Copyright © 2015 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.
When I was in kindergarten, I went to a school that was a couple blocks away. My oldest brother was in 4th grade and often, when he came home he would have one of his friends with him. Late in the school year, he came home with Wayne Arnold, who was starting the band program and had his trumpet with him. He took it out of the case and I marveled at the brilliance of the Olds Ambassador in front of me. I asked him if I could hold it and he let me. It was heavy. I remember that I intentionally didn’t ask if I could play it. I thought that was going too far, but I knew at that moment that I was going to play trumpet.
Music has been a big part of my family. All of us have a certain amount of musical talent, although my mom and my oldest brother (both pianists) got the lion’s share of the talent. I’ve had solid passion for trumpet for most of my life and even though I accepted in college that I didn’t have the ability to be a professional player, I’ve kept at it. I’ve played everything from Baroque to Big band and liked it all. I’ve also found that it is important to make music. If I don’t, I get sick, first emotionally, then it carries over.
It’s been a pleasure to share this in a small degree with Alice. Today we sat down again for another 10 minute practice session and this time I recorded a little bit of it. We started again doing some buzzing exercises:
Then we went on and did some Simon Says for fingering, and finally some honking on the horn:
I’m very happy that she’s getting joy from playing. I get joy from playing and vicarious joy is nearly as potent.
I can’t say exactly what it is about playing music that is so powerful for me. It might be that it’s so intensely personal and emotional. It might be that with an instrument I can actually sing – I’ve hated the sound of my own voice both speaking and singing since I was young. It might be that with an ensemble there can be a richness in harmony that is greater than the sum of the parts and raises goosebumps. I don’t know that Alice will hear a Bach fugue the way I do, but seeing her smiling and laughing and clearly enjoying a shared experience is precious.