? No professional teachers, necessarily, but vets teaching other vets how to make beautiful music (even if it doesn't sound all that beautiful to the trained ear!).
    neal085 and Vulgano Brother like this.
  2. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    Not a vet, but, I had a rather unpleasant job experience that stretched out almost two years. Picking the horn back up got me through it and gave me something to feel good about during that period.
    Thank you for your service to our Country, and I'm glad that you've found something to help you over the hump:oops:
  3. GarryOwenBrain

    GarryOwenBrain New Friend

    Oct 28, 2012
    Montgomery, AL
    Buck, I can relate to the unpleasant job experience as well. There is nothing as awful as having to face a hostile work environment day after day. Playing definitely helps remind us what's important in life! A bad day on my horn is better than any day when I can't pick it up for even a few minutes!
  4. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    Well said ... it seems like the value of the arts might have lost it's way with this contemporary society. We play/paint because we are.
  5. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    ...or because we need to learn how to be.
  6. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    My husband volunteered for a program called Guitars For Vets - basically, it involves a few weeks of guitar lessons for Vets with different issues, and if they finish the program they get an acoustic guitar to keep. Rob taught lessons for a couple of years, and it worked kind of like a master class, though the instructors did get to spend a little one-on-one time as well. Nice program, though, and would be nice if more like that existed!
  7. Shadrack

    Shadrack New Friend

    Jan 5, 2013
    NYC area
    I am a vet and also lost friends on September 11th. 321 AEF/913 SFS

    I played trumpet before then and was in the middle of my hiatus during my deployments. I did suffer from mild PTSD from deployments, divorce, and my father's passing, but it took a casual conversation in a tavern with a new trumpet player without an instructor. A few days later, I had my horn serviced, dusted off my Arbans, and got back to playing and teaching.

    No one can ever minimize the impact of playing and teaching music in one's life. Bob Marley said, "One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."
  8. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 6, 2012
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Good thread, and thank you for your service.

    Refocusing our energy and time into a profitable endeavor is always cleansing and helps heal. I think music is an excellent example of that, and I appreciate your story.

    For myself, I've never been in the military, but I'm sure any of us that have lived very long have fallen on tough times - in finance, in relationships, at work, economic crisis - whatever. Besides developing spiritual strength, it's good to have physical things we can turn to. For me, it's usually been the gym. I've always found solace in the battle against a pile of weights and testing my own physical limits in the unchanging environment of the gym. Sometimes life seems uncertain, scary even, but steel bars and iron plates never change, and that battle is always a profitable one. Same concept applies with the trumpet. This glorified piece of plumbing with a mouthpiece and the Arban's don't ever change, and testing ourselves against them is a cleansing and wholesome endeavor. It can also bring a feeling of stability during unstable times, and be a reminder that life ain't over yet.

    I have only been playing my trumpet for about 18 months, and have yet to experience it during tough times. I can say that if I pick up the horn after missing for more than a few days, the feeling is like coming home after a prolonged absence. Playing music makes a difference, man.

    Even the Bible indicates that God intended for music to make a difference in our lives.

    Didn't mean to wax all poetic on you, but the topic really resonated with me.

    Enjoy your Tuesday, gentlemen.
  9. PiGuy_314

    PiGuy_314 Pianissimo User

    Oct 12, 2013
    I can't relate to the OP's experience (never been in the service), but I would like to take the time to thank the OP and everyone else who has served.

  10. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

    Dec 19, 2009
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Ditto here, Dave.
    Gary, I think you are doing a great thing for yourself, and I, too, thank you for what you did for all of us as well.
    God's blessings to you.

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