When to retire

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by blower, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. blower

    blower New Friend

    Aug 15, 2007
    Peterborough England
    Hi everyone, I am a mature trumpet / cornet player (67) and have been playing since I was 10. I have always enjoyed playing and am heartened that there so many of you out there who are hooked too.
    I have been a reasonable amateur player all my life with a tone that has been commented on many times however in the last few years my playing has been a bit hit and miss even though I made an effort to practice more - I aim to practice at least an hour a day.
    Lately I have been a guest player in a local club 4 or 5 times and can only describe my performance as terrible. My attack is so vague especially in the upper register also I notice the general speed and clarity has dropped off. This is not helped by performance nerves which have become worse as I've got older. I can still play to a reasonable standard when practising alone but even so I can't manage pieces that I could play a few years ago.
    Is this the end?
    I will always try to squeeze out a few notes when alone but can no longer face the disappointment of failing in public.
    Looking at great players of the past (of which I am not one) some stopped playing - Louis Armstrong for one - other continued right up to the end seemingly at full volume and with undiminished range.
    I would appreciate your comments and views on this, I am not too depressed as unlike most of the worlds population I have at least experienced the satisfaction, exhileration and the sheer joy trumpet playing can sometimes bring.
    Most of all I wish you all immense pleasure in brass playing.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The trumpet/cornet is not your problem. It sounds like you haven't even identified the problem. That would be my start instead of thinking about quitting.

    I will play third trumpet in a local band before "giving up". My lifes experience can (and should) help others. There are plenty of things to do for self esteem besides being a soloist.
  3. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    When Rafael Mendez's health issues had destroyed his astonishing ability, he joined a local community band and sat in the section. Playing was still fun for him and he played until his health no longer allowed him to at all.
    If playing is still fun, keep playing. If you cannot achieve the enjoyment of playing, you will
    have to make your own decision.
    Good luck.
    Rich T.
  4. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    I agree with Rich. I am 68 and have played at the amateur level, I guess , my whole playing career, but have had a rich and satisfying time of it, and not close to giving it up. I play as a valued member in 3 bands, including the top notch KCB , that for 40 yrs. Keep at what ever level you can manage and maybe check for some health issues that may be contributing.
    Everyone has a different time line for doing activities they love. Try and maximize yours, maybe by going to other, more achievable opportunities.:play:
  5. mike ansberry

    mike ansberry Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U
    I know this is a bit obvious, but have you looked into getting some lessons? Trumpet players don't quit. They die. And then they get to play in the BEST band. (all trumpet players go to heaven)
  6. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I agree with not giving up. And the opinions above point you in the right direction.
    1. Analyse where your real issue is, and this may mean sitting in with a Band in a lower seat in the section. Take the pressure off your playing level, and conncnetrate on the basics, breathing, intonation, attack etc. Share you knowledge with the section etc.
    2. Don't give up the gig at the local club, that is still a good measure for you (unless it is causing anxiety issues - health issues).
    3. Do not compare yourself with what you used to do, we all age and lose something. Aim to be the best you can.
    4. Remember that unless it is a concert, most gigs are to supply back-ground music for a club or venue; so most people don't know the difference, and appreciate live music rather than an iPod beat-box.
    Lastly, share your knowledge and experience, if you have been a soloist, then why not give a young player a chance to sit you, and you can mentor him.

    The time to retire from playing, is when the lid goes on the box.
  7. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009

    Don't give up. WHat is the reason you have kept playing all of these years anyhow? I bet it was for the enjoyment. Unless you are getting paid and the payer is disappointed, who cares if it isn't perfect. Do the best you can and enjoy it. I too have also played since age 10. Though back in college and shortly after my abilities were much better than today, I still continue. Have never had a great range- and now a high C is the limit-and it isn't always solid-who cares. I'm careful not to take a part that is beyond my ability -or drop a few notes down.

    It is one thing if you are trying to make a living from the horn. If you are doing it for enjoyment -then do it for enjoyment.

    Any particular reason the nerves are giving you trouble. My case was the reverse. In jr and sr high nerves gave me a fit -even ito college. Now at 56 (with about 15 years on the speaking tour) I could care less. Just surprised you say nerves are worse than before. Maybe it is because you are trying to hold yourself to too high a standard.

    Best of luck -but keep playing.
  8. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    of course until you resolve the problem -- might I suggest that you "play within your current capapbilities" -- don't do the high range stuff if it's going to crack or go south on you. there is nothing wrong with 8VB (octave lower).
    you see- until you figure out the problem -- the best thing to do is play at your level, and build confidence and reassurance --- WHEN you keep getting frustrated --- you keep digging a bigger hole to get out of

    just a suggestion. hope tha helps
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    First, I believe everybody knows my dental and health problems which now I Pray are behind me as I attempt to recover my prior playing capability. That said, I want to play again simply because I enjoy it and such I realize does have criteria that I must accomplish ... mostly accurate and full tone in the mode as required. Does my age now of 75 come into effect ... I am not letting it, but I recognize the reality that I may not regain all that I once could when younger.

    Still, in September there is the prospect of a community band forming and it now is my goal to play one of my horns in it, whichever is needed be it cornet, trumpet, F mellophone, tenor trombone, or euphonium. No, I don't presume that I'll be again able to play my picc well so soon but practice on it will be on my agenda ASAP. As many have said I'm an extrovert, I have no stage problem. That I'll attribute to improvement with 2 factors, teacher training and my LEO career, the latter particularly in Court appearances. My overveiw is that some can, and some won't. It is human to make mistakes, but there are methods to correct them. Still, error is less likely to occur with knowlege, skill, practice, rehearsal, or editing.

    Due to disability I was forced to retire from my LEO career and with it also many of my sports interests, but there is no obstacle I forsee that will force me to give up my playing music with exception of my not being able to breath any longer.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  10. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Blower, Age is not your problem. I'm 63 and have played professionally since 1968. Things do change as we get older and a defferent approch may be in order. Of course as Rowuk says you need to identify the problem(s). Do you have a web cam? I would be glad ro see if I can help you, The first one's free. Check out my web site for lessons.

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