Sunday, August 24, 2008

Aiming High

Now that Robin has moved home, we have a room upstairs that is devoted to trumpets.

Some people don't realize that in order to be a professional trumpet player, you are expected to own a Bb trumpet, a C trumpet, an Eb trumpet (which, by switching out certain parts, can also be a D trumpet), a piccolo trumpet, and in some cases, a cornet and a flugelhorn. The latter two are used primarily in jazz and military-style brass bands. The rest are absolutely necessary if you are planning to play for an orchestra. All must be of professional quality. She's got the trumpets, but that's why she hasn't owned a car! I'm just glad she doesn't play tuba; those cost some real money.

This next couple of weeks, she has several auditions coming up, for various regional ensembles. She's been practicing orchestral exerpts 3 1/2 to 4 hours a day. There aren't any days off; it's very comparable to being an elite athelete in that sense.

I have a lot of those excerpts stuck in my head. It's not at all unpleasant to hear her practice, though; quite the contrary, since she is so good. If you have musical children, there will be a period of time when you listen to a lot of rough practicing, but you really have to tolerate that if you want to hear the good stuff later on. When our children were all at home, there was always somebody playing some instrument-French Horn, cornet, tuba, trombone, piano, electric bass, electric guitar, and trumpet, trumpet, trumpet. For a while, Robin even had some younger kids coming to our house for lessons. I hate to say it, but we called those beginners the "baby elephants". They all got pretty good, but there were days when I needed to take a walk to get away from the racket!

I guess there's a lesson here, somewhere. Something about persistence. Something about goals. Something about sacrificing time to develop talent. Remembering that if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time. Well, Robin knows where the bulls-eye is, and she's got it in her sights.

Good luck this week, darling daughter!


JAM said...

That's wonderful. We're in the squeaky stage of violin now - and we've progressed to the very pleasant stage of flute. We're in between on guitar (same child as violin). I just took violin up after a 20 year break when I played viola - not quite the same but close enough when I was starting up again.

Joyce said...

Hmm. I think I prefer the baby elephants to the squeaky strings. And I was so glad we didn't have a drummer! I played viola myself for a while, but finally landed on French Horn, and played that all through college, but my major was in voice.

Lady Sterling said...

Wow, that is so interesting about the trumpets. I was always piano and voice. I drove my parents crazy! Many a times my dad would say, "enough already, can't you take a break?" :-) And that was just piano! No squeaks or elephants, just plinks! Well, I hope all goes well on the auditions and the all the right positions come her way.

CindyW said...

Thanks for the education on trumpets :) I will make sure neither of my girls gets remotely close to trumpets. Kidding. Kidding.

It's awesome that you are so supportive of your children's pursuit even if it means getting your ears hurt for months :)

Joyce said...

k-I didn't mind piano practicing, except that they didn't want to do it! I didn't have to pester them about the other instruments, though.
Cindy-You only need one trumpet if you are just playing in the school band. That's all Robin had until her senior year, when she was doing orchestra, too. I wouldn't want anyone to steer their child away from trumpet because it sounded too expensive:)
I am supportive of her. So many kids are told to base all their career decisions on how easy it is to get a job, or how much money they will make. Those things are important, but mostly I want them to do what they think they were made and meant to do.

Chile said...

That's great, Joyce! I was a lousy trumpet player and hated to practice. I did, however, once have dreams of being a successful pianist. Despite LOTS* of practice and sacrifice, it was not meant to be. I just didn't have the talent. So, I ended up in biology/natural history instead.

*When I was getting serious, 9 1/2 hours per day one summer was still not enough to make me good. *sigh*

Joyce said...

9 1/2 hours a day of anything probably would have cured me of liking it! You showed a lot of dedication even to try that.
I'm sure you still love music and can recognize the effort it takes for someone to give a concert, and all of us musicians need people like you in the audience.