Introducing Myself. How Do You Do?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by John Bain, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. John Bain

    John Bain New Member

    Sixty years ago, when I was ten years old I joined the brass band at Shirley Oaks children’s home. I’m not sure if I wanted to join or if I was told I had to join. Kids didn’t make their own decisions in those days and I wasn’t much of a joiner-in in those days so I suspect it was the latter.
    The band leader/master/teacher was Mr Parr who unusually in my sad experience of authority figures was a kindly man. Mind you he fell out of favour with me temporarily when he wouldn’t let me play the cornet and insisted I play the baritone because my lips were too fat for the cornet (he may not have put it in those terms but that’s what he meant I’m sure). To me the word baritone didn’t even sound right. The boy next to me played the euphonium and that sounded much more of a proper name for something.
    Mr Parr taught me how to blow into the mouthpiece to get a sound out. No, he didn’t, he taught me to spit into it. If my memory serves he was always pursing his lips and making little spitting noises and blowing raspberries. I think he had done it so much that it had developed into a habit. Thinking about it he probably didn’t get invited to many dinner parties. However, as I say he was a nice old man. Probably not an old man in those days really but seemed like it to us kids.
    Mr Parr had once upon a time been in the band of the Coldstream Guards. When I discovered that fact I liked him even more. Those days just after the 2nd World War all soldiers were real heroes in our eyes.
    None of us could read music very well and Mr Parr used to spend ages writing the valve numbers above each note so we knew which ones to press. Every now and then all us band boys would bundle into a coach and go off to give a concert at some exotic (to us children’s home boys anyway) location such as Banstead and Seven Oaks. Probably only a few miles up the road. Goodness only knows what we sounded like. I can’t imagine we were too pleasant on the ear. But the audiences received us kindly and there was always sandwiches and cakes to make to whole thing very bearable indeed because we were always hungry.
    After about a year I had to leave the band when I went to live with foster parents. That was the end of my musical career. Apart from a couple of days at sea-training school when I volunteered to sound the bugle calls when the regular bugler was too ill to do it. I volunteered on the strength of my time playing the Baritone in the band. Sadly, I forgot how rubbish I had been at it. My bugle calls received lots of comments. People can be so cruel at times.
    Anyway, to cut a long story short. Hahaha! Six weeks ago, when I reached the grand old age of Seventy I decided it was time to learn to play the cornet. I went out and hired one from the music shop. (I hired it just in case it was a passing fad. Well, you know what us kids are like). It was then I discovered I needed to be able to read music too. I bought a book, “A Tune a Day for Trumpet” apparently it works for the cornet too.
    I am really, honestly enjoying it but it is much harder than I anticipated. I wish I could practice for more than half-an-hour a day but the book says not to overdo it and I am obeying the rules.
    The hired cornet (maker unknown) is rubbish I have already decided, so I have bought a second/hand Yamaha on Ebay. It should arrive soon. I hope I have done the right thing?
    Maybe I will get good enough to join a brass band one day, that would be nice? But I don’t think I am good enough to go and audition just yet. Although, and I don’t want to sound boastful here, I did play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star all the way through yesterday. Almost note perfect it was too.
     
  2. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Welcome to tmp and welcome to Banding. Seventy isn't too old to start playing a Cornet, you've got another twenty or so playing years left in you - maybe more.

    I suggest that you contact a few of your local bands and enquire about their training bands. If you're happy to let us know where abouts you are then people can chip in with the names of bands local to you. Training bands will usually lend an instrument out, but the Yamaha you have coming will doubtless be fine.

    Good luck, patience and practice produce results.
     
  3. John Bain

    John Bain New Member

    Thank you for your welcome. I live in West Sussex about halfway between Bognor Regis and Littlehampton.
     
  4. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    You're welcome and I'm somewhat envious of your location, nice part of the world....

    I suspect that Chichester Band is probably your best bet but why not contact a few and check? See this search (from the brass band results website) for details of the others: Brass Bands Map - Brass Band Results

    Edit: Playing with the Band | Chichester City Band
    They have a group especially for beginners of all ages.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
  5. That's a cracking first post/introduction John. I think quite a few members on here have re acquainted themselves with brass playing after varying lengths of time. For me it was about 30 years.
    Your Tune a Day book will help get you learning notes and playing tunes no problem. I still have fond memories of how I ended up playing the tuba as a 12 year old lad. Music teacher started me off on cornet and, over a period of around 6 weeks, I was moved on through the flugel horn...tenor horn...baritone...euphonium..(bypassed the trombone for reasons unknown to me) and ended up on tuba. When teacher said that I had 'found the instrument for my aptitude' I had mixed feelings about it!!
    Just enjoy playing John. The joining up to a band will come very soon.
     
  6. John Bain

    John Bain New Member

    Thanks Stanley. Accrington Stanley? That brings back memories of listening to the football results on the wireless. praying fervently for score draws. Are you playing the Tuba still? I have recently become very fond of a New Orleans band called Tuba Skinny. Have you heard them?
     
  7. Repman

    Repman New Member

    What a brilliant story! Welcome to the world of banding. I would just echo the comments about Tune a Day. I found it very useful when returning after 28 years off.
     
  8. Still on Tuba John. But learning trombone. Haven't heard of Tuba Skinny but will internet search for them.
     
  9. John Bain

    John Bain New Member

    Lots on You tube. I love them. The cornet player is a young woman Shaye Cohne. She is amazing. Actually they are all amazingly talented young people. And their vocalist is Erika Lewis, well, I want to marry her. :)
     
  10. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard, John! And I'll echo the compliments of others about your intro :)

    I'm the same age as you, and didn't start playing until I was 68. I went along and joined a local band, who give me free tuition, loaned me a baritone horn, and have given me bags of friendship and encouragement - so please don't feel you "aren't good enough" to get involved with a band. If you can even play one note, let alone 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star', you most certainly ARE good enough!

    With best regards,

    Jack
     
  11. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Yamaha make good gear, John; even their student models are well made, so as long as previous owner hasn't knocked it about, it will take you a long way - and please keep us posted as to how you get on.

    You say that you are "really, honestly enjoying it" - as far as I'm concerned, that's all the reason you need to keep playing, and that pleasure it gives you will keep on motivating you through the hard work side of it all.

    I was a bit amused to read comments - inluding yours - about not having played for decades; only this afternoon I was talking to a woman who played cornet with our band, and stopped playing for three years when she was doing a degree. She is now back playing cornet, and feeling that she has a great deal of catching up to do . . . :rolleyes: :D I'm sure she'll be just fine - and so will you, John!

    With best regards,

    Jack
     
  12. John Bain

    John Bain New Member

    Thanks Repman. Yes A tune-a day is a clever little book.
     
  13. John Bain

    John Bain New Member

    Thanks Jack, I'm pleased you liked my intro. I find your words about joining a band very encouraging because I am worried about going along a making a fool of myself. Not that someone of our age should really worry about what people think.
     
    Jack E likes this.
  14. John Bain

    John Bain New Member

    I am expecting the Yamaha cornet to arrive tomorrow. I am quite excited about it.
     
  15. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    Welcome John.

    If brass banding doesn't work out for you, please write a book. I (rather ashamedly) usual gloss over introductory posts, but your natural gift with storytelling grabbed me!
     
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  16. John Bain

    John Bain New Member

    Thanks for the welcome 4th, or may I call you Fourth? and your kind words. I have written a book about my childhood, well, an Ebook. I couldn't work out how to do a paperback copy.
     
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  17. Giles H

    Giles H New Member

    Every respect for you JB in your eloquent account of returning to brass - The cornet can serve you well especially a brand you get on with - Plenty of Sussex coastal brass band to choose from to join - Wealden Brass based in Hailsham north of Eastbourne are a friendly non contesting band that could recruit you right now - I was a member 16 years ago and most of the players back then still remain looking at their website http://www.wealdenbrass.com enjoy ....
     
    John Bain likes this.
  18. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I feel sure that the postistive attitude of the non-contesting Band mentioned above is typical of nearly all bands, certainly some non-contesting bands will be able to help the OP and the most important things are to join a group asap and to select the group which (best) will match his needs. The OP's particular part of West Sussex is perhaps less well populated with Brass Bands than some others in the South and his journey time to some might well be OTT. I posted a search above of bands within 15 miles and from that list suggested one near and probably able to support him, in case he is happy to drive further here is a search for bands within 30 miles ( Brass Bands Map - Brass Band Results ). From the results drive times can be rather long as average speeds of less than 30 miles per hour appear to be typical.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
    John Bain likes this.
  19. John Bain

    John Bain New Member

    Thanks everyone for your supportive comments. I have looked up where the local bands are but as I have only been learning for about six weeks (and one of them doesn't count because I overdid it and somehow cut my lip) I really don't yet have the confidence to go and see them just yet.
    My Ebay cornet (Yamaha 233011) arrived yesterday. Sadly the seller wasn't strictly honest as to its condition. The main slide was corroded and stuck fast. It took me several hours to unstick it. I was disappointed and told the seller so. They have offered me a £20 refund. It has cleaned up well and sounds so much nicer than the hired one I have been using. The different mouthpiece will take a bit of getting used too though. It was on ebay originally for £225. I made an offer of £180 which was accepted. With the refund I have ended up paying £160. I think I have a bargain. Anyway, the upshot is I now have an almost perfect instrument with just a couple of small dinks. Last night I held it lovingly in my arms and polished it for ages. She responded to this loving care by shining as brightly as the twinkling little star I play so beautifully.
    Thankyou again. I will let you know how I get on.
     
  20. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I'm glad it turned out well for you in the end, John - and I do hope that you soon find the confidence to contact a band. I can speak from personal experience as to how much of a lift a good tutor can give you, and how many new friends you will find there.

    With best regards,

    Jack
     

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