I have just had my 50th birthday and it isbasically (I think) the second anniversary of my comeback.
The first year was spent learning music fundamentals through the Rubank Elementary System (loved it). But as I progressed in range and endurance, I had questions my teacher could not answer because she was a double reedsperson. She was/is a great teacher. I eventually found a trumpet teacher with excellent credentials. I have spent the past year focused on the physical aspects of playing using Clarke, Schlossberg, and some home grown approaches with Don Johnson, Rainer Schmidt. Range and endurance shot through the roof (relativeto the previous year). However, I got caught (my own fault) in mental trap ofplaying the exercises as an end unto themselves. I totally neglected music fundamentals. While it was great to have such progress inthe physical aspects of playing, all the tone, range, endurance, and articulation means nothing without something to say musically (quote from JohnThomas DVD).
Why do I say all this? It is because I lost a golden opportunity. I have access to music rooms where I work, and the conductor of the university concert band watched my dedication over the past year and asked if I would come out on third trumpet. When the baton came down I was paralyzed. My rhythm, counting, timing and sight reading skills are still at an elementary level. At difficult passages, I would slow down, get behind, and then get completely lost. I am lost most of the time except for the easiest of passages. So, I am “bowing-out”out of respect to the conductor and the rest of the ensemble who are at aconsiderably higher level than I am (i.e., university versus elementary). The conductor is a wonderful, kind, and patient man who has encouraged me to play for the first time in from of others. I owe him a great debit of gratitude. But, there is a moment of truth that I haveto face out of respect to the larger group.
Where am I now? Asa former body builder the next step is very clear. Maintain the strengths while attacking the weakness with a vengeance. So, I have joined a local community band. It attacks my weakness directly. Once aweek we get together for two hours and “sight read” the repertoire. There are over 90 pieces that we will have to practice over the year, to give weekly concerts during the summer. So, I will get “on the job” training wherein the cost of a scuffed note or getting lost is not as great as at a single “highbrow”event. My second practice session is now for pure music fundamentals. I have two books from the Colin’s catalog, “RhythmsComplete” and “Easy Steps to Rhythm” which I am using with a strict attention anduse of a metronome. My teacher and I are now focusing on sight-reading skills and during my trumpet lessons.
The advice on TM has been an excellent resource for me. I add this cautionary tale as I have read many posts over the past year and ignored the advice to “play music”, to my own detriment. I really understand now that I was “practice room warrior”. The past couple of months have been a very humbling experience. In closing, I want to say that I am now the youngest person in the trumpet section. The first trumpets are in their 80s. They play with such grace and power, if you closed your eyes, you would have no idea how old they are. I am glad to know that I have a future starting at 50. Playing in the community band is such a great "high".
Thank you all for your time, patience, and advice the past two years.