The doors he opened...

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

  1. jazz9

    jazz9 Piano User

    Dec 5, 2007
    Chilhowie, VA
    Ok, here's mine.

    When I was about 6, I watched the annual parade in our town. I always wanted to be in one of those marching bands after that day. I would even try to follow them and march behind them until my parents stopped me. Eventually, I got to the age of beginning band for our program. The high school band director came in the room and called for anyone who wanted to be in band, and I was the first one out the door to try. At first, he was just formal and nice, and I tried out a couple of instruments. I wanted to be a drummer SO bad, but I just wasn't cut out for it. He said I could play sax or trombone. I wanted the sax, but my dad just wouldn't buy one for me. He said he could get me a trumpet (an old Yamaha student model for $100), so that's what I played. It wasn't even in my top five choices, but the trumpet was for me.

    Over the years, I got to know Mr. Weller, the band director, better and better. He was really nice and supportive, and he told me I should practice more, I would get better. So I toiled away grudgingly and made it to first chair by 8th grade. He said he thought I would be a soloist in high school, and I practiced even more, this time with much more enthusiasm. I loved trumpet playing, and Mr. Weller was there for encouragement every step of the way. I couldn't pass the seniors in freshman year, so I was stuck in fifth chair. He told me not to get frustrated because I was not on first part, but I could barely stand it. Those meaningless (or so I thought) 2nd and 3rd parts did a number on me, but I kept putting in that practice time at home. Finally, after months of trial and error, I hit that glorious high C in the second half of my freshman year. I was hooked, and there would be no turning back.

    I got better, and then he told me he was retiring after sophomore year. I was just devastated; he was by far my favorite teacher ever, and he was leaving. I used to come in his office every morning and talk for 30 minutes about music and stayed 30 minutes after school to talk or duet with him. He was leaving, but he promised I'd see him again. So it was my junior year, and the new guy was not high on my like list. (for lack of better terms) Then Mr. Weller called me and said he'd be offering private lessons. I never had a private lesson until November of last year when he called. We still get together and he teaches me theory and everything. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't still be playing, or I wouldn't care half as much as I do now. I owe my life's ambission and my most prized attribute to that man, and I could never repay him.
  2. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land


    DON'T WAIT FOR THE PUSH (sorry, I'm shouting) - don't expect someone to push, otherwise you'll be in your 50's and the chance will be gone - search, take a chance, make music, be happy.
  3. Smithi20

    Smithi20 Pianissimo User

    Oct 29, 2007
    Andrew, hi! I was very touched by your story and especially the story of your pupil. This kind of encouragement needs to keep moving! Unfortunately, I was never encouraged this way.. but I must admit to huge amounts of natural ability and dogmatism, even at a young age! I used to argue with my trumpet teacher, and then piss him off by sight reading next week´s Arban study! I´m happy with my playing now, but never felt that thare was someone who was generous enough to accept my potential, and for all that have, it´s a blessing! For all that don´t, and there are lots of us out there, stick with it, if it´s somethingt you love and enjoy! The mere fact that you are conversing on TM tells me that you have been bitten by the bug, the obsession, the enjoyment, so go for it!
  4. gglassmeyer

    gglassmeyer Piano User

    Apr 28, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    I had largely followed my older brother's footsteps into marching band in high school. I chose the trumpet because I loved hearing Doc on the NBC Tonight Show.
    I began playing the summer before high school began, but it was a rocky start. The normal instructor who taught lessons at the High School was very ill and his return was in question. No one wanted to replace him since he was an awesome teacher (evidenced by the quality playing of the upperclassmen).
    The school's band director happened to be a trumpet player and he gave me instruction until the other teacher was well enough to attempt a return. This didn't last long before he gave up teaching for good and ultimately passed away from his illness. I can't accurately spell his last name but his name was Michael Denovcheck (spelling phonetically). I think he played with the Cincinnati symphony from the time he was like 18 years old until he became ill.
    Anyway the school went through a few teachers that didn't work out for various reasons and then things really changed for me.
    Between junior and senior year I had my braces removed and for the first time trumpet playing was actually easy. That event coincided with the school hiring Dick Brown as their instructor. He was the stereotypically hipster jazz musician with the cool hat hip jive cat lingo and the gravelly smoking voice.
    I really enjoyed his lessons, he gave a ton of feedback. If you played something with a bit of style, he'd laugh out loud and say something like "man you laid that down like <insert jazz musician's name I'd never heard of here>"
    My lessons changed over that year from strictly playing out of the Rubanks books to adding Rythyms Complete, Herring Etudes, sight reading whatever he had laying around that he wanted to torture me with, and he'd assign a popular tune and the key I'd need to know it in by the next week.

    I progressed more that year than the previous 3 due to him and my newfound enthusiasm for playing.

    Toward the end of the year, Dick began a search for a new horn and I got to try out a bunch of sweet new Bachs, Schilkes, Benges etc. After his selection he sold me his old Yamaha for about $200. I still run into him on occasion and I regularly play on that Yamaha to this day (though I do have a new Vintage One that's used mainly).
    And on occasion I will "lay it down like <insert obscure jazz musician name>"
    I think he plays frequently at the casinos in Southeastern Indiana and teaches at our local music store, Buddy Rogers.
  5. kevhicks

    kevhicks New Friend

    Aug 27, 2008
    I almost cried when I read your post (outloud to my best friend over the phone) now let me explain why.
    We (my best friend and I) were in marching band together and spend a lot of time reminiscing about the fun times, the friends that we made, and the horror stories of the long hot days practicing out in the middle of parking lots and open fields. We were discussing all of these things tonight and I decided (while talking to him on the phone) to see if I could locate our band director by searching the internet. So I began by US Search, and a few others with no luck. So I decided to broaden the search and just do a google search for "Robert Jarrett, Louisville Ky". Yes I too went to Iroquois High School and Robert Jarrett was my band director. I unlike the Trumpet masters on here played drums, but had similar experiences with Mr. Jarrett. I switched schools from Butler High to Iroquois when Butler switched to a Traditional school, and wanted to just get out of band, Jarrett of course wanted to hear none of it. He talked me into staying, and the rest as they say is history. I wasn't big into school, at that point I was fed up with the fact that teachers didn't seem to care, I would show up for class, sleep, and still pass classes with B's and C's, I didn't feel challenged. Mr. Jarrett of course was different, I can't count how many days I would go to homeroom, then just turn around and leave...I always, ALWAYS, came back for 6th period band. I didn't want to let Mr. Jarrett down. My family ended up moving, and I had to go to Doss the next year, but only until I started driving when I immediately transferred back to Iroquois. I ended up having the best times of my life with Jarrett and the band( I even drove myself to Horse Cave for one contest because my mom and dad were remarrying on that day and I just couldn't miss it), even after I dropped out of high school, I stayed with Mr. Jarrett and taught the percussion line for a bit. He was exactly as you described, always willing to do whatever he had to do to make you find the talent that he knew you held inside, like you said if he had to teach you, give you the equipment( I wanted to learn the baritone at one point and he let me take a school horn home to learn on, he didn't want to, but on the way back from a contest one time everytime he would close his eyes and start to drift off I would wake him up and bug him about that horn, I think he only gave in to get some sleep), or buy it for you himself, he did what he had to do, for you to be the person he knew you could be. He would take my friend to his after school job everyday after school, because he didn't have any other way to get there, that's just the way he was.
    Anyway, after finding this site and reading your post, my friend(Mark) and I have decided that we WILL find Mr. Jarrett, Mark still knows a guy that we were in band with that he thinks keeps in contact with him. I will, with great pride, print this post out and read yours to him. It is an amazing thing to touch a persons life, as he touched ours and so many others, it is something else to have that be acknowledged openly and publicly for the world to see. He like so many others teachers should be applauded for their work, and most don't know the lives that they touch and the difference that they made in each and everyone of our lives. I intend to let Mr. Jarrett know exactly that when I see him, and pass on the touching words that you wrote.
    I will pass along to you whatever experience I have with Mr. Jarrett as soon as I see him. Thanks so much for your post.
    Kevin Hicks (37)
    Louisville, Ky
    Former Band Geek
    Butler High School Percussion
    Iroquois High School Percussion
    Current Guitar player (I found out after high school that I could buy Guitars a lot cheaper than I could buy drumsets, I still own a pair of marching band tree trunks( I also happen to own an Iroquois High School Marching Band Uniform Coat;-)
  6. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    I feel that I have to weigh in on this. My Dad and Mother got me started playing, as the opportunity at school was there for me to start an instrument. I started with my Dad's old trumpet that he had fixed up for me (overhaul, lacquer, etc.). However, being somewhat of a lazy kid and trying to get out of hard work I would come home and only practice half the time that the band director told us to practice. I was absolutely the worst trumpet player in the class. Well in stepped Dad at the time and found me a local trumpet teacher. Who told Mom and I in a store that I had to practice an hour a day or he would not work with me. So I was stuck and started practicing within about a month I went from being the worst to the best in the class. Once I started doing the above I got bit by the trumpet bug. Went through school playing trumpet and remaining the best in our school although this was a school in a very small town. Best there didn't really mean much.

    Then came the college years and I ran into students who were like me. They had worked hard and they could play. I then got lucky about my sophomore year in college and got my first real trumpet teacher. Donald Benedetti, who was from the Met and had studied with Vacchiano, boy did I start to learn to play. For the next two years things just got better. Don then left, as his wife became the first female cellist with the New York Phil. In walked the man who influenced my playing for the rest of my life and I still think about what he talked about and taught me. Boyde Hood showed up on campus as the new trumpet teacher. He was at that time studying with Herseth and Jacobs and would take lessons from them every two weeks. Boyde was able to bring those lessons back to me and we worked on the same things until he went for the next lesson. Wow what an eduction!!!

    After getting out of college and teaching for a number of years my playing somewhat took a back burner. Now here I am back studying with Paul Everett who was a student of Ciccowicz and Marvin Perry the principal with Indianapolis. These men both push me rather hard, but I get a great deal from them. The result is I am principal with three local orchestras and a wind ensemble, work free lance as much as I can, and teach privately. Would still like to find that orchestra job that really pays, but if it had not been for my parents and the above mentioned teachers I wouldn't even be close to doing what I am doing.
  7. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    My story starts with my grandfather catching me "mucking about" with his prized short cornet. He walloped my behind,I was only 8YOA and then, took me on a tour of all of the local musical instrument shops testing cornets. He bought me a Buckingham cornet, maker still a mystery, that was to be my first horn. Grandpa was principal cornet in the Burky and Gay furniture factory band. He and my dad, a very accomplished trumpeter were my beginning mentors. In high school I somehow got a part time job in The York Band Instrument Co. plant, testing high brass horns before they were packaged and shipped. The former and long time owner of York was a regular visitor in the plant that he had formerly owned. A.J.'Bill' Johnson hired me away from York to work as an instructor of entry level cornet,trumpet, 'peck horn' and euponium/ baritone students and to work when not teaching as an entry level brass repair technician,( tin bender ),all of this in 'Bills' retail store. Bill was a fantastic cornetist and brought me along very nicely for a couple of years. I had been up to Interlochen, Mi. for two of the 2 week summer sessions, where Raphael Mendez was our guest trumpet instructor. He did not like the brilliant tone of my King Silvertone trumpet with a 'Harry James Parduba mouthpiece, and presented me with a brand new Olds Recording cornet. A monstrous change in tone. My next instructor was Oskar Kutchinske, principal trumpet in the Grand Rapids, Mi. Symphony. Wow, did he work me. After college I went into the military where my dads King Silvertone was stolen from my closet in the BOQ at the San Diego Naval Hospital. I never played much, other than to pick up my old BUckingham cornet on rare occasions for the next 45 years. Four years ago, because of a crippling problem in my right knee, I was looking for 'something' to occupy my time. I bought a 'few' trumpets and cornets and started taking lessons again with Mike Bowman, current principal with our local symphony. I now am principal trumpet with one community concert band and utility trumpet in another. I can't find a way to be sufficiently thankful to all of my mentors, all deceased, save Mike, who is now a close friend and neighbor. Music on the trumpet/cornet has become once again the driving force in my life. At age 72 I am again teaching and thrilled at the advancement that I see and hear from my students. When I hear them play in rehearsals and in concert, I think to myself, 'I did that'. That is my training that allows them to perform. What a thrill.

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  8. Miyot

    Miyot Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2007
    Mine was Mr. Parshall, he taught me at Jr. High. When I started Jr. High I was last chair B band. He called me a character and some how lit a fire. In 6 weeks he helped change my school schedule. I ended up around 4th chair A band at the end of six weeks. He would smile and say I was the only one to sight read my weeks lesson. He was right, I made no effort to advance. After playing lead during High School stage band I played for a big band for several years. And then, keeping up with my style, I threw it all away. I had never made an effort and really didn't believe in myself. Now after 30 yrs I'm back. I have worked more in the last year than I ever have. At 50 I realize what I had given up. My musical girls did that for me. Anyhow, thanks Mr. Parshall
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  9. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Andrew -
    Nicest post I've read anywhere. Thanks!

    My Dad was a peaceful gentleman with a Quaker upbringing, whose first love after my Mom was music. He was a flautist, a pianist, clarinetist (& bass and contra-bass), and a composer, as well as a top-notch scholar in a non-music field. They had 5 children, and all of us learned music before we could articulate any objection to it. I studied theory and harmony with him before I was ten.

    While two of my sisters went on to become music professionals, I had other less studious pursuits in mind, occupying the last chair in the horn section to stay in band and satisfy what I perceived were my parents requirements. It was much, much later that I understood how inaccurate that perception was. While in 10th grade we opened our home to a graduate student named Dan Kimball, an erstwhile beatnik and saxaphonist. I always liked noodling around on the piano, and Dan picked up on that and taught me some basic chords - 7ths and 9ths, and showed me how to play them with my left hand while noodling along with my right. Moonlight in Vermont was the first tune he showed me. It was my non-classical foray and it stuck.

    After HS and an abortive semester at college, I joined the Navy. I found pianos at the USO and other places which welcomed sailors, and continued to work on improvising against jazz chords. It was simplistic to be sure, but satisfying anyway.

    Once my tour of duty was complete I returned to a land full of distress over the war in Vietnam, and like many vets I never fully readjusted to living again in the US of A. During a long and troubled life I took up the guitar and learned well enough to play some gigs in South Florida. I had a trumpet and my neighbor across the street had a piano. I played both for her, at the same time even. But the trumpet wasn't my thing then, and the guitar (I had no piano), being always available, was.

    Fast forward to my 50th birthday, and living back in upstate NY. I received as a birthday present from my always musically supportive parents a flugelhorn. It was beautiful! It sat in my closet for 9 years. Then two summers ago, driven by a manic attack - the beginning of a severe bi-polar episode, I decided to dig it out and take some lessons. I hooked up with a lady teacher, Jane Dunnick, and embarked on what would turn out to be a passionate love of playing the trumpet. The flugelhorn was too out of tune for me to learn on, so I got a trumpet, a strad and that was it. Overnight I was hooked.

    My lessons are wonderful. I learn way more than just trumpet from Jane. She helped me understand how music could be a centering, balancing activity which is restorative to my mental health. Through her tutelage, and good therapy (and medication) I have been able to beat the demons which haunted me for so many years and find peace and serenity in my life. I play my horn on jazz night, using improv skills I learned on the piano and guitar. My house is stuffed to the gills with instruments which are my friends and bring me comfort and solace. I am happy and music is why.

    So thanks to Dad and Mom (Chas and Shirley Hockett) who imbued me with the love of music before I could talk, and who taught me the essentials before I was willful enough to reject them. And to Dan Kimball, who introduced me to the world of jazz and improvization. And to Jane Dunnick, my teacher of trumpet and so very much more.

    And to the lady with the piano across the street in Florida, Val, who is my best friend and the love of my life.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
    MJ likes this.
  10. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Maybe some stories are best untold. I sure didn't mean to kill your thread, Andrew. The too-much-information syndrome has struck again. Poised to edit.

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