Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just admit it...You know the trumpet is the best

Ask any serious trumpet player and they will undoubtedly tell you that the trumpet is the best instrument ever. This is one of those band stereotypes that are totally true! Maybe some day I'll write about band stereotypes like how goofy trombone players are and how much percussion likes making ears bleed, but that'll be another day. Or maybe not, cuz there's not much to it. I'm here to tell you why trumpets are, in fact, the best.

I've used this trumpet since I was in 6th grade, so, like 12 years. It is my favorite instrument I own just because I've had it so long and I'm secretively proud that it's a Yamaha beginner's trumpet that I still used through college (Don't tell anyone). I would have bought a new trumpet if I had $1,000 lying around that I wasn't already using for survival in the deep woods of the Anchorage suburbs. I'm going to try to tell you a few stories that I have shared with this trumpet over the years to show you why the trumpet is so great.

In eighth grade I was a hot-shot, er I thought I was. I was in the Gruening Middle School Jazz Band and, let me tell you, we were good. We mastered classics like chatanooga choo-choo, La Bamba, In the Mood, and other such songs that I thought were the coolest jazz ever 'til I realized they're all not that amazing. Anyways, one day we got to skip class for half the day and go around to the elementary schools and show them our skills. I was certain they all thought we were amazing musicians and they all wanted to be just like us when they grew up. Some 5 little kids at Birchwood elementary shouted out to me when I was walking next to them, "Trumpets Rock!" This confirms the first fundamental of the trumpet's coolness: Everyone knows the trumpet rocks!

I never really understood the trumpet until I was a sophomore in high school in the jazz band at 6:30 in the morning (an hour of the morning a high schooler would only be conscious for for the sake of jazz). Good ole' Boysen told me, "Jon, you need to just play louder and don't give a crap whether the notes are right or not. So get your dad to let you in the church and play in the auditorium so you have to work hard to fill up the room with sound." Of course I never did this because no trumpet player would ever accept help from a trombone player (or anyone really). Don't tell anyone, but I started playing louder. I sucked as much air into my lungs that they could hold and just blared that trumpet. I finally started to get better and realized that trumpet parts are very often designed to just blare out notes really loud and it's not that big of a deal if it's wrong. This confirmed the second fundamental of the trumpet's coolness: Trumpets know how to play loud and it's essential for surviving

So back to the whole playing jazz at 6:30 in the morning. I woke up every day during the last 2 years of high school at 5:45 in the morning so I could play jazz. I wasn't really a morning person and my dad knew it, so one day on the ride to school he asked me why I was willing to wake up at 5:45 for jazz band. I told him that it was the only thing keeping me sane in high school. Honestly, I didn't like most of the people at my school and with my business in taking all honors classes and playing sports every year, the only refuge I had was band. Science and math classes were cool and I had a very small group of friends that I liked outside of band, but band was the only class I ever went to, looking forward to seeing the people. Maybe I'll explain why I didn't like the people at my high school (and why I feel bad about it now) some time later. All that said, band and being able to play jazz trumpet kept me sane through high school. Therefore: Playing the trumpet keeps one sane.

Now, possibly the only legitimate reason the trumpet is cool is because of it's simplicity (which it also shares with the tuba, trombone, and baritone). It is 3 buttons for goodness sake. Pianos have like 66, Saxes, Clarinets, Flutes, Oboes, Bassoons all have a bunch of buttons too. It's like a fixie. The simplicity is just beautiful. Why make the instrument have billions of buttons when your body has the ability to control a significant portion of pitch. On a fixie, you just have to have the ability to ride at different cadences if you want to ride at different speeds. On a trumpet, your lips just need to get tighter or looser if you want to make adjustments to pitch (you can also make all kinds of tones by adjusting your mouth in other ways too). So, The simplicity of the trumpet (and other brass) is beautiful.

That's probably enough for now. Most of the reasons I gave aren't actual reasons and you could easily destroy me in a debate about it. I just like the trumpet and you should too.

1 comment:

  1. I really miss hearing you blast out those notes on your trumpet. I hope you keep on blasting even though you are not still officially a student. Trumpets do rock but I like yours the best.