I usually have a lesson once every two weeks. A bone of contention with my tutor regarding my playing is that I just don’t count and when I recognise a melody I play it as I interpret the piece. In between my last two lessons He told me to concentrate on my timing. So for two weeks I played some pieces religiously using my digital metronome. When I had my last lesson I was confident He would see an improvement. So after a warm-up I put the music on the stand along with my metronome and began to play. After the first piece He enquired whether I was counting in my head and I said I wasn’t as I was listening to the metronome beat. So He took the metronome off the stand and put it in my case. (I thought at first He was going to throw it through the window!) I tried to play the pieces again this time trying to concentrate on counting the beat and the quality of my playing was pretty dire. The outcome was that He put my beginners copy of ‘A Tune a Day’ on the stand at the beginning of the book and had me play the simple pieces at the correct time signature. I made some progress. He made an observation that when I recognise a melody I tend to interpret it my own way and stop counting subconsciously. I should therefore move on to another page and concentrate on counting. He stressed at the end of the lesson that although I can play my play-along books well coming in on time I don’t necessarily play the notes in the measures on the play-alongs EXACTLY as written and unless I nail down this basic tool my advancement as a trumpet player will stall. Although my pride was hurt I feel I must knuckle down and give this fundamental weakness in my playing 100 % effort. As I’m in my late 50’s and have been playing for less than four years, I would guess that 2 thirds of my time has been spent playing along to some of my favourite pieces as this gives me a buzz when I play them well (to my ear anyway). I know I’m improving gradually in terms of my tone and musicality as I record my practice sessions every 3 months. However some remedial work on this basic musical skill is the order of the day! Chris Brown.