Meet Nick, the newest member of the Normans Team:
As a little ‘getting to know you’ we have asked Nick to share a little about himself and his history in Music. He could have focused in on his years as a Professional Trombone Player, or his experience in Music Education.
Instead he decided to have a look at his ‘oops’ moments…
I have played the trombone for nearly 40 years now, and in that time I have been responsible for 2 ‘incidents’ resulting in my trombone being rendered unplayable!
The first was shortly after I had started playing aged 12. It was my school trombone: An old brass Boosey & Hawkes instrument which smelled of Brasso and had, if I’m honest, seen better days.
It was the evening before one of my first concerts, I was excited and enthusiastic. I was told that to clean a trombone properly you should bath it? It made sense. It was a large instrument and would fit perfectly into the bath. I swilled it and soaped it to free it of all the nasties that can congregate in a brass instrument.
Job done, now all I needed to do was dry it.
The slide was full of water, and obviously a towel would not do. So, I used a ‘flapping’ and ‘swatting’ action as if I was cracking a whip to rid the slide of its liquid excess. Unfortunately, aged only 12, I had not estimated my proximity to the hard porcelain bath edge, or that of my own enthusiastic flailing arms!
The slide hit the bath and duly split and bent at an angle that can only be described as acute! Panic, scared, anxious. Was this the ‘finale’ of my playing career with no encore, and just because I wanted a clean trombone?
My second ‘incident’ was not this time due to an accident or overzealous cleaning, but down to a fellow Music School colleague and close ‘friend’ called Andy. Playing trombone in a classroom for 6 hours day in day out results in many things; wonderful technique, tone and stamina, full knowledge of repertoire, occasional moments of immature exuberance and………a gathering of warm, unhygienic spit in the end of your trombone slide constantly. Well. Andy, before we departed for a two-week deserved Easter break, thought it would interesting – in a scientific experiment sort of way – to put a small runner bean plant seed into my trombone to see what would happen. That’s what friends are for!
On my return to the classroom, I resumed my intense practicing regime.
Two weeks without practice had taken its toll…or so I fretted. My tone was insipid, my intonation suspect, my breathing and sound projection dismal. Andy was in hysterics at my plight and dismay. It was then, on closer inspection of my beautiful Conn 8H, that I saw what can only be described as ‘horticulture’ emerging up the inner slide! Lessons had been learned. You must regularly thoroughly clean and disinfect your trombone.
And you must care and protect the slide and bell section from damage…and ‘friends’ called Andy!
In summary, never let him near a Whip and he’s not much of a gardener. Good to know.