Why I Play The Trombone
I took up playing trombone way back in 1979. For over 35 years, I’ve been spitting into the narrow end of a long piece of extendable metal pipe. Who would be crazy enough to take on such a humbling pursuit? And, of all the musical instruments available, why the trombone?
The simple reason I took up the trombone was because that’s all they had left.
Was the trombone the best choice of instrument for me to play? I don’t know. The simple reason for taking it up was that it was all that was left in the music department storeroom. I had already developed an interest in music early in high school. Inspired by Norman Gunston, my first musical pursuit was to teach myself to play the harmonica. I saw an advertisement in the ‘New Idea’ with the selling pitch, “become the life of the party”. Excited by this prospect, I posted off my money and a few weeks later received my first harmonica along with a booklet explaining how to play it. Forthwith, I took my first steps along the road to a career in music.
The following year, I bought myself a ukulele. I really wanted to play the guitar, but the ukulele looked easier having only four strings instead of six. In addition, the price of $5.00 made it very accessible. I also purchased a tutor book and I was off again in my next musical quest. Once I could strum a few chords, I bought a neck brace for my harmonica so that I could play both instruments together.
By Year 10, I felt that I was ready to move onto something more serious, so I approached the school’s music teacher and inquired about taking up a ‘proper’ instrument. Being halfway through the year, I was disappointed to discover that all the ‘good’ instrument had already been borrowed. So…what was left?
The music teacher opened the music storeroom, and there were about a dozen trombones. Nothing else. No other instruments. The choice was made for me on that day. We picked out one and I took it home. The following week, I started lessons. I have been playing ever since.
Making The Most Of It
There was never any real love of the trombone. That’s what was available, so that’s what I played. I plodded away and even got accepted into the N.S.W. Conservatorium Of Music. It was there that I picked up the nick-name “Slide”, which I have adopted as my actual name.
Becoming a singer seems to be a natural addition for trombone players. Well known examples are Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews), Nils Landgren and Fred Wesley.
For information about playing trombone, try these links…