By Roger Moisan
Having decided that becoming one of the Mysterious Case Children by taking up the trumpet and raising my status amongst my peers was the way forward, I set off to school armed with a letter from my mum for the music teacher and an appointment was made with the visiting brass teacher the very next week. Unfortunately, Terrance Maldoon, a lovely boy from a musical family, had the same idea. There was only one instrument left in Mr Everest’s cupboard so an impromptu ‘play off’ was arranged. Monday morning came and Terrance and I were led off up a spiral staircase in this creaking old Victorian school to the very top of the building to a small creepy room where the instrumental lessons took place. There could only be one!
Waiting to greet us was Peter Whitehead the brass teacher, also Tuba player in the acclaimed Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and the solitary remaining trumpet. Sitting on the table in its moth eaten mouldy wooden case lay the most exciting object I had ever seen. The musty aroma combined with valve oil and brass polish was intoxicating and is still a smell that excites me to this day. Terrance was up first and he nailed it. A perfect, loud middle G that parted Peter’s hair, bounced around the room and did a little dance before leaving a big smile on Terrance’s face. Wow! I was up next. A big breath… and nothing. Puffing of cheeks, blowing for my life and still nothing. Barring a few pathetic squeaks and pops, absolutely nothing of any substance came out of the end of the trumpet. Unsurprisingly, Terrance got the gig and I was sent away devastated.
A long forlorn walk home without a mysterious case that evening was followed by cheerful supportive comments from my family. Dad pointed out that nothing worthwhile was ever easy and the mere fact that we couldn’t afford to buy me a trumpet of my own was by no means a bar to my entry into the musical world. Off he went to his shed where he set about making me a trumpet out of an old copper water tank and some off-cuts of copper pipes. Dad was a plumber after all so how hard could it be? Several hours passed with considerable banging, sawing and swearing emanating from the shed before a triumphant dad emerged clutching a Heath Robinson esque contraption vaguely representing a trumpet. There was no mouthpiece and the copper made my lips go green but I loved it. A moment in time where I truly loved my dad and for which I will be forever grateful. My musical career was born.
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Much love and happy music making,