Regretting nothing and melting down the brass.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Mesmerist, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Once you stop playing, for whatever reason, do you believe you would ever want to go back?

    Without wishing to cause the slightest upset to anyone, I confess as a non player/outsider, the world of contests and banding now seem alien and remote. I can enjoy photos of people in an ex-band winning (Well Done Hyde!) without the slightest desire to be there. The relentless practice, rehearsals, time away from family, the tie and the bewilderment of friends who have never played all take their toll. Is it heresy to debate ceasing to play on a brass band forum? When and why might you stop?

    PS No nasty comments please this is a well intentioned post. I know a great flugel player who took 10 years off then went back at the highest level. Is he the exception?
  2. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    I stopped playing for over 10 years. Then when I moved to the countryside, my wife kept on at me to find a band. I did eventually do so, and played with them for 7 years on solo horn.

    I got bored with it again and left early last year.

    I now play trumpet in an orchestra. Much more civilised. No fetes, carols or contests. Only downside is the music parts are pretty easy and counting all the rests. I practice more now though, which is strange. Will I go back to brass bands? No, not unless Cory or Dyke give me a ring. And that will never happen, unless it's to drive the kit van.
  3. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    After growing up playing in SA bands I stopped for 7/8 years.

    Started again, and 25 years later my only regret is the 7/8 years I missed out on.

    The band politics is frustrating, contesting is confusing, carol playing is cold, fetes are unrewarding but some how I still love it. :)
  4. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I played from age 11 to 25, but then gave up brass bands for 18 years though I still played professionally for the whole of that time. I returned to banding aged 43 and did nearly 20 years before retiring. I do regret the 18 years I missed in one way, but it did enable me to branch out and experience other things. It was nice to come back though and and I enjoyed much of my second spell ~ Banding's in the blood I reckon !

    ~ Mr Wilx
  5. DRW

    DRW New Member

    Isn't this simply a case of "one man's food is another man's poison"?

    There are 5 players (that I know of) in my band that were avid players who took a break and then returned to be fully committed and keen members.

    Different people have different priorities at different times in their lives. Thanks to the OP for sharing yours with the group :)
  6. iffytboner

    iffytboner Member

    I started playing from age 11 and ended up with a champ section Yorkshire band in my late teens. After moving south to uni and playing with a couple of bands in the Bristol area, I stopped playing altogether in my mid 20's because of work / family commitments. I returned to Yorkshire and to banding last year am am really happy playing with 2 non-contesting brass bands and a dance band and doing a bit of depping for higher bands. In my opinion it's the playing and entertaining that matters not the contesting. that's where the enjoyment comes from for me and you avoid the monotony of playing the same piece 200+ times only to be told by the adjudicator that it's useless (or should I say doesn't match his/her interpretation of how it should be played)
    I know lots of players that have done the same as I have so don't melt it down yet - hang on and see what happens
  7. MrSopranoMan

    MrSopranoMan New Member

    Interesting question.

    I stopped for a bit and now wished I hadn't. I'm actually enjoying banding more than the things I gave up banding for...!

    I do get what you mean looking at the banding world from the outside, and it was some of the things you mentioned that drove me away. Happily though, I've managed to find a good balance and I've been enjoying good times with friends and making music, even the poxy carols & fetes! Playing sop sometimes produces an adrenaline rush which helps too!!:D

    I've seen many good players driven away for the reasons you describe though - in some cases their careers have a big influence and of course there is the family aspect. It pains me to see players stop because of the politics, though.
  8. nighttempla

    nighttempla New Member

    I played from age 10 to 16 and got to be a reasonably good cornet player by the time I packed it in.
    I intended to take a break for a few months, which turned into 22 years, during which time I did not even pick up the instrument.
    I can’t think what prompted to me to start playing again at nearly 40, but 4 years on, despite dedicated practice, I'm still not as good as I was. I will always wonder how good I could have become if I had not packed it in and will never get those years back.
    Giving up is one of my greatest regrets in life. I'm sure there are loads of people who never return to playing though and never look back. Each to their own.
  9. brassbabe

    brassbabe New Member

    Hi all. I've been wandering about on here for weeks but have finally got round to posting! I've thought hard about what to write since this thread was posted and got nowhere so think I'll just type and send, hopefully this will be vaguely understandable!

    I played (ridiculously happily) from the age of 11 to my early 20's, having one or two short breaks in that time but always went back. I've returned to it now at the age of 34 following over ten years of not playing at all apart from a couple of funerals in that time. To explain the whys I left, how I felt about banding, how much I wanted to go back etc would take me hours but suffice to say after about 5 years away I married another then non player who I'd known from my time with the band. We always said we would go back when the kids were old enough to put up with it. However, we were asked to play at a funeral earlier this year and I left the euph on the kitchen floor where the 5 year old got hold of it and managed to get notes out. Following quick research re teeth we took him to the junior band practice and he's been going ever since, loving it and doing well. I think it took less than a month for my husband and I to be back with the main band again...

    I'm struggling in a lot of ways, I hate that I'm nowhere near the standard I was (I was never an amazing player but never had to work particularly hard to survive!) and it's taking a lot of practice to become consistently average. I'm finding it hard to fit back in again, there are so many new players (there are about 8 that I knew well previously) and I'm very much feeling like the new girl at school. I feel quite lost when my husband isn't there too (I can't believe I feel like that, much less that I admit it!!) but this will stop over time. It would have been very different going to a completely new band, not sure how that would've worked, better or worse? Who knows. I certainly wouldn't have taken my son anywhere else even though we have a bit of a drive to practices.
    Regrets? Hmm. I regret not keeping up playing in one way or another, mainly because of the frustration of having to learn to play properly all over again. It's heartbreaking that a couple of the old band members who taught me are missing now and they and my dad won't get to see my son learn to play :( Other than that, I love the poxy fetes, love the poxy carols, love marching although it appears we don't do much anymore, don't like sitting on a seat that doesn't have 'solo' anywhere in it's name (not that I'm anywhere remotely near up to that and the part I'm playing is surprisingly interesting and very pretty) My husband is itching to get back to a different seat but has had a chance to do a bit of conducting again which he's missed. We'll see whether the 2 year old wants to play, she wanders around at home blowing into a mouthpiece so she's got potential... The main problem is paying for babysitters, we're already struggling with 2 or 3 times a week, but hopefully if they both end up playing this will fix itself in years to come.

    All in all, that's it, we're back and staying and couldn't be happier. By the way, the adrenaline rush mentioned above can, I think, be found playing any part :)
  10. DRW

    DRW New Member

    Welcome! You sound very much like someone in my band. Although in them I don't recognise the 'struggling to get back to standard' bit. :)
  11. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    A really heartwarming post to read and you sound to be a family born to banding ~ It's in the blood !
    I hope you and yours enjoy many years of music making in this great hobby of ours, good luck.

    ~ Mr Wilx
  12. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    I recognise so many of the feelings and emotions expressed in other posts.
    I am not playing at present and it leaves a big gap in my life.
    Banding never leaves you, it just changes it's position in your 'priority' list.
    Now that I have time to commit, I can't find a band.
    I have had gaps of a year or two. Getting back into it, to a decent standard, never takes more than a couple of weeks (even though I don't own an instrument and am unable to 'keep my lip in'!!)
    Talk of retirement from playing, never becomes anything but a break.
    As others have said, it's in your blood.
  13. The Godfather

    The Godfather Member

    You have entirely summed up my position. My likely permanent move north, and reduced workload may allow me to really get back into banding on a regular basis.
  14. brassbabe

    brassbabe New Member

    Yes Sir, MD Sir ;) Says a lot about my standard 'pre-break' then doesn't it...

    Nice to hear we're not the only ones with it well & truly under our skin :)
  15. GordonH

    GordonH Active Member

    We recently had someone come back after a 35 year lay off who played 3rd horn in a contest two weeks later!

    I actually detest contests. It was the thing that made me most reluctant to go back to a band, but having a requirement for regular practice in the band means my chops are in good form for the fun things I do on the side (trad jazz, big band, baroque stuff etc).

    Even when I have not been in a band I have listened to brass band records and gone to concerts. I think I am a brass fan rather than a player so even when I eventually give up playing I will probably still be around.
  16. Backrowdiva

    Backrowdiva Member

    You sound like my Dad, he's not played for 20 something years, and every so often I try to tempt him back, he enjos the palyind, hates contests, but the main reason is he detests all the politics involved at every level, but knows he couldn't just turn up play and go home like some people do. (I guess I must take after him, I'm Chairman/woman/person whatever you want to call me) of one of the bands I play in.
  17. Steam Driven Cornet

    Steam Driven Cornet New Member

    I gave it up for around two years, although am 'helping' (if you can call it that!) them out over the Christmas period, as a few of the cornet players tend to mark themselves as 'unavailable' for most, if not all, of December - pity, as it's my drop-dead favorite time of the year so far as banding is concerned.

    On the flipside, said players who are unavailable throughout December seldom miss a contest - and I have no interest in contesting and, when played reguarly, always marked myself unavailable for those - so each to their own!

    Anyhow - I'm undecided on whether to stick around subsequent to the christmas gigs - it'll undoubtedly be little other than pre-contest practicing, which doesn't appeal to me. I'll admit thought that this is very likely due to the fact that I am, at best, a mediocre player and can't see myself ever playing anything other than bottom 3rd cornet.
  18. euphymike

    euphymike Member

    I stopped playing a brass instrument in about 73 and started palying another instrument for a living. shows, palais, studios. Alas as you get older and more cinical you get edged out by younger keener players. So about 6 years ago I went back to bands and to my amazement very little had changed. It was like I had put it down and picked it up a few moments late. Same marches, same show stuff etc. However I do find it enjoyable. Alas i love the buzz of contesting because its the same buzz of the recording studio where when the red light goes on it has to be perfect in one take!!!!!
    So i guess, I love band! as the saying goes.
  19. dave p

    dave p New Member

    Stopped playing in '95 after 30 years due to an illness which I thought would only be temporary. Unfortunately my condition stops me from marching (which my last band did a lot of) or sitting down "still" for long enough to compete in concerts or contests. Decided in '97 that I wouldn't ever be able to return and that the only way to go forward was to give up home playing and remove completely from the scene. My dad who had taught me from when I was seven and with whom I'd nearly always been in the same bands with carried on for a while until age and "it not being the same without me there" made him retire a few years later so the break was now final! (he'd been hoping that one day I would go back and kept me informed about the band and the members).

    Since he passed away 3 years ago I find myself listening to band
  20. [OCUK]Kitchster_uk

    [OCUK]Kitchster_uk New Member

    I started at 8 and played in my local band. My tutor at school decided that I should play French Horn and I took that a long way, and but always played for the band. I studied music at uni but wasn't going to hit the required standard to go pro and at 22, I just stopped altogether. It was another 18 months and a chance encounter at work, brm's I met the treasurer of a local band in the North West where I had relocated. She suggested dropping down for a toot. That was 10 years ago and I'venot looked backk. It's been tough juggling work , a pretty serious health problem, a divorce and three moves around the North but nothing could beat the feeling of winning at the Nationals this year. I love going to band and really would struggle to stop now.

    As for the future, I may manage another 20 or so years before my condition means I can't keep playingat a rreasonable level but will cross that bridge as and when. I want a crack at top section before then.

    I don't really regret the 18 months out, it made me realise what I had. My only advice is make sure you enjoy your banding. There are enough bands out there and if one isn't making you happy, move on!