What You Need to Know About Brass Instruments
When I was 10 years old, my parents finally relented in allowing me to learn how to play the trumpet. I say relented because I first started asking them for a trumpet and the money for lessons when I was about seven years old. I’m sure they had the money for these items (despite them saying that they didn’t). They just didn’t want the hassle of having to hear me practice.
I’m not sure about the reasons for their change of heart, but one day I was walking past the kitchen doorway, only to hear my father telling my mother, “Well, he has been asking for a few years now,” which told me that I had finally hit paydirt.
Soon, with the assistance of a salesman at my local music store, I was picking out a bright and shiny new trumpet to learn with. The truth is, I’m not so sure now how much that even that salesman knew about trumpets since he recommended a trumpet that was nearly as big as I was, but that didn’t matter since I was now the proud new owner of a trumpet. I was the envy of all my friends.
That Was Yesterday
It seems like only yesterday that I made that purchase, and for the nearly 50 years since, I have thanked my lucky stars for that day. I have played trumpets and many other brass instruments practically every day since. Today, not only do I enjoy playing brass instruments, but I teach the subject to middle school students who share my love of the music with me.
People ask me frequently why I chose music, specifically playing brass instruments, as a career. Fortunately, the answer is easy: I love music, and I have always been enamored of trumpet players who so often take center stage during music selections to display their skills. I can remember since I was a child wanting to be that man, front and center, showing off his skills.
This is Today
There is a lot for not choosing music as a career. It’s tough to get started, and that’s even after you take countless hours of lessons and practice. The truth is, however, that if you love music, and the joy of performing and teaching others, there is nothing like it.
Even though I have played and taught music professionally for more than 35 years, I have much to learn. In fact, there is much I need to unlearn about playing brass instruments, but there is probably no profession where you can actually not be the very best at what you do and still be able to play and teach what you know.
Nearly everyone who learns that I teach students how to play brass instruments ask me, “What if my child has a problem with (whatever it might happen to be)?” The answer to that is usually easy because, for every seeming disadvantage that they can give, I can give them the name of a student or former student who had the same disadvantage and overcame it. I’ve had students who were mentally and physically challenged, those who just had a hard time with correct technique and much more who are now virtually virtuosos.
Besides a love for music, the only common factor that successful students have is their attitude. So many of them decide that for whatever reason, they want to learn how to play a particular instrument, and that drive, that passion keeps them going for many years to come. This is the way it was for me, and today I have students in their mid-40s who are still playing. Some even play brass instruments in bands and orchestras of all types.
There is a lot to learning how to play any instrument, including brass. Not only are there many different types of instruments, but there are many different methods of learning, but the good news in all of this is that regardless of what particular instrument you learn to play and how you learn, you will experience the same joy of learning how to play music.
Better yet, you never stop being able to learn and advance your skills, even after so many others have given it up for supposedly better things. Learning to play music is a joy like few others.