veery715, I liked the story, and it has a good ending.
veery715, I liked the story, and it has a good ending.
Nothing is more contagious or tenacious than music. Once you are exposed it gets inside you and you can never get rid of it. It is also non-discriminating. It can be Ride of the Valkyries, In a Gadda da Vida, the Jeopardy 15 second thinking tune, your most disliked commercial jingle - it doesn't matter. Once triggered, off you go, like it or not.
I enjoyed reading the thread, and it made me think how sad it is every time I hear that another school district is dropping their band program. Ms. Francis was my Jr. high band teacher, and she encouraged me to pursue an idea to form and direct a ragtime ensemble back when "The Sting" was popular... and helped us find venues to play. Alan Jones was my Sr. high band teacher. He was a pro trombone player and knew a lot of pros. He always had time to talk to us about his experiences, hook us up with local pros for lessons, or just sit and listen to our inane banter. Most of all though, he took our shared love of music and helped us to channel it into a pursuit of individual and group excellence. I learned a lot about how to lead, how to follow, and the sort of hard work it takes to succeed from these teachers, just like so many others of you have said. Can't imagine how my life would've turned out without music or these teachers.
Having someone there at a critical time is so important. Once again the old saying "timing is everything" sure applies.
During my jr. high school years I was hanging around the wrong kids. I was in band but the extra curricular activities I found myself in with these kids were heading me towards juvinile court.
Then Maynard Ferguson came to my school and changed my life. I didn't want to hang around the bad kids anymore, I wanted to practice and sound like Maynard. This desire helped me develop a work ethic which helped me later in life and continues to this day. I don't know about anybody else but I'd bet Maynard positively changed a lot of lives by playing in the schools and exposing kids to music and the trumpet.
Boy we sure resurrected this old thread.
Since I am relatively new here, what the heck...
There were so many people who helped motivate and shape my practicing and playing. From old Harry James LP's to my best friend's father, the friendly (and not so friendly) chair competitions between peers, to the thousands of students and professionals I have had the pleasure of being with..
Too many to name.
I can't point to just one person. I am blessed to have had a half-lifetime full of special people.
I will say this, Don Wilcox, former Director of Bands, West Virginia University, picked me for a louisiana style ensemble piece while a guest conductor for a high school state or regional band. I was so excited. I played my 1907 Conn-Querror, he told me he liked it. I still have the tape of the concert.
While I was not a music major, he was a large reason I chose to get my engineering degree from WVU and participate in many music groups there.
(Yes - I have the dreaded 'n+1' virus) -ComeBackKid
Van Cleave MV4
Conn Director Cornet '50's
Let's Gooooo Mountaineers!!!
Walt Laursen was the man who did it for me. A wonderful gentleman and great player. He taught at USC with Tom Steven and . . . oh I've forgotten who else was there in the early '80's.
All the things we worked on I still practice. It's impossible for me to look at my books and not think of him.
One of those men that I wish everyone I know could have gotten to know and study with.
My first (and in many ways best) music teacher was Walter Marcuse, in Hanover, NH. He could play everything, he taught everything, and he really should have been teaching graduate-level college but he never got past a Masters degree. Which was lucky for me. The best thing he taught me, without even meaning to, I think, was patience. I was a horrible student when I started out that summer after 5th grade, and I was horrible through 7th grade. He sat down next to me one June rehearsal after it was over and told me I was horrible, which I had to admit I knew. He pointed out to me that when I was a senior I would be in the same seat (last chair 3rd), which I had to admit was true (it was a 7-12 combined Jr/Sr high school). He told me he needed a euphonium player and would teach me to read bass clef and give me lessons for free over the summer if I wished. I discussed it with my parents and went ahead with the euphonium. That started something for me, pride in my musical accomplishments (few though they were), pride in the countermelodies I got to play, and a better work ethic for practicing. The rest, as they say, is history: I switched back to trumpet my senior year (under a different director as Mr. Marcuse had had a heart attack and had needed to cut back his work load) and have never looked back.
These days when I encounter students who aren't working very hard and don't seem like they care, I look heavenward and say to myself "Mr. Marcuse, this one's for you, thank you!" and I keep on teaching that student and encouraging him/her, knowing that was what Mr. Marcuse had done for me, and knowing that my musical spark didn't catch fire until many years after I had started.
I've had other teachers since then, and they've all had major influences on me, but none has had as great an impact on me as a player, a teacher and as a person, as Mr. Marcuse had.
Old thread, I realize, but I'll give my story. My two band directors I had in school had no interest in me nor knew that I had been doing a lot of performing with old jazz bands (mostly from N. O.) and Big Bands. Of course I played rock and our East Coast religion, BEACH MUSIC, but my successive band directors weren't impressed with our local bands. The man who was to become my instrumental director in my university years heard me play somewhere (I forget where) and asked if he could coach me into competing for a trumpet scholarship. He would come by the high school a couple times a week, pick me up in his cool Caddy, carry me 30 miles to the university's music dept where we would work on choosing the best piece and then working into my ability, and then give me a lift to my house (with a great burger on the way). I was a shy kid in high school. He introduced me to 4 beautiful girls (all important pageant winners...if you can call them important) who became great friends, almost like family. All the guys and girls on campus and at my school thought I was dating all these girls, so I fast became the most popular man on campus in my freshman year. The girls wanted to date the popular guy (we didn't tell them I really was scared of them), and the guys thought they might catch one of my cast-offs...Ha! Well Doc (my inst. dir.) and I worked hard and long until I won the competition. At our honors ceremony, my high school director was floored to hear of my scholarship. A couple years later, Doc was letting me and a couple of my band members help coach his students while he finished his PHD (and his dissertation was published in Grove...I used to like to lie to myself and think I helped him get it there). Later, we hadnt seen each other in ten years because I had just moved back to our state, when he happened to run across my wife. They had never met and one didn't know the other would be at this St Patrick's party (I wasn't in the room at the time). He looked her in the eyes and said, "You have to be married to Bob." She was shocked. He told her she was just like me. Doc became my best friend, brother, and father figure way back then and continued to be a wonderful friend. He believed in me when my director didn't think I had a spoonful of talent or dedication. He and his wife are my best friends today still (next to my wife).
Lots of junk
Washburn guitars (with autographs)
Wood sculptor and primitive flute maker
'71 IH 800B Scout
'86 VW conv.
'96 Supercharged Riviera (never been beat...yet)
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