The doors he opened...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by amtrpt, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

    Feb 17, 2008
    Hi all,
    I wanted to start a new thread today. This one is more a story. I would love too hear from you if you have similar stories.

    When I was in 6th grade I was bussed to Iroquois Middle School in Louisville, KY. At that time in Kentucky bussing was a way of having better ethnic balance in the schools. (I don't know if they still have that now.) I wasn't thrilled about it because I had a school very near to my house that I wanted to go to.

    At that time I had been playing trumpet for two years. That's actually a very generous description. What I mostly did was bang my trumpet around and get out of class twice a week for music. I just wasn't very interested in the trumpet back then. That all changed when I got to Iroquois and met the band director. His name was Robert Jarrett. Mr. Jarrett, and that's what I still call him to this day, was a big tall black man with a very impressive afro. I couldn't tell you why we hit it off, but we did. The first year I was there I started to get interested in music and how fun it was to play with a group of people. At the end of that year I got to play with the eighth grade band and I was hooked.

    When I moved on to 7th grade Mr. Jarrett started to notice I had some natural talent for the instrument. He wanted me to have lessons, but my family couldn't afford it. His solution was to teach me himself for free. Mr. Jarrett played trumpet in college and still played pretty well back then. We would stay after school 2 or 3 times a week and work out of the Arbans book. I remember that we started at page one and worked from there. After the lesson he would drive me home which was in the opposite direction from his house.

    When I got to high school I was able to stay at Iroquois, they were a 6th through 12th grade school, so that I could still be in Mr. Jarrett's band program. In ninth grade he decided he had taught me as much as he could so he started paying for my lessons with local pros out of his own pocket. He also decided that I should have a good instrument so he bought me a Bach 72 light weight bell trumpet. He did all of this on a teachers salary.

    He did so many things for me musically, financially, and personally that it's impossible to put it all down in words. I will always remember when I was in 7th grade he told me that he would make sure he got the doors opened for me, all I had to do was find a way to get through them. Whenever I am given an opportunity like hosting a forum on Trumpetmaster I think about what he told me and feel so lucky to have met him. I am quite certain that without his help and influence I would not have a career in music.

    It's so important to have good people to help us when we need it. I also think it's important to acknowledge the people who helped us get to where we are. Thanks for reading this thread and I hope if you have someone who opened doors for you that you'll consider sharing your story with us.


    ps. I know this wasn't on my list of upcoming threads. I promise to get a few of them on this week. Thanks for your patience.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
    JustinSmith, MJ and administrator like this.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    My grandfather died when I was 10. I inherited his cornet (he had played with a factory band in Schenectady). I got my first lessons from the grade school music teacher who was a clarinet player. We got along ok but those lessons didn't do much of anything for me.
    At the end of the summer vacation I got a letter from the new junior/senior high band director addressed to Miss Robin... (I am a guy). In the letter he asked all of us to practice because we had a marching gig 4 days after school started. The first day of school we had band and I introduced myself as Miss. Everybody had a laugh. That first time that I met him, I was so impressed that I really practiced hard for that first gig. He gave me private lessons and when he said that he could take me no further, he organised private lessons for me. We played a lot of duets and had a wonderful time with everything musical. He lit the fire. He helped keep me on track during the difficult teen years. We still have contact today. He is now retired, but still the wonderful man I met back then. I will always be greatful to Mitch Haverly.
  3. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    Long story short, I was in a near fatal car wreck my junoir year of highschool. Coma, broken neck/bones, a year in the hospital, had to learn to walk/talk/eat, said I would never recover or play trumpet again, blah, blah, blah, etc. Frank Coachman, my high school band director was always there, teaching me (not just music but all subjects) and helping me get through things. He quite literally saved my life. I graduated on time (though I couldn't walk the stage) and we still keep in touch to this day. He cared for all his students. There are numerous stories I could tell. He was a bone player but every now and then he'd pull out the bass trumpet and throw down some rock lines that were just great. I love that man, he truly inspired me to continue on my path and now I'm about to graduate with a Master's in music.
  4. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    I guess these are common stories. I'm now approaching 50 (what the hell happened ??!?!?!?) and I often think of a couple of teachers who went the extra for me.

    I had a ninth grade band director named Bill Broderick who was great. I first heard a Maynard record because of him and I didn't know what it was. After asking him about it, he asked me a week later if I'd like to play in 'stage band'. He ran the only ninth grade stage band in the county. He was a great band director and brilliant arranger and he would craft arrangements that were just difficult enough to really challenge us and help us to improve, yet let us sound good. We slaughtered 4 out of the 5 high school bands that we competed against that year. Bill was also the one, who a month later took me aside and suggested strongly that I get down to one of the high schools to see this band called 'Stan Kenton'. That was the first time I'd ever seen or heard anything like that live (this was the supporting tour for the '7.5 on the Richter Scale' album).

    The next year, I got a new band director named John Lamb who had moved to Florida to raise his family after touring as the bass player in Duke Ellington's band and teaching (including Stanley Clark) at the Philadelphia Academy of Music. John knew I was serious about being a musician and used to give me a ride home after school (I lived 25 miles away because I handn't wanted to change schools after my father remarried) telling me stories about life as a musician....basically giving me the skinny on the street side of things: how to survive, take care of business...all that. One time after I put my horn down on a chair, John said to me "hey man, be careful of your ax...." and I didn't know what he was talking about. He was nice enough to hip me to the term 'ax' to mean one's instrument!!! Ha ha ha.....

    Both of these gentlemen were great influences on me and very helpful to my pursuit of music and I use some little lesson or tidbit of info that I got from them or because of them everyday.

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  5. siarr

    siarr Pianissimo User

    May 18, 2007
    Hollywood, FL, USA
    Wow, great stories! It seems that most of us have had some guiding angel or bodhisattva who was there at the critical moment to open the door or simply to show us there was a door. My early guru (among others) was Joe Caterino, my Jr. high band director (Nautilus Jr. High, Miami Beach, FL). When I joined the band, I had had about 6 months of drum lessons (rudimental, not set), and had never played in a group. My mother was a professional concert violinist (stage name Joan Field) and my step-dad played in the 2nd violin section of the local orchestra. Though both of them were inspirational to me, I had little interest in "typical" classical music, even though some of the finest string players around would meet regularly at our house to play quartets. I mainly enjoyed the refreshments! My attraction was the drums, and soon after I joined the band, I became totally hooked on playing. It's all I wanted to do. In those days you could take home a band instrument for weeks at a time, even if it wasn't your instrument. I had a blast trying to teach myself clarinet, trombone, trumpet. The trumpet appealed to me the most, reinforced by the fact that Mr. Caterino was an excellent player and role model. I owe a great deal to him to this day, and to all the other mentors and friends along the way. I continued playing percussion, mainly tympani, through my first year in music school, simultaneously developing my trumpet chops. Finally I switched majors in my 2nd year and graduated in trumpet performance. It was a choice I never regretted, especially when I see my tympanist colleagues loading their equipment! Deep thanks to Joe Caterino, Jack Pinto, Ludwig Throm, Hall Overton and William Vacchiano (all deceased now) for enriching my life.

    Chas Reskin
    Editions Bim and The Brass Press, International Music Publishing
  6. Patric_Bernard

    Patric_Bernard Forte User

    Oct 25, 2007
    I hope that one day someone opens doors like that to me... I know that Trumpetmaster has really given me a ton of great info that I did not know before. I can only wait for someone great to open doors for me, or push me to those doors.
  7. Slavoie

    Slavoie New Friend

    Feb 21, 2008
    This is my very first response, i hope I`m posting this correctly!

    I wanted to post a dedication to Douglas Payson Sturdevant, the musician and pedagogue who has had a great influence on my development and love of music. I first met Pace at a summer music camp when I was in middle school; Pace was the brass coach. That first day, he saw that I was struggling with the trumpet and lent me his cornet, which I kept for the duration of the camp. Shortly afterward, I began studying with Pace. My first lesson was on the wing of the stage of Southam Hall, where the National Arts Centre Orchestra performs; Pace instructed me to play for the people in the hall, as a musicians role is to play for others. To this day he continues to inspire me to think as a musician, not simply a trumpet player.

    Pace`s career as a trumpet player was cut short due to injury, however he continues his work as musician and teacher. His dedication and passion have driven me to attain many of my goals in music and inspire me to continue.

  8. Steve A

    Steve A New Friend

    Nov 15, 2007
    Here goes...

    Through that uniquely youthful (well, mostly uniquely youthful) mix of blissful ignorance and (largely unfounded) self-confidence, having completed my whole audition tour coming out of high school, and wanting to enter a performance program in university, I discovered the hard way that I had bitten off WAY more than I could chew. Long story short - after many auditions, much money spent, and tremendous expenditure of energy, I found myself rejected by every school I applied to. I had in effect, basically overlooked the solid backup choice in my hometown (lesson learned!), and so, was left scrambling to try to organize a second audition tour, much too late, and with severely limited options. (As it was, by the time I heard the results, too late to audition for said backup through the normal process. I tried - they said no.)

    After a masterclass he had given, Andrew (McCandless - I had had a few lessons with him, but he was not my regular teacher) took me aside, and asked how my auditions had turned out. I told him that I had pretty much crashed and burned, and that I really didn't know what to do. He said to give him a call the next day, and we would talk it over.

    So, of course, call him, I did, and after explaining the situation, he offered me some sorely needed words of encouragement, and made a few calls on my behalf to the school I had overlooked. Well, lo and behold, following his recommendation, they were able to book a special audition for me, and as it turns out, they even were able to offer me a generous scholarship.

    Anyway, I'd like to take this chance to thank Andrew again for the exceptional care he takes to look out for the interests of his students, and his whole musical sphere of acquaintance. It's deeply, deeply apreciated!

  9. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    Jan 30, 2006
    That is an incredible story Andrew. TM members CJH, adohanian and I spent Friday afternoons at The New England Conservaroty. Dan Riley was the director of the Youth Wind Ensemble back then and I think he probably had a great influence on all of us. As middle schoolers playing in the Jr. group we feared him. He had a way of coming off as very tough, stern, demanding and frightening. When we played with him in high school he was all those things (a little less frigtening) but he was also a great educator and motivator. He exposed us to all sorts of great music from West Side Story to Petroushka. He took us on tours to Japan, Spain, and even Toronto (is Mikey Finns still there :cool:)

    He would go over practice techniques with us that would make sense to me a lot later in life. Stephen Burns (who was greatly influenced by Dan) would come every year and give the trumpets a masterclass. Dan is a flute player and my sister took lessons with him. I would drive her to his house and he would get out a record and a score and have me listen
    during the lesson and then talk about the piece with me after.

    So Dan was a big influence on me and I think hundreds of players that went though his program over the years.
  10. alittlebirdy

    alittlebirdy New Friend

    Oct 13, 2007
    Thanks for sharing Andrew. Great stuff!

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