Well, I'll be 60 years old on 9-17 and I started 8 weeks ago. This is my first post so it's an introduction, I suppose, as well. Sort of a weird story. I played the French Horn in H.S. and the first 2 years of college. I was pretty advanced on the horn at that time but just was interested in too many things. I switched my major from music to animal science and joined the rodeo team at Cal Poly. A lifetime, three careers and two marriages later, my current wife took me to a pentecostal church, which I attended under protest but these days I think whatever the wife is, you are, so I went. I told her I didn't want to get involved in the gossip, the cliques or whatever but I'd go. We walk in, sit down and just as things started some lady stood up and blasted what a later learned is a shofar. I was like, "what the heck is that thing!" I turned to my wife and said: "If somebody brings out a snake, I'm out of here!" We were training a service dog at the time and I was so good at not getting involved that a year later I found out that everybody in the church thought I was blind and they were all praying for me and stuff.
Anyway, after a while, I was like: "that lady that blows the shofar sucks, I bet I could do better." So I got one and sure enough, my french horn days came back and I could play more notes on the thing than they'd ever heard. Tuns out, though I was born and raised Catholic, I was born on Rosh Hashanah in 1955 in a Jewish hospital. That's the day they blow the shofar in the Jewish temples. It's called "festival of the trumpets" in christian churches. And it's only fallen on my birthday 3 times in 60 years including the day I was born. So maybe it was meant to be.
In any event, one day the church said they needed a trumpet for some of the music they do on Sunday. So I rented a trumpet two months ago and started taking lessons. I could already read music and transpose in my head from my horn days but the trumpet is way different from the horn. One of the things I learned blowing the shofar was that I could reach much higher notes of I placed the mouthpiece lower on my mouth. When I played the horn, my teacher was super strict about the whole 2/3 upper, 1/3 lower thing and I always struggled with the upper register on the horn. When I picked up the trumpet, I started playing wherever the mouthpiece felt right (didn't have a lesson yet) and I found that the upper register (not extreme, just to high C) was much easier with the mouthpiece placed far lower, maybe 1/3 or even 1/4 upper and 2/3 or 3/4 lower. So I took my first lesson and my teacher said that I was really lucky that the higher notes were so easy for me. And, I supposed, had no idea what that they were supposed to be hard because I thought the upper register was above high C. After 8 weeks I can usefully use the notes up to about E above high C and can hit, but not use a double high C.
What I am struggling with is tone. My teacher says it's good for my level but maybe I"m used to the horn's mello sound and I'm not at all happy with the sound I"m getting. I've been listening to players like Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Wynton Marsalis and Chris Botti. I love Botti's lyrical, mellow sound, but I cannot emulate, though I'm trying. I'm playing on a Schilke S32 with a Yamaha 154b. I also have a C.G. Personal that has a much deeper cup that I picked up at Kanstul (if you are ever in Anaheim, check the place out, it's spectacular) but it doesn't get the sound I'm looking for either.
I realize I've only been playing 8 weeks, but I have a good ear, I practice a couple of hours a day (I practiced the horn 4 or more hours a day but I was younger and didn't have a job then). I play all the fundamentals (Clarke, Arban, etc.) for structure, I record myself to get a perspective on my sound. I love having brass back in my life. Any tips would certainly be appreciated.
I'm glad to be here! Please forgive any typos.