Call me brass player road kill. I admit it. For nine years of my precious youth I practiced religiously, first attempting to conquer the trumpet, and then as the god of high range did not answer my prayers, I jumped ship and swam to the trombone row boat. I made it as far as college jazz ensemble, but finally, at age 22, I was done. I accepted that I wrestled with the plumbing for the better part of a decade, and the plumbing won.
It was painful going. I had been dedicated, practiced hard—in other words, performed the requisite sacrifice—and expected the gods to do their part. But they only modestly responded. Yet they bestowed their graces liberally on other boys I met along the way, and some of these I know did not practice as hard as me. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t understand why I was being marginalized from something I wanted so badly. Eventually I watched myself veering away from the center lane towards the brass highway shoulder, and I took the next exit. I sold the horn the following year.
I know I’m not the only jilted lover to be blown out the brass players’ spit valve. Continue reading