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Trumpet Discussion Discuss When to retire in the General forums; Hi everyone, I am a mature trumpet / cornet player (67) and have been playing since I was 10. I ...
  1. #1
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    Aug 2007
    Peterborough England

    When to retire

    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. #2
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Re: When to retire

    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.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  3. #3
    Forte User richtom's Avatar
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    Dec 2003

    Re: When to retire

    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. #4
    Fortissimo User MFfan's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan

    Re: When to retire

    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.
    Dave Rafferty
    Spartan for Life
    ???? Barrington trumpet
    1968 Besson 2-20 trumpet
    1960's B & H Embassy trumpet
    1967 Conn Connquest cornet
    ???? Devillier (stencil) Trumpet German?
    ???? Besson 609
    1957 Besson 8-10 Trumpet
    Portage Senior Center Dance Band
    Kalamazoo Checkers Swing Band

  5. #5
    Forte User mike ansberry's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U

    Re: When to retire

    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)
    "Music is a fire in your belly that has to come out of your mouth, so you'd better put a horn in the way before someone gets hurt"
    1949/50 Super Recording
    1949 Martin Committee
    1947 Olds Super
    Olds Super/Ultrasonic trumpet
    Olds Recording trumpet
    Olds Mendez
    Olds L-12
    Conn 40B
    Eclipse MR scratch gold
    Bach 37
    Scherzer Picc
    Buescher Mdl 15 Cornet in Bb/C/A (Dad's old horn)
    Boston 3 Star Ne Plus Ultra
    Natural trumpet hand made by my friend Howard Scudder

  6. #6
    Utimate User Peter McNeill's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Melbourne Australia

    Re: When to retire

    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.

    Why do I like a bell that Points UP ?
    - because the spit does not run back into my mouth!

  7. #7
    Fortissimo User SteveRicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Re: When to retire


    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.
    Olds Supers, LA (1953), Ful. (1962)
    Olds Recording, LA (1952)
    Olds Studio, LA (1953)
    Olds Special, Ful. (1964)
    Olds Ambassador, LA (1954)
    Olds Ambassador, Ful. (1973)
    Bach Strads 37-(1967, 1970, 1974, 1982)
    Bach Strad 72 MLV (1973), 72* (1982)
    Kanstul 1500 (2002), 1502 (2008), 1503 (2002)
    Kanstul 1537 (2007)
    Kanstul Chicago (2000)
    Kanstul 1510 C
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    King Liberty 2 (1938, 1944)
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    Kanstul 1525 Flugelhorn

  8. #8
    Utimate User kingtrumpet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    New York State USA

    Re: When to retire

    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. #9
    Utimate User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Jackson NC

    Re: When to retire

    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 by Ed Lee; 06-05-2011 at 01:48 PM.

  10. #10
    Forte User Bob Grier's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Greensboro, NC

    Re: When to retire

    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.
    Bob Grier, An Old Pro
    Web Cam trumpet & jazz improvisation lessons

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