Celebrating Life

Trumpet, a dream yet alive at 66!

            Trumpet of Praise

When I started trumpet in my youth I was told by the band director that my lips were not conducive to playing the trumpet. He said my lips especially my lower lip was too thick to play trumpet. He wanted to switch me to trombone or baritone. But I loved the trumpet and continued with it. In school I was a shy and compliant to all my teachers but to him I became a disciplinary problem because I disliked him and never knew why until now. I daily felt him standing in the way of my dream.

His advice devastated me yet I believed him. As a result I practiced little and played tentatively when someone could individually hear me. Not good technique for a trumpet player. As I thought my lips were not conducive to playing high notes, I never tried to reach higher than the 2nd trumpet parts.

Many years of on and off again with the dream still alive in my heart, I played occasionally in church brass ensembles. Now at the age of 66, I have come to realize that my first director was incorrect.

This year, studying everything I could find out about the embrasure (positioning of the lips, tongue and facial muscles on the mouthpiece) and practicing several hours a day I have found that a number of professional trumpet players have similar physical attributes. There is no one embrasure that is correct for everyone. Each person is an individual and must arrive at their optimum technique.

A couple of days ago I reached and sustained an E above high C. A first for me for as a youth I rarely reached the G below high C. My goal is to consistently be able to play G above high C. (I'm only a step and a half away) And my impossible dream is to get up to an octave above high C. Impossible or not I will continue to reach for it.

It saddens me to know that sometimes, especially when we are young, we let others either ignorantly or purposely set our limits for us. As a result I consistently tell others, let no one tell you what you can or can not accomplish. It is for you to set your own boundaries not someone else.

I am presently blessed to have been asked to be a member of the praise team at "The Tabernacle in Branson". To sing and improvise as a solo trumpet. Another new stretch for me as I have always played from a score, but one that is an opportunity and answer to a prayer. God be praised. I am having a blast. I am stretched and progress daily.

Update year later: It has been a blessing as God gave me a dream of becoming a trumpeter of praise. What a year of work has made. I now play in a praise group and continue to becoming stretched daily in range, intonation and style. Learning to play by ear has been gratifyiing and I thank God for His continued education and stretching me.