Comeback Chronicle

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Stuffeshead, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. Stuffeshead

    Stuffeshead New Friend

    Jul 14, 2010
    After many unsuccessful eBay bidding attempts, I finally won an early 70s model Olds Ambassador to start my comeback playing adventure. After reading all the "is it too late?" posts and comments about age and comeback playing, I thought an objective journal of my own experience might be useful to one or two folks out there someday.

    As background, I am 38 at the time of this post. I played trumpet beginning in 7th grade (1984) through high school and majored in trumpet performance for three years at college before changing directions. So, that was a total of nine years without much of a break. After that, I played little to none at all until now. During my college years, I was first trumpet (1st chair my second and third years) in both marching and concert bands, and I played lead and first trumpet in the jazz band. I also played many small ensembles (chamber music, brass quintets, etc.). My comfortable range at the time I stopped playing was up to a G above high C, although we rarely played above D, even in our little jazz band. I played a silver Bach Strad 37 throughout all those years, after which I stupidly sold it for a pittance because the finish was badly worn. I routinely played every day for at least an hour or more in those days, with additional time for individual practice an average of four times per week for approx. 35-45 mins. each practice session. Practice materials were almost exclusively limited to Arban's method, which was a tome of wonder and amazement for my instructors, who knew of no other or better material for study.

    So, with that background, I will begin my playing again in the next few days after I receive the horn in the mail and get it cleaned up and ready, assuming there are no major repairs necessary. My first task (after posting pics of the horn in another thread, of course!) will be to give myself an objective self-assessment of where my skills are after not playing for 17 years. I'll run through some scales, some sight reading, some familiar tunes from Arban's method, and I'll report back with the results. After that, I will try to stick to a fairly regular practice schedule (where possible - my legal practice will force some flexibility), and I'll try to post occasional updates to talk about my progress at regaining some skills and range.

    This shouldn't be a long-term endeavor, but I think two or three months of playing should give some indication of what a comeback experience is like under my circumstances. I hope to post several comments about my observations. If no one's interested, feel free to ignore me. I just thought I'd add this for the one person who might be like me 12 years from now, wondering what it would be like for a 38-year-old former player to start playing again.

  2. Mambo King

    Mambo King Pianissimo User

    Aug 20, 2009
    Hey Stuffeshead,

    Welcome back to the fold ! I'm in a similar position but a year further on, i.e. I played up to 16 years old, solid register up to G above C then gave up in favour of percussion which is now my profession but came back to the trumpet a year ago after a break of 25 years. My two biggest issues since picking up the trumpet again are stamina and the ease of access of information-the internet wasn't available back then and I already know more and wider about the mechanics of trumpet playing than I ever did as a child. I'll be very interested to follow your progress. Best of luck.
  3. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Great to hear! Welcome back. I caught the bug about 3 1/2 years ago and I have literally found a new world: places to play, a welcoming atmosphere, relatively little competitive attitude (until you start hanging with the youngin's) and an ability far beyond what I had. And yes, the Internet age has brought with it untold amounts of good information, but a lot of terrible, and simply wrong info, but you seem a sharp enough bloke to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    Stamina is still a bug-a-boo with me, but better with time. Many three hour gigs are easy, some are hard, but with each breakthough, and there will be many, comes improvements in all aspects of the horn.


    MySpace - Ed Mann - 53 - Male - LA, California -
  4. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Welcome back. Realize you didn't build your chops in a day previously, so don't expect to outplay Maynard by the end of the week. Practice a little each day, shoot for a few months and I think you will be happy with your results.

    Let us know what you think of the Ambassador. I grew up on Olds and went to a Strad toward the end of college. They are different horns. Both good. It will be interesting to hear how you think they compare. Keep us posted.
  5. Doctor Squeak

    Doctor Squeak Pianissimo User

    Jul 30, 2010
    Right on! Look forward to hearing your progress. I'm getting involved in a similar venture, and have been practicing, practicing, practicing... Give yourself a chance to get those chops back!
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    You might have a look at your old method book - it could give you a few easy tunes as your chops take the treck with you.
  7. Doctor Squeak

    Doctor Squeak Pianissimo User

    Jul 30, 2010
    I'm getting the Arbans, and probably the Caruso - I wasn't familiar with the Caruso method before, and it's something I've read about here on TP. If you aren't familiar, it's at least worth a search.
  8. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    Looks like a lot of us are in the same boat. Ive been playing "again" for ten years now and still love to tell my story about my comeback. The most striking difference that Ive found is how much fun playing is now when it is because I want to, not because I have to. Be sure not to push it till its not fun anymore. Achieving a goal doesnt seem as important to me as the fun of the planning and practicing to build meaningful progress. I envy you because I can sense your excitement. Have a great time!
  9. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010
    Welcome to the comeback trail. I have been at it for about a year now. I am 48. Take it slow and be patient with yourself. That was the best advice given to me. Now, I will give you what I belive may be a helpful thought. When starting out, I did not know how much or what to practice. I read tons on the Internet but really there was no well laid-out plan. Get a teach who can set you on the right path. In the absence of that, I would hughly recommend going through the Rubank system. It is very methodical and graduated. Each lesson consists of several exercises and the exercise cover what has been recommended by everyone here, i.e., long tones, lip slurs, rhythms, and scales. The articulations start with the Intermdiate book I think. The Rubank series from Beginning to Advance will take you through in a way you can really mark your progress. Each lesson takes about a half hour depending on how fast you learn. By the end of the week you may even get it down to 20 minutes. Then, you can work etudes or what ever music you are interested in. Of course, there are other great books.

    Best Wishes,

  10. Stuffeshead

    Stuffeshead New Friend

    Jul 14, 2010
    Thanks to all for the comments/suggestions.

    By way of update, it appears that there's some snafu with the trumpet I purchased. The package still hasn't arrived (after a week), and the tracking number shows no information other than the initial point of departure. I'll be ironing that out before I can get the horn in and start the evaluation/comeback process.

    Stay tuned.... (pun intended)


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