Just Like Medicine – Only Better

It started with Cliff who in September last year asked why we don’t have a brass instrument group for adult learners. Good question said I and I joined a group for whom Michelle coined the name “Last Chance Brass”. The pioneering nine of us no less.

I was a bit slow in the lolly scramble and ended up with an instrument no one else wanted to lift up, let alone play and otherwise known as a bass. Chris Clinch (bless him) accepted our kind offer to take the group and we ventured forth into the great unknown otherwise known as ‘banding for beginners’. After a few weeks of me making noises like a hyena being strangled, I asked Tom Daniels for a lesson or two. The occasional ‘note’ began to be discernable in amongst a cacophony of noise. Then …. and gradually …. thick and fast they came at last and more and more and more (apologies to the oysters). In fact there were often more notes than were required by the score. As I learnt, you don’t play a note when the composer has had the audacity to insert what are known as rests into the music especially if you play a bass. Thank you to Chris for pointing this out to me (and maybe a few others). I had also heard Kerry mention this once or twice at senior band rehearsals so we were in good company on that one.

Another lesson that became apparent before long was that there is a strong positive correlation (sorry but I teach statistics) between the quality and range of notes and a thing called amount of practice. My piano teacher 45 years ago was right after all. There are also things called ‘eureka’ moments and one of mine was when Tim explained what lip slurs were all about and even better those lip slurs where you are not required to change the valves and you play several successive intervals! Onwards and upwards (apologies to C S Lewis).

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