It’s amazing how the memories of my early trumpet lessons with my dad have stuck with me over the years. The trumpet was the first instrument I started on at age 7. I later took up piano with private teachers and, for the most part, eventually gave up trumpet after finishing high school.
In spite of dedicating my life to the keyboard instrument, I have indelible musical memories of pieces and exercises that I started with dad on trumpet. For instance, I can still picture him writing out one of the first Clark exercises in my manuscript book, as well as basic note values, and the melody line to The Old Rugged Cross (what I wouldn’t give to find that notebook!). Throughout the years, I have never lost the love I had for the trumpet. I don’t know if all (former) trumpet players do this, but whenever I hear a melody, I naturally start fingering the valves of the notes with my fingers, as if I’m playing (sixteen years later!). These musical experiences must have been so meaningful and formative for me, that the memories have lasted until now.
At some point, I started working out of the Arban trumpet method book, and I remember really loving the longer trumpet solos at the back. Of course, the most famous is probably Carnival of Venice. My dad played parts of it for me, and I know I worked on a lot of it and enjoyed impressing the other high school kids in band class; but I know that the lyricism of the music and the beauty of the trumpet sound was what really drew me to it.
I don’t think we realize the significance of what is absorbed and imprinted on young minds at that early age. I’m so glad that I had a dad who shared his love of music with me and encouraged me…and still does.
In honor of him and those memories, here is Wynton Marsalis playing Carnival of Venice.