Bad trumpets ruin band concerts. Life Lesson #36

Bad trumpets ruin band concerts.  Or as Mr. Carlson said “When in doubt, leave it out.”


Mr. Carlson was our band teacher. I think that God has a special place in heaven for band teachers. Ah, the pain of teaching a child the oboe, are you kidding me? The only higher place was for the substitute band teacher, who didn’t know what we had all switched instruments for the day. But that is a post for another day. We made the poor grown man cry.

I played trumpet and started out well. Then the reality hit that I wanted to play basketball more than trumpet. But I couldn’t quit because we had invested a lot of money in that trumpet. So I was forever destined to 2nd chair trumpet. I could sight read well enough to not sit at the bottom, but never practiced, so I wasn’t 1st chair material.

3 or 4 times a year, we had to play a concert for our longsuffering parents. Hugh’s parents were always proud. The guy was serious about his trumpet. Stephanie’s parents were there. She could play a sax. Seriously. The rest of us? Well, we just somehow survived.

Before each concert, Mr. Carlson would give us a good dose of realism.

“When in doubt, leave it out.”

I remember Gretchen, our bold Oboe player, ignored the advice, went for the high note, and missed. Yeah, memorable for all the wrong reasons.

My friend Paul tells me that police officers are trained with a variant. When in doubt, don’t.  In most situations, good advice. How many times have I been in doubt about a decision and looking back, leaving it out would have been wisdom.

Not always applicable, but part of my decision making tree.







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