Comeback Players

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trmpt_plyr, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
  2. progmac

    progmac Pianissimo User

    Jan 9, 2009
    I'm a comeback player. I've been at it since dec '07. Major embouchure change in Jul '08. My playing is far better now than it was in school, when I was actually pretty lousy. I have private instruction and practice my assigned routine daily. I started this to just get good enough, but I enjoy it. I have every intention of mastering the instrument and becoming a "virtuoso." Maybe i'll miss the mark, but it won't be for a lack of will or training.

    I started playing again at 26, not all that old. I have a long life ahead of me and tens of thousands more hours of practice and improving before I die.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The problem is not the innate talent, it is more the habits that get learned and deeply ingrained in the brain by years of essentially uninterrupted highest quality playing. There is no way that we can replace hundreds of thousands of repetitions with "talent".

    Let's face it, if you are older, with no serious, previous playing connections, your chance of reentry is about zero. There may be exceptions to the rule, I am not aware of any however.

    Basically, who cares? The point of returning to the instrument is not to put Hakan Hardenberger out of work. It is to enrich your own life and that of those around you. That can be accomplished with a modest investment in time and dedication. If one has the time and opportunity to get REALLY serious, more magic can happen regardless of the talent base!

    I won't get involved in a what if discussion. There is enough real life stuff going on that deserves attention.
  4. progmac

    progmac Pianissimo User

    Jan 9, 2009
    This reminds me of the argument that older people can't learn languages. There was a theory in the 60s that the brain lost much of its "plasticity," that is, ability to form new connections, after childhood. Modern research shows that much of this concept is entirely false. Some studies, for example, have shown that adults actually achieve functional competency in a foreign language faster than children.

    My point is, we shouldn't assume we understand something as complex as brain function based on mere anecdotes and intuition.

    I would argue further that it wasn't until the 20th century when working adults even had enough leisure time to undertake serious musical pursuits.
  5. anthony

    anthony Mezzo Piano User

    Mar 3, 2009
    How about this ....if one practices as if he/she were going to be a virtuoso would not that trumpet player become a better than average player I mean really worked hard at it ? ? Anthony :play:
  6. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    More fiction. Not only can alcoholics abandon their booze, they can use music and the trumpet as a vehicle for a complete remake of their lives. Be here now and put the past behind you where it belongs. Each note you play is an expression of the fullness of existence. Whether or not you are a virtuoso is of no importance, that is for others to decide. Forget about others and allow the profundity of your existence to flow, with God's help, in every note you play.

  7. progmac

    progmac Pianissimo User

    Jan 9, 2009
    Absolutely. There is that expression, "aim for the moon, if you miss you will fall among the stars."

    I just hate the idea of late starters, particularly those who began in their 50s or 60s, to relegate themselves and say to themselves that they will never be great, 0.5% top players. There is no reason this should be true! Why should this not be true?

    I saw this with language when I was in Peace Corps. The older folks convinced themselves they couldn't achieve fluency and the teachers reinforced that notion. But those who could cast aside the naysayers did achieve fluency! As did I, in two languages, over the course of two years and I was an adult (albeit just out of college)!
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  8. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    I remember reading an interview with Andrew Balio where he said he quit for four years after high school, and he's been pretty successful since. My teacher from my masters quit for awhile in his 20's, Mendez didn't play for a long time after an accident, I had a long time off due to health. I think most people can play to their previous level, and keep improving after those fairly short layoffs. For longer breaks, maybe the biggest obstacle is having the environment to really focus and dedicate yourself to being a great trumpet players. Most of those "virtuosos" spent their youth immersed in the trumpet, working with master teachers, for several years. I think it would be pretty hard to do that later in life, with family, kids, job, mortgage, etc. Maybe it's not impossible, if that amazing talent is really in there, but I think it's pretty unlikely. It IS possilble to become a good enough player to enjoy playing music on the trumpet, and that's probably more important anyway.
  9. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    I came back what I was 45, after over 20 years off. Although your thoughts are basically true on the surface, let's do a little reality check. The following are general statements about why this should not be true. Obviously, there will be exceptions to every statement!

    Comebackers, "particularly those who began in their 50's or 60's", usually...

    A. ...have mortgage payments, kids in college, families to support, etc. etc. This reduces the amount of available practice time. It also reduces the amount of money available for equipment, lessons, travel, etc.

    B. ...already have careers that they have invested years in. Most of us (but not all) look at A above, and consider the risk of starting a new career in music. If we do not succeed, we lose the house??? How often over the years I have read threads on Trumpet Master about how low the pay for performing musicians is, especially the lesser known ones just starting out.

    C. ...are very health conscious, or have (as I do) health issues that need to be watched closely. Is it really a good idea for a 50 year old to start a new career that basically requires evening/nightime hours, a lot of travel, enviroments that may not be really healthy? (thinking about the "smoke filled bar" image here). Some would say yes, some would say no.

    I could go on, but I hope you understand what I am trying to say.

    but for myself, and the "comebackers" that I know personally (on various instruments), it is not about being a "great, 0.5% top players". It is about being the best player we can possibly be. I and the people thta I play with are the harshest critics of our own music. I can not count that times that I have walked away from a solo very unhappy about how I played, while members of the audience are gushing about how good it was.

    I do not personally know a comebacker that is interesting in going pro, although several are good enough. And several play 3 or 4 non-paying performances a week (most at churches).

    Let's see...I had a point when I started, where did it go?
  10. progmac

    progmac Pianissimo User

    Jan 9, 2009
    I see what you're saying and have absolutely no problem with it. Everyone has different goals for the instrument. My point is merely that IF a comebacker wants to become a virtuoso, he or she should GO FOR IT!

    Most of the comeback type players I play with do not hold this as a goal. And that's fine! But some of the comments about people not being able to learn past the age of 4 suggest that it is a lost cause to seek virtuosity -- but I see no reason why this should be the case.

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