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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) The aging trombonist (and how to do it gracefully)
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Torobone

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« on: Nov 11, 2017, 08:01AM »

This topic has been on my mind for a while. It came up today on the Trombone Pedagogy Group on Facebook, and it warrants further discussion.

Through my years in bands, I've had friends whose playing changed. One good older friend, after some questionable long tones in the middle register, announced: "I have old man's tone". He started practicing more and working on it. Whatever he did, he got back to his old self.

Some 20 years later, I found myself wondering on how to avoid playing problems as I age. Around this time, I found an exercise on Al Kay's website with this tech tip. http://alkay.ca/documents/clinic_sheets/alkay_playloud_e.pdf
I couldn't play the 3-note self evaluation to my satisfaction until I changed my embouchure, and this has allowed me to build embouchure strength as I practice daily.

With the number of colleagues who are struggling with playing issues as they age, I've been trying to find a way to discuss this and show my friends how to deal with it. I do play with a group of pro retirees who are playing at high levels into their 80s so it can be done. Other friends are in denial.

I raised this aging topic with an 80 year old trumpeter friend, and his answer was short: "Perhaps they never had it in the first place." Ouch, but likely accurate.

What are you doing that helps you?
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Martin Hubel
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 11, 2017, 11:15AM »

One exercise that stands out for me is this one from Jeff Reynolds.

Start at, say, F  , drop a fourth to C  , then up a fifth to G 

Half notes. Use different dynamics.

Move the pattern up and down. Eg. Chromatically down to E-B-F# or up Eb-Bb-F.

Good for strength, range, tone.
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 11, 2017, 11:16AM »

I took up the cello.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #3 on: Nov 11, 2017, 02:55PM »

Big problem for me!

In 2016 I was playing lead trombone in three big Swing bands, plus two Traditional Jazz bands. In 2017 I had to pull out of all these bands because of a fast declining lip, caused by a host of old age problems.

I still practice every day but nothing seems to improve the situations of no reliable top range (or even reliable tonguing at all), a rotten tone, insufficient air for long notes, and no stamina.

I do not have suggestions for exercises that improve playing in old age, because I have not found any that work. However, I do have one warning. For a while I was practicing with a Yamaha Silent Brass, which allowed me to play somewhere near my old high range. But as soon as you take out the mute, the range is gone. Yeah, RIGHT. This suggested to me that resistance is a factor, and therefore I got out my old Christian Lindberg Resistance Balancer. Loaded up with the maximum weights, this did help a little bit when unmuted, but nowhere near enough to resume my old playing status.

Because the range needed is a lot lower and to try an retain my interest, I have decided to return to my old concert band and sit in on second. And just do my best.

I took up the cello.


I wish I could play the cello. Closest I get to that with a stringed instrument is a yuke. :D  But I am going to do a lot more arranging because I have some ideas to make our local community band/s a lot more entertaining.   

On the playing side, I am going to watch this topic with a great deal of interest. Good!   
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 11, 2017, 03:02PM »

If resistance helps the range, maybe a tighter throat and backbore will help.  I don't know where you would go from a Bach 11C (maybe a Jet-Tone A?) but for example a Wick 4AL you can go to a 4BL and get a smaller aperture.
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 11, 2017, 03:08PM »

What is the age that this kicks in?
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 11, 2017, 03:19PM »

What is the age that this kicks in?

It's different for each of us.  But it gets harder and harder to hit those really high notes.  You use the middle of your range more.  Suddenly the 1st trombone parts are uncomfortable.

Dunno where I am on the spectrum.  We have Max Croot playing shows at 89 and I know a few guys who are under 60 and can't play a high G.
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 11, 2017, 03:53PM »

I don't feel like it's a range problem (for me). 

It's a problem with the time it takes to get warmed up so that it sounds like the good old days, and some days it never happens.
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 11, 2017, 04:11PM »

This topic has been on my mind for a while. It came up today on the Trombone Pedagogy Group on Facebook, and it warrants further discussion.

Through my years in bands, I've had friends whose playing changed. One good older friend, after some questionable long tones in the middle register, announced: "I have old man's tone". He started practicing more and working on it. Whatever he did, he got back to his old self.

Some 20 years later, I found myself wondering on how to avoid playing problems as I age. Around this time, I found an exercise on Al Kay's website with this tech tip. http://alkay.ca/documents/clinic_sheets/alkay_playloud_e.pdf
I couldn't play the 3-note self evaluation to my satisfaction until I changed my embouchure, and this has allowed me to build embouchure strength as I practice daily.

With the number of colleagues who are struggling with playing issues as they age, I've been trying to find a way to discuss this and show my friends how to deal with it. I do play with a group of pro retirees who are playing at high levels into their 80s so it can be done. Other friends are in denial.

I raised this aging topic with an 80 year old trumpeter friend, and his answer was short: "Perhaps they never had it in the first place." Ouch, but likely accurate.

What are you doing that helps you?

For me, it's having regular private sessions with a masterful player who understands & teaches great playing mechanics and musicality. That as well as me promoting my own health & well-being.

While I am still growing in strength and technique, there may come a time when everything I do will merely be a delay tactic. So it could be - if we somehow find a way to graph it - that a very old player now declining and me still ascending might possibly come to share a point on that graph - from a technical standpoint but probably never a musicality standpoint.

...Geezer
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« Reply #9 on: Nov 11, 2017, 04:25PM »

Big problem for me!

Grah, I'm sorry to read this, but thanks for sharing. You are on my list of people on TTF who I'd like to visit, and I admire your knowledge. Admitting there is a problem is the first step to solving it.

My breakthrough 10 years ago was figuring out lip compression. This means that my note production comes more from pressing my lips together as opposed to pressing the mouthpiece into my face. Everything has improved since then, and my embouchure gains strength regularly. Starting at 53, I feel I started to really play, with sound production being simpler, more focused, etc. My performance range is up to   when soloing. With a stronger embouchure, I do parlor tricks in rehearsals like playing Ebs in 1st position and bend 2nd line Bbs down to Fs. My bass trombone range is pedal F.

I have good friends who are in various stages of aging problems. I have tried to help them, but it's hard until they see the need for help. I'm patient with them because I know I could soon have problems myself. Aging is a series of unfortunate events.


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Martin Hubel
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« Reply #10 on: Nov 11, 2017, 04:38PM »

I think age is not as much of an issue as whether you're playing correctly for your own physical makeup.  If you're not, you're going to be suffering from it at any age, just a little more able to get by when you're younger.

Longstanding incorrect habits are harder to change.  Especially if you deny their existence, which a lot of players are very stubborn about.
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« Reply #11 on: Nov 11, 2017, 05:30PM »

“My  breakthrough 10 years ago was figuring out lip compression. This means that my note production comes more from pressing my lips together as opposed to pressing the mouthpiece into my face. Everything has improved since then, and my embouchure gains strength regularly.”

This is interesting. When I was young, I could play high pretty much by being strong. Over the past couple years, I’ve begun to appreciate there’s technique involved. The MRI of the French horn player and Eli Epstein’s YouTube video helped. More recently, lessons with R Sauer and Doug E got me thinking more about air stream focus, aperture and tongue placement. Still a work in progress, though.

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« Reply #12 on: Nov 11, 2017, 06:25PM »

“My  breakthrough 10 years ago was figuring out lip compression. This means that my note production comes more from pressing my lips together as opposed to pressing the mouthpiece into my face. Everything has improved since then, and my embouchure gains strength regularly.”

This is interesting. When I was young, I could play high pretty much by being strong. Over the past couple years, I’ve begun to appreciate there’s technique involved. The MRI of the French horn player and Eli Epstein’s YouTube video helped. More recently, lessons with R Sauer and Doug E got me thinking more about air stream focus, aperture and tongue placement. Still a work in progress, though.

I look at strength in the following way. To hold my bass trombone, I have to be able to lift 6 pounds and hold it steady. To do this with facility, I need to lift a 30 lb. dumbbell.

The same thing seems to be true with my face. I look on range building exercises as a way of building strength, which helps me better hold long tones. As a young player, I used to find playing long tones as part of a chord boring. These days, I look on long notes in a musical piece as a way of checking my note production and I look for ways to improve my sound.

I rarely just practice long tones, simply because it's rather boring. Instead, it was suggested to me by Al Kay to take a popular ballad and play it at 1/4 tempo. The resulting long tones should be played to sound like music (as everything we play should).

Another small epiphany for me this year was understanding Al Kay's explanation of the use of apertures to build strength and range. A wide aperture takes a lot of air and strength, and it can peel paint from walls. In my last lesson, he had me use a larger aperture to play to high F . I'm unlikely to use this note anywhere in this fashion, but it showed my progress.
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Martin Hubel
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« Reply #13 on: Nov 11, 2017, 09:14PM »

This might not be helpful to us older players, but my help the younger ones; Stay in good physical shape. Eat a a balanced diet. Drink lots of water. There are old guys running, riding bikes, rowing and other activities that they have done consistently their whole life and they are in better physical condition than the average  person 10 years younger. I met Bill Watrous in the early eighties and he was was running back then. Best way to stay healthy is to stay healthy.
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« Reply #14 on: Nov 11, 2017, 09:39PM »

I'm only 52, but I play regularly with guys in their 70s and 80s. Physical condition is a huge factor, especially weight, but I think mental condition is equally important. One guy I know who's probably in his 60s/70s has lost his ability to make an embouchure. Hes a professor. He keeps working at, but I can see it grates on him.

I think as you age, you should look at it as if music is helping to support the rest of your life rather than the other way around. Music should make you feel better. Maybe you can't play first in the concert band any more, but you can still get together with a buddy to play duets. I really respect the older guys I play with, and want to help them keep going as long as it brings them joy.
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« Reply #15 on: Nov 12, 2017, 02:03AM »

Depending on who you play duets with, it can be more challenging than finding refuge in a community band. I play trios with 2 bassoonists and they can play all day moving their fingers while I work my ass off.

I too know some high level players that are struggling. Often it's aging coupled with playing issues that were not fixed. On the other side of this, a top pro, now in his 70s, played an Urbie solo at rehearsal last week and did quite a nice job. There is hope. Conditioning, lifestyle and fitness do play a big part.

My wife asked me when I expect to stop playing. I told her that every day is a gift.
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« Reply #16 on: Nov 12, 2017, 04:44AM »

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« Reply #17 on: Nov 12, 2017, 05:00AM »

I think age is not as much of an issue as whether you're playing correctly for your own physical makeup.  If you're not, you're going to be suffering from it at any age, just a little more able to get by when you're younger.

Longstanding incorrect habits are harder to change.  Especially if you deny their existence, which a lot of players are very stubborn about.

Right on. My first serious atempt at owning the trumpet lead range ended with an abdominal hernia (my brother is not a musician nor he has to do any hard physical labour as an IT engineer, but got one as well). Still, that made me think about my not so correct posture and less than perfect body use...
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« Reply #18 on: Nov 12, 2017, 05:12AM »

A book I read yesterday (Barefoot Running - yeah, long story) made a curious assertion:

After age 60, we need to become full time athletes. 

The book itself isn't exactly high level, but that comment rings true.  After 60, and some of us are a good way past, it takes some effort to remain physically healthy. 

What effect that has on chops I dunno.

For a musician though health is not just muscle strength and flexibility, but protection of our hearing, and that better start long before it's lost.  You can get some muscle tone back later but as far as I know hearing is gone for good. 
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« Reply #19 on: Nov 12, 2017, 05:25AM »

A book I read yesterday (Barefoot Running - yeah, long story) made a curious assertion:

After age 60, we need to become full time athletes. 

The book itself isn't exactly high level, but that comment rings true.  After 60, and some of us are a good way past, it takes some effort to remain physically healthy. 

What effect that has on chops I dunno.

For a musician though health is not just muscle strength and flexibility, but protection of our hearing, and that better start long before it's lost.  You can get some muscle tone back later but as far as I know hearing is gone for good. 

That's a good thing to ponder. As an "elderly athlete", I can tell you that gaining strength in muscles that are already being exercised to the max is tough - unless I gain weight. When I gain weight, my strength soars. My chops tend to act the same way. As I have gained muscular weight, my range has increased. But as far as chops are concerned, there is another factor; technique. My range has gone up also b/c of better technique.

So, I figure if I wanted to - say, throw a discus further; increased strength would certainly be important. But with increased technique, I will wager there would be at least an equal gain. My conclusion is that while it may be extremely difficult for an already-in-shape "elderly athlete" to gain additional strength, it certainly is not impossible to make gains in playing when concentrating on making gains in technique. And as Pre59 pointed out, one can ALWAYS make gains in technique!

I am entering into my elderly years playing trombone and approaching it as a "technique freak". That is what I drill myself on daily for about 2 of the 4 hours I spend on my horn. The other two hours are spent playing music; whether it be band/ensemble music or ballads.

...Geezer 
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« Reply #20 on: Nov 12, 2017, 05:33AM »

Geezer,

these are all valid points. However, I believe that as age advances, especially 55+, one should be more careful to any body abuse signals - muscles are more prone to tearing, bones to breaking, you should be more attentive to any excessive physical strain wether muscles, bones, ligaments or internal organs are concerned.

Of course, control and correct technique rules over brute force in any age.
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« Reply #21 on: Nov 12, 2017, 05:46AM »

Geezer,

these are all valid points. However, I believe that as age advances, especially 55+, one should be more careful to any body abuse signals - muscles are more prone to tearing, bones to breaking, you should be more attentive to any excessive physical strain wether muscles, bones, ligaments or internal organs are concerned.

Of course, control and correct technique rules over brute force in any age.

Agreed. And that is also why a thorough warm-up is extremely important to me as an "elderly athlete". Younger players may feel they do not need to warm up to play well. Good for them; I hope they enjoy their youth! But I increasingly try for a slower, more gentle warm-up and that is a new concept for me, as I have always tended towards a quicker, harsher warm-up. Old age may suck in many ways, but it doesn't have to mean it's light's out quitting time either. Old age isn't for sissies.

...Geezer
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« Reply #22 on: Nov 12, 2017, 06:14AM »

.
My breakthrough 10 years ago was figuring out lip compression. This means that my note production comes more from pressing my lips together as opposed to pressing the mouthpiece into my face.


This brings up the question of where the compression should be focused.  Should it be more vertical or more horizontal?  Most likely a combination of both, but to what degree?
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« Reply #23 on: Nov 12, 2017, 06:33AM »

This brings up the question of where the compression should be focused.  Should it be more vertical or more horizontal?  Most likely a combination of both, but to what degree?

Good question. Here's what I did. Before I started down the path of lip compression, I used to push the mouthpiece into my face, and I would get a red ring on my lips and face. I had played this way for about 40 years with decent but limiting results.

The first thing I did  to improve was vertical compression. The result was a more controlled but noticably darker sound. After a couple of years (I'm a slow learner I guess), my teacher (Al Kay) noticed my sound was a bit strained. He suggested that I stop working so hard on the vertical aspect and try to get more lip into the mouthpiece. More lip equals greater vibration, so I got a lot more sound with less effort. It allowed me to progress a lot further. It was an easy transition for me to this better approach.

Greater compression has allowed me to control attacks, play higher, and develop facial strength. I'm greatly indebted to Al as he is the only teacher I've had that could identify what was going on and make direct suggestions for improvement. He has retired away from Toronto now, but I plan at some point to make the 3 hour drive to see him again.

I hope this is helpful. Our trombone journey is a personal one.



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« Reply #24 on: Nov 12, 2017, 08:15AM »

Good question. Here's what I did. Before I started down the path of lip compression, I used to push the mouthpiece into my face, and I would get a red ring on my lips and face. I had played this way for about 40 years with decent but limiting results.

The first thing I did  to improve was vertical compression. The result was a more controlled but noticably darker sound. After a couple of years (I'm a slow learner I guess), my teacher (Al Kay) noticed my sound was a bit strained. He suggested that I stop working so hard on the vertical aspect and try to get more lip into the mouthpiece. More lip equals greater vibration, so I got a lot more sound with less effort. It allowed me to progress a lot further. It was an easy transition for me to this better approach.

Greater compression has allowed me to control attacks, play higher, and develop facial strength. I'm greatly indebted to Al as he is the only teacher I've had that could identify what was going on and make direct suggestions for improvement. He has retired away from Toronto now, but I plan at some point to make the 3 hour drive to see him again.

I hope this is helpful. Our trombone journey is a personal one.


Trombonisms by Bill Watrous is a good source of info re aperture etc. First published in 1983 and gone the way of the Dodo it seems. I've never met anyone else who's even heard of it, let alone owns a copy, strange.
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« Reply #25 on: Nov 12, 2017, 09:15AM »

Trombonisms by Bill Watrous is a good source of info re aperture etc. First published in 1983 and gone way of the Dodo it seems. I've never met anyone else who's even heard of it, let alone owns a copy, strange.

I have one.  It's actually by Watrous and Alan Raph (Bass Trombonist Extraordinaire).  I hope it's still in print -- lots of good stuff in there.
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« Reply #26 on: Nov 12, 2017, 09:33AM »

I have it as well; bought it a couple years ago.

...Geezer
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« Reply #27 on: Nov 12, 2017, 10:07AM »

I have one.  It's actually by Watrous and Alan Raph (Bass Trombonist Extraordinaire).  I hope it's still in print -- lots of good stuff in there.

I thought I saw it on the Bonecat website.
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« Reply #28 on: Nov 12, 2017, 10:19AM »

This brings up the question of where the compression should be focused.  Should it be more vertical or more horizontal?  Most likely a combination of both, but to what degree?

My thinking these days is that the embouchure focuses the air stream at a particular point in the mpc which changes from register to register if not note to note, while the position of the tongue helps with the speed of the airflow). FWIW.
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« Reply #29 on: Nov 12, 2017, 11:23AM »

I have one.  It's actually by Watrous and Alan Raph (Bass Trombonist Extraordinaire).  I hope it's still in print -- lots of good stuff in there.

I saw him at the Bulls Head in London and had a front row seat. I noticed from time to time that he played a kind of false note, so I set about trying to re-create it.

I realised that  using his aperture "model" that he might not have been quite on the best setting for that particular note. Of course I could be completely wrong, and it was an entirely musical choice, but the outcome was still the same for me, which was for to start practicing with what I guessed would be the completely wrong setting, i.e. too pinched when playing a low note and too loose with a high one, and everything in-between. 

At this time I was busy playing lucrative bass/gtr gigs, so there was no real threat to my livelihood through screwing up my tbn chops.

This is the model that I use now, but it flies in the face of the current technique which is more about air speed and tongue shaping. I struggle with this idea because I can play all of my higher tones at different volumes, and with just an air start and a loose tongue.

About 9 years ago I started to play with my lower jaw pushed forward slightly, it hurt a lot to start with, but not any more, and that was a real result as well..
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« Reply #30 on: Nov 12, 2017, 12:01PM »

Not to be morbid, but realistically, we all know that old age will eventually win. There. That was the elephant in the room.

Sometimes the best offense we can mount is a delay tactic.

...Geezer
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« Reply #31 on: Nov 12, 2017, 12:02PM »

My thinking these days is that the embouchure focuses the air stream at a particular point in the mpc which changes from register to register if not note to note, while the position of the tongue helps with the speed of the airflow). FWIW.

FWIW, the first part of my warmup routine is to find the centre of the first note I play. This is normally a middle Bb, and when the note is centred, it is pretty obvious. I normally move the mouthpiece around as part of this process. This takes about 15 seconds.
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« Reply #32 on: Nov 12, 2017, 12:03PM »

Not to be morbid, but realistically, we all know that old age will eventually win. There. That was the elephant in the room.

Sometimes the best offense we can mount is a delay tactic.

...Geezer

Yup, aging is inevitable. For me, it's mostly a series of unfortunate events.
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« Reply #33 on: Nov 12, 2017, 12:09PM »

I pretty much use the same centering warm-up, except I use slurs.

I have been on this Forum for maybe five years. I have witnessed several 'bone players quit by not being able to cope with old age and all that comes with it. I don't wish to be one of them. You only lose when you give up. And as long as you don't give up, it should be considered a win.

...Geezer
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« Reply #34 on: Nov 12, 2017, 01:51PM »

Yup, aging is inevitable. For me, it's mostly a series of unfortunate events.

Satchel Paige:  “Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.”
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« Reply #35 on: Nov 12, 2017, 06:12PM »

I take a line from George Burns, who said something to the effect that "any day I wake up on this side of the dirt is a good day".
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« Reply #36 on: Nov 12, 2017, 07:14PM »

I have been on this Forum for maybe five years. I have witnessed several 'bone players quit by not being able to cope with old age and all that comes with it. I don't wish to be one of them. You only lose when you give up. And as long as you don't give up, it should be considered a win.
...Geezer

Whoever you're referring to didn't necessarily "quit" because they "couldn't cope with old age". They may have come to a decision that it made sense to move on to other pursuits either due to pain, their playing actually making a physical ailment worse, or the inability to play at the level they demanded of themselves. You may reach the same decision some day.
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« Reply #37 on: Nov 12, 2017, 11:11PM »

Hi. You don't stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing. I've lost 2 wives to cancer and all I can say is thank god for music and the trombone because it helps me to cope. The older I get the better I used to be, but I still keep up my practice to do what I do. Currently playing Little Mermaid and music gives me something to look forward to and something to  practice for. Eating properly, bit of exercise and no alcohol. I've seen to many old muso's go down with the grog. also look forward and keep the right state of mind. Life Happens Remember, You can't turn back the clock but you can wind it up again. Cheers Max
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« Reply #38 on: Nov 12, 2017, 11:47PM »

Another age-related reason I play less (and play worse for it) is that I have more interests now. Some are musical, others not at all, but I like them and they all take time to pursue if i want to do them well.

When trombone was one of few interests it was possible to spend hours a day practicing.  But now it is just one of many.  I enjoy the other things partly because they are new, whereas trombone is mostly going to be retreading old ground for me.

I did bands and orchestras for years, that scene is not going to change. I'm looking for new things to do.
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« Reply #39 on: Nov 13, 2017, 04:11AM »

You can't do it gracefully. It will be hard hard work. After age 50 you have to run twice as fast as you can , just to stand still effortlessly.

Brass players older than myself warned me. The trumpet players I worked with got up at 4AM to warm up at 5AM for 10AM church service gigs. That was a huge help, that advice.

Me? I'm 56 and have been a letter carrier (mailman) for 28 years. 7 years in the army before that. 35 years on my feet all day. Working hard. The blessing of all that? Age 56 and I could walk or work to death any kid between the ages of 20 and 40 trying to follow me. Heart and lung health off the scale from sucking wind through a balaclava covering the face in the Canadian arctic climate 6 months a year.

No way to do it gracefully. None.
Stretch daily. If it hurts, as it should, do it TWICE
No red meat. No smoking. No booze.
You want fun after age 55? A strong cup of good tea is about it.

Unfortunately I've outlived my orthopedic surgeon and my bad knee has outlived it's warranty....but I do 15 miles with a 40 lb pack daily.

Breathing hard walking 15 miles daily wit ha pack keeps my need to do breathing exercises on the horn to a minimum. Sorting mail, and reaching to 400 boxes keeps my need to do physio on the arms to minimum.

In a way I'm blessed by having a ****** brutal life...it makes playing the horn effortless. Still, I recently got into baritone in a crack brass band and really love the change to valves again. Doubling makes it fun mentally.

Grace? The grace comes at rehearsal after you torture yourself every of the preceding week and still have 100% chops and 100% body for those few hours. I'm looking forward to blowing my balls off until I'm 95. But I know it will not be fun.
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« Reply #40 on: Nov 13, 2017, 04:26AM »

At 57 my biggest aging issue is my hearing. If you want to maintain your hearing wear hearing protection, I didn't wish I did.   Many years of sitting near percussion, and in front of Trumpets has killed my high frequencies.  I already strain to hear in choir, in bands because the instruments are louder it isn't an issue yet, but I'm borderline on getting hearing aides.  They are in my near future.
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« Reply #41 on: Nov 13, 2017, 04:44AM »

Whoever you're referring to didn't necessarily "quit" because they "couldn't cope with old age". They may have come to a decision that it made sense to move on to other pursuits either due to pain, their playing actually making a physical ailment worse, or the inability to play at the level they demanded of themselves. You may reach the same decision some day.

From your profile:

Gender:   Male
Age:   5


Pretty mature advice for a 5-year old! Thanks for sticking up for us older guys, son.   Way cool  Good!

Hi. You don't stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing. I've lost 2 wives to cancer and all I can say is thank god for music and the trombone because it helps me to cope. The older I get the better I used to be, but I still keep up my practice to do what I do. Currently playing Little Mermaid and music gives me something to look forward to and something to  practice for. Eating properly, bit of exercise and no alcohol. I've seen to many old muso's go down with the grog. also look forward and keep the right state of mind. Life Happens Remember, You can't turn back the clock but you can wind it up again. Cheers Max

You can't do it gracefully. It will be hard hard work. After age 50 you have to run twice as fast as you can , just to stand still effortlessly.

Brass players older than myself warned me. The trumpet players I worked with got up at 4AM to warm up at 5AM for 10AM church service gigs. That was a huge help, that advice.

Me? I'm 56 and have been a letter carrier (mailman) for 28 years. 7 years in the army before that. 35 years on my feet all day. Working hard. The blessing of all that? Age 56 and I could walk or work to death any kid between the ages of 20 and 40 trying to follow me. Heart and lung health off the scale from sucking wind through a balaclava covering the face in the Canadian arctic climate 6 months a year.

No way to do it gracefully. None.
Stretch daily. If it hurts, as it should, do it TWICE
No red meat. No smoking. No booze.
You want fun after age 55? A strong cup of good tea is about it.

Unfortunately I've outlived my orthopedic surgeon and my bad knee has outlived it's warranty....but I do 15 miles with a 40 lb pack daily.

Breathing hard walking 15 miles daily wit ha pack keeps my need to do breathing exercises on the horn to a minimum. Sorting mail, and reaching to 400 boxes keeps my need to do physio on the arms to minimum.

In a way I'm blessed by having a ****** brutal life...it makes playing the horn effortless. Still, I recently got into baritone in a crack brass band and really love the change to valves again. Doubling makes it fun mentally.

Grace? The grace comes at rehearsal after you torture yourself every of the preceding week and still have 100% chops and 100% body for those few hours. I'm looking forward to blowing my balls off until I'm 95. But I know it will not be fun.

AWESOME!

Along with the sage advice above, I might add that attitude probably plays just as strong or even a stronger role in how we age. I look around me and see grumpy older people sometimes and I wonder where they come from. Then I realize that they come mainly from grumpy younger people. Then I see happy, well-adjusted, very active older people and it makes me realize that to some degree at least, old age is a state of mind.

...Geezer
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« Reply #42 on: Nov 13, 2017, 08:17AM »

So:

1) Practice hard

2) Stay in shape, including cardio, stretching and some weights. Do it regularly.

3) Eat right, avoiding red meat, and for some of my friends, go vegan.

4) Stay away from alcohol

I would add:

5) Practice smart. You can accomplish a lot in 1/2 hour a day if you have the right goals and know how to do it.

6) Either love your routine or find some other way to practice. I have an 87 year old friend who still plays Kopprash, Rochut, and other things daily. Any suggestions to change his routine are not listened to. He still plays great for his age including solos in front of the band.

7) Don't do anything beyond your physical limits. The famous last words of a redneck are purported to be: "Hey fellas, watch this!". On the other side, I helped my daughter move, and I become quite adept at finding younger people to do the heavy lifting.

8) Play smart. Along with #5, I'm always looking for easier ways to improve my results. As an example, pro pitchers know how to throw a baseball at 90 mph. The general population can maybe throw 70 mph. Yes they are young, but they know about technique to get that velocity. There are better ways to play trombone that are easier, use less air, and are better musically. I'm still making progress.

9) Remember to love music. If it isn't fun, find out why.

10) Be honest with yourself. One main difference I've found between good pros and bad amateurs is objective self-criticism. An amateur might say "That was pretty good", and get it right about 50-70% of the time.  A pro will say: "That was ok, but I can do better" and work to improve. Perfect every time is unattainable, but it's a better target than pretty good. If your playing starts to really suffer, fix it or move down the section.

11) Forget abstinence in #3 & 4, but cut back. At 63, and now off business trips, I can finally manage my weight. Instead of a good, big steak for dinner, my wife and I split one and often have enough for a lunch or two. That happens once per month, and beef happens in smaller portions once per week. I'm down 20 lbs this year. In the past, we all had a beer at our chair during swing band gigs and rehearsals. Now, I might have a drink when I get home.

12) Get smaller equipment. I have already bought a single trigger bass for the eventuality where my double trigger gets to be too much. You may find it easier to play a .508 rather than a .547.

13) Don't hold back the up and coming young players. Like #10, be honest and helpful. Let them have a turn at solos, etc.

 
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« Reply #43 on: Nov 13, 2017, 09:17AM »

  A few years back I had the pleasure of seeing Dick Nash and Harold Betters play, I think it was on both of their 85th Birthdays. Nash was hitting some incredibly high notes and Harold was as good as ever...It was an enjoyable and inspirational evening of music...

Since I started playing really late in life, I like to say half Jokingly, " I hope I get decent before I die"...

I guess we're all doing the best we can...

Nanook
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« Reply #44 on: Nov 13, 2017, 12:33PM »

  A few years back I had the pleasure of seeing Dick Nash and Harold Betters play, I think it was on both of their 85th Birthdays. Nash was hitting some incredibly high notes and Harold was as good as ever...It was an enjoyable and inspirational evening of music...

Dick Nash (age 89) took a few solos at the ITF this summer and sounded great. Bill Watrous (age 78) was there too, swinging hard. Both had amazing high ranges.

+1 to the early morning routine - I (age 55) spend 1.5-2 hr every morning doing buzzing, lip slurs, long tones, playing loud, etc., just to keep up with the college kids in rehearsal later in the day.  Absent strength training, we all start to lose muscle mass at about 4%/decade starting in our 40s, so there's definitely a sense of running faster and faster to stay in the same place.

I also have benefited from teachers, although my current one is retiring. Can anyone recommend teachers who have experience working with older folks and willing to work through Skype? 

This topic is great! Nice to see others' perspectives on a topic I've considered a good bit.

Chris
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« Reply #45 on: Nov 13, 2017, 12:37PM »

One more thing - Pablo Casals, the cellist, was asked at age 81 why he continues to practice 4-5 hours every day. He is said to have replied, "Because I feel that I am just beginning to make some progress!"
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« Reply #46 on: Nov 13, 2017, 01:03PM »

I do all of my practice standing, hopefully to avoid deep vein "trombosis"..  :)
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« Reply #47 on: Nov 13, 2017, 01:11PM »

Well, here I am still in the gig I won back in 1984.... will be 62 next month.
What's it like now compared to back then ?
Overall..... EASIER.
The physical act of playing is at it's most efficient.... high low, soft loud... still works.
I know most of the rep. Done the standard stuff many times.... it's still fun and gives my brain a workout, but I am more comfortable.
So, you say, there must be downsides.....
Yup.... eyesight is the biggest one.... it's not bad, but not as good as it was, and I have yet to find glasses that I really like.... upside is that I remember music quicker because that makes life easier.
Hearing is okay.... a bit off the top, but I have no issues with a gig playing quarter tones this week.
I do get more tired... not on the gig... travelling.... the back end of last week I played in Inverness Thursday night, drove to Edinburgh Friday morning, did afternoon and evening rehearsals there and morning and afternoon Saturday, then drove back to Inverness for an evening show. Sunday I drove back to Glasgow. The rest of Sunday I was out of it. Tomorrow is Glasgow, Wednesday Edinburgh, Thursday and Friday Huddersfield and Saturday Glasgow, Sunday Edinburgh, Monday Perth, Tuesday Edinburgh, Wednesday Glasgow.... you get the picture.  Driving gets tougher.
I still want to get better on trombone and enjoy practice.
So many people go on about how much harder it gets, so I am quite surprised at the 'business-as-usual' way things are up to now.
Nobody is getting younger.... but it's okay.... honest.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #48 on: Nov 13, 2017, 01:47PM »

M. Stern I went and had my ophthalmologist examine my eyes for the distance that my music stand sits from my eyes...Worked really well for me... I used old frames and it cost me around $50... Now I'm considering getting the very top portion of the lens made for long distance viewing so I can see the conductor/audience better in my recently joined community band...Depending on the cost I may go that route...
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« Reply #49 on: Nov 13, 2017, 02:07PM »

M. Stern I went and had my ophthalmologist examine my eyes for the distance that my music stand sits from my eyes...Worked really well for me... I used old frames and it cost me around $50... Now I'm considering getting the very top portion of the lens made for long distance viewing so I can see the conductor/audience better in my recently joined community band...Depending on the cost I may go that route...

Just had such a set made.... didn't feel right for me.... great for driving though. I did use them last week after driving with them for 4 hours.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #50 on: Nov 13, 2017, 02:11PM »

Dick Nash (age 89) took a few solos at the ITF this summer and sounded great. Bill Watrous (age 78) was there too, swinging hard. Both had amazing high ranges.

snip

This topic is great! Nice to see others' perspectives on a topic I've considered a good bit.

Chris

Yes I agree!

There have been quite a few mentions of Bill Watrous in this topic and I must say that I very much admire his ballad playing. I guess I also relate a bit to him because he is about the same age as myself - a year younger actually. Because of this I have read a lot about him, and the point they always make about Bill is his insistence on a good mike and amplification, so that he can play very quietly. I have often wondered if this playing quietly is to stay off potential lip problems associated with age?

Oh, and like Bill, I also do a bit of jogging on my twice-a-day long walks. I must admit the number of paces has declined a little in recent times, because Maggie is now 15 and she is slowing down a lot due to a cruciate ligament operation and arthritis. Aren't we all? I also have cervical spondylosis, which is one other factor influencing my playing decline.

Anyway, on the recommendation of my regular doctor, I am seeing a Physician today to try and find out if the many medical complaints affecting my playing, have a common cause. Yeah, RIGHT.

On the plus side, I think I have found a swing club where I can get a bit of a blow each week with some similarly aged and experienced musicians. It is difficult to keep up the practice at home if you do not have a playing outlet where you can express yourself jazzwise, and there is an audience to impress. Good! 
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« Reply #51 on: Nov 13, 2017, 02:17PM »

M. Stern I went and had my ophthalmologist examine my eyes for the distance that my music stand sits from my eyes...Worked really well for me... I used old frames and it cost me around $50...


This has worked well for me as well. I took a music stand and some terrible scrawled hand written music with me for the eye test. The ophthalmologist happened to be a musician herself and commented something to the effect of, good ***, you don't have to read this stuff do you?

The result is that the music is not only much clearer, but is slightly bigger as well. Recommended.
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« Reply #52 on: Nov 13, 2017, 02:43PM »

I’ve had mixed success with cheap Internet eyeglasses ground specifically for music. If you don’t like them you can send them back and get a refund. I have one pair that work well and I ought to get them copied so I have several pairs, one to put in my trombone bag, one for my guitar bag, one for my bookshelf, etc.

Progressive lens have never worked for me. I recall once, trying to get used to them and, during a rehearsal, being required to play into the stand. Of course, leaning forward, the notes became a blur.
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« Reply #53 on: Nov 13, 2017, 03:05PM »

I had eye laser surgery done about 18 years ago and have almost perfect vision ever since. The last 5 years or so required cataract surgery on both eyes, and now vision is as good as it gets. When miss notes now, I can’t blame it on my vision. That’s the down side.

OBTW, I’m too young to use as an excuse too!
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« Reply #54 on: Nov 13, 2017, 04:31PM »

Except for one person who was warned she was not a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery at the outset, everybody I’ve talked to who have had the treatment has been pretty happy with it.
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« Reply #55 on: Nov 13, 2017, 04:33PM »

Yep, on the subject of eyesight, I had a my epiretinal membranes scraped about six years back and my eyes were very much improved. I used to require glasses to drive as an official requirement of the licence issue. But, after the op, glasses are no longer required (officially by the Dept. of Transport). Good! Music reading is also much better with less-strong specs. But my specs have carefully measured focal lengths, designed precisely for my music reading. As trombonists, some of us have to allow extra focal length for slide clearance. Clever   
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« Reply #56 on: Nov 13, 2017, 05:02PM »

Cataract surgery and reading glasses are all very helpful. However, I had to quit a street band where I could not read the music up as close to my face as a bell lyre put it - no matter how large I made the music. And there were far too many charts to memorize them.

My point is that even though we may have our vision corrected to 20/20, there may still be some type of a perception problem. I could see the music in front of my face; I just couldn't keep my focus on it well with it moving all around. Throw dim lighting and/or darkness into the mix - even with a headlight or lighted ball-cap on - and it was all the worse.

Band/ensemble music is generally no problem b/c it sits still on my music stand and is usually large enough. And if it isn't, that is where the reading glasses come into play.

...Geezer
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« Reply #57 on: Nov 13, 2017, 05:15PM »

1 out of 20 people regret their laser eye surgery.
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« Reply #58 on: Nov 13, 2017, 05:25PM »

I do get more tired... not on the gig... travelling.... the back end of last week I played in Inverness Thursday night, drove to Edinburgh Friday morning, did afternoon and evening rehearsals there and morning and afternoon Saturday, then drove back to Inverness for an evening show. Sunday I drove back to Glasgow. The rest of Sunday I was out of it. Tomorrow is Glasgow, Wednesday Edinburgh, Thursday and Friday Huddersfield and Saturday Glasgow, Sunday Edinburgh, Monday Perth, Tuesday Edinburgh, Wednesday Glasgow.... you get the picture.  Driving gets tougher.
Chris Stearn

I'm envious that you have the choice of driving around most of your country. Even a short trip here is an hour in a plane, so when you add the waiting times and airport transport, it's 4-5 hours minimum. But still, that's a lot of driving.
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« Reply #59 on: Nov 14, 2017, 05:06AM »

FYI, there is a gofundme page for Urbie Green.  He's 91 and having medical issues, and I guess is without medical insurance. 
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« Reply #60 on: Nov 14, 2017, 06:11AM »

You can't do it gracefully. It will be hard hard work. After age 50 you have to run twice as fast as you can , just to stand still effortlessly.

Brass players older than myself warned me. The trumpet players I worked with got up at 4AM to warm up at 5AM for 10AM church service gigs. That was a huge help, that advice.


I have friends that need to warm up (much) longer. This seems to be a result of not practising daily. One good friend currently sounds like poop for 20 minutes into a rehearsal, then things get better.

I know 75 year olds that just sit down and play at a pro level. I wonder how much time they play every day. Some people may age differently, or they have figured something out.
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« Reply #61 on: Nov 14, 2017, 06:15AM »

In our community band, we go through several minutes of chorale warmups before we start rehearsing. That might not be enough for all, but at least it's a start.
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« Reply #62 on: Nov 14, 2017, 06:22AM »

While there may be a wide spectrum of what, if anything, constitutes a warm-up for us; there certainly is no harm in it.

Mine seems to be fluid; sometimes none needed and sometimes I can't seem to get warmed up until rehearsal is almost done and then I wish it could go on for another hour. Biorhythms?

...Geezer
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« Reply #63 on: Nov 14, 2017, 06:39AM »

My playing time is like a cell phone with limited limits. Do I spend my minutes warming up, or playing?
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Energy City Horizons Symphonic Band
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« Reply #64 on: Nov 14, 2017, 07:05AM »

My playing time is like a cell phone with limited limits. Do I spend my minutes warming up, or playing?

This gets back to what Bonesmarsh said. If your face time is limited to a fixed number of minutes, aging brass players could very well have limited results. You may or may not be playing enough to reach your former level. Some players have the dedication to put in the time necessary to play at a level they consider to be acceptable.

On the other side of this, some retirees continue to play at a pro level. At our last big band rehearsal, Russ Little (formerly lead of the Boss Brass) did a good read of Urbie's A Very Precious Love. He is 76. There are a number of high Cs, Ds, and a couple of Es in there. Russ is just a naturally talented guy

Other people take up other instruments. If they stay with brass, they move from trumpet to trombone, or trombone to tuba.
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Martin Hubel
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« Reply #65 on: Nov 14, 2017, 07:14AM »

My playing time is like a cell phone with limited limits. Do I spend my minutes warming up, or playing?

Ha! I feel the same about my very highest notes. If your band wants me to play IGSOY, then you best put it up front!   :-0

...Geezer
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« Reply #66 on: Nov 14, 2017, 08:44AM »

I am 63 years old and have the following:
Parkinson's Disease
Diabetic
Macro Degenerative Disease
SKin Cancer Squamous Cell removed this summer

I still actcively play my trombone
I still teach
I golf.
Nothing has changed.

I go about my day as a normal person. I played a recital in August playing among others Spillman COncerto and WIlder Sonata, and Vivaldi Concerto. I refuse to stop.
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« Reply #67 on: Nov 14, 2017, 09:20AM »

Another age-related reason I play less (and play worse for it) is that I have more interests now. Some are musical, others not at all, but I like them and they all take time to pursue if i want to do them well.

When trombone was one of few interests it was possible to spend hours a day practicing.  But now it is just one of many.  I enjoy the other things partly because they are new, whereas trombone is mostly going to be retreading old ground for me.

I did bands and orchestras for years, that scene is not going to change. I'm looking for new things to do.

I identify with much of this. Right now, I'm at rehearsals on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, with some Friday/Sat rehearsals, and a few Sat/Sun gigs coming up. We live in the suburbs, so there's lots of driving (and time wasted in traffic). I play some guitar, which requires practice, albeit less than trombone. Oh yes, job and family also. I also try to get some exercise here and there. There are only so many hours in the day and, frankly, the dilithium crystals are beginning to run a little low.
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« Reply #68 on: Nov 14, 2017, 09:42AM »

[ frankly, the dilithium crystals are beginning to run a little low.
[/quote]

Captain I'm givin ya everything I've got... :)


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« Reply #69 on: Nov 14, 2017, 10:49AM »

I don't think I can take anymore.
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« Reply #70 on: Nov 14, 2017, 11:51PM »

I am 63 years old and have the following:
Parkinson's Disease
Diabetic
Macro Degenerative Disease
SKin Cancer Squamous Cell removed this summer

I still actcively play my trombone
I still teach
I golf.
Nothing has changed.

I go about my day as a normal person. I played a recital in August playing among others Spillman COncerto and WIlder Sonata, and Vivaldi Concerto. I refuse to stop.

 BRAVO !!!!

Chris Stearn
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Still cannot think of anything better to do. Back on an old 1 1/2G again !
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« Reply #71 on: Nov 28, 2017, 01:40PM »

Well, here I am still in the gig I won back in 1984.... will be 62 next month.
What's it like now compared to back then ?
Overall..... EASIER.
The physical act of playing is at it's most efficient.... high low, soft loud... still works.
I know most of the rep. Done the standard stuff many times.... it's still fun and gives my brain a workout, but I am more comfortable.
So, you say, there must be downsides.....
Yup.... eyesight is the biggest one.... it's not bad, but not as good as it was, and I have yet to find glasses that I really like.... upside is that I remember music quicker because that makes life easier.
Hearing is okay.... a bit off the top, but I have no issues with a gig playing quarter tones this week.
I do get more tired... not on the gig... travelling.... the back end of last week I played in Inverness Thursday night, drove to Edinburgh Friday morning, did afternoon and evening rehearsals there and morning and afternoon Saturday, then drove back to Inverness for an evening show. Sunday I drove back to Glasgow. The rest of Sunday I was out of it. Tomorrow is Glasgow, Wednesday Edinburgh, Thursday and Friday Huddersfield and Saturday Glasgow, Sunday Edinburgh, Monday Perth, Tuesday Edinburgh, Wednesday Glasgow.... you get the picture.  Driving gets tougher.
I still want to get better on trombone and enjoy practice.
So many people go on about how much harder it gets, so I am quite surprised at the 'business-as-usual' way things are up to now.
Nobody is getting younger.... but it's okay.... honest.

Chris Stearn

Chris, there's an optician about 5 minutes drive from Mick Rath who specialises in glasses for musicians so they can see music and director as required. The business is called Allegro Optical in Meltham. Happy to put you in touch.
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« Reply #72 on: Dec 09, 2017, 04:37AM »

For everyone who has trouble reading music at our ages, (God - those little march sheets!!), I went the specialised glasses route as well, and that helped.  But what really made a difference was getting a 13" tablet!  Reading notes is no problem now, it's amazing how much better I play more easily. 

What I have also done is acknowledged that seeing everything clearly is top priority, so I make a tradeoff and turn pages more often.  I use the tablet in landscape mode so that the page is now 12" wide, and the notes are 40% bigger - MUCH easier to play.
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« Reply #73 on: Dec 09, 2017, 05:41AM »

Chris, there's an optician about 5 minutes drive from Mick Rath who specialises in glasses for musicians so they can see music and director as required. The business is called Allegro Optical in Meltham. Happy to put you in touch.

I have say that the glasses I recently had made work very well. I will probably end up using them. The truth is that I prefer the conductor to be a blur.... it makes them so much easier to follow.
Chris Stearn
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« Reply #74 on: Dec 09, 2017, 06:35AM »

Me too.

I had a pair of music glasses made some time ago.  When I replaced my regular glasses, I could see the music well enough to get by, and I stopped using them. 

This year I had another pair of single vision music glasses made, since I didn't need to get new regular ones.  I can see the music with either pair, BUT the single vision ones have a much wider clear area.  With the bifocals I need to align that one spot, and can only see one page of music, so I'm always pulling sheets out of the binder.  The music glasses let me see both left and right pages and a little bit of a third page. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #75 on: Dec 09, 2017, 07:49AM »

Me too.

I had a pair of music glasses made some time ago.  When I replaced my regular glasses, I could see the music well enough to get by, and I stopped using them. 

This year I had another pair of single vision music glasses made, since I didn't need to get new regular ones.  I can see the music with either pair, BUT the single vision ones have a much wider clear area.  With the bifocals I need to align that one spot, and can only see one page of music, so I'm always pulling sheets out of the binder.  The music glasses let me see both left and right pages and a little bit of a third page. 
This is consistent with my experience with glasses as well.  The single vision readers allow me to see a wider angle, the other issue I have is my regular glasses have a small sweet spot vertically for any given distance.  I can definately see more of the page on the stand with the single vision lenses.  I do get by with my regular glasses but the readers adjusted for a 2 ft. focal length do make it easier.

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« Reply #76 on: Dec 10, 2017, 05:43AM »

I'm 58 and can see signs of things not always feeling "right".   While some people talk about losing the high range and dropping to play 2nd part, mine is the opposite direction.   As a bass trombonist I struggle with low and loud, so I am moving up to the 3rd book more often.   

Right now, at this very moment, we are as old as we've ever been and as young as we'll ever be.
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« Reply #77 on: Dec 11, 2017, 01:55PM »

I'm six months short of eighty and as I reported earlier in this topic, I gave up playing first trombone in some Big Swing Bands at the beginning of this year. I hope I managed the stepping down gracefully because it really peed me off. However, I have decided that practicing by myself at home is not a fun way to carry on with my playing. I just miss that knowledge that I will eventually have an audience to entertain. So, next year I plan to return to the local community band and play maybe 2nd with the Concert Band, because those parts are far less demanding, but they do have some nice music and regular concerts to play.

In addition, I have now found myself a nice little band to play with at a Swing Club, mainly for old folks, which is connected with our local music shop. One also gets to meet other musicians who are handling their age-related playing restrictions very well. The club's policy of getting people to: "Come along and sing or play your instrument. All welcome" guarantees a good attendance.

I am also going to reform my old Traditional Jazz band and find some venues for playing.

After watching Paul McCartney, who is presently touring Australia, I am coming to the conclusion that there is no need to try and age gracefully. I will just continue to entertain but will not try to play beyond my present lip capabilities. This is what the press said about Paul: "And he gallivanted around the stage with more finesse than any 75-year-old ought to be able to muster, like a living, breathing, dancing advertisement for vegetarianism." Yeah, I like that! Good!
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Grah

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May your wishes all come true
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And climb on every rung
May you stay......forever young."
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« Reply #78 on: Dec 11, 2017, 08:14PM »

there is no need to try and age gracefully.

I love that. 
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« Reply #79 on: Dec 12, 2017, 04:18PM »

Me again. I am still playing OK for my age but I have come up against Ageism. I was asked to do Pippen and somebody said "He's quite old you know. The musical director said If he can't do it I'll get someone else. I did the gig and the M.D. was quite surprised. Never ever give up.
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« Reply #80 on: Dec 12, 2017, 06:40PM »

I have say that the glasses I recently had made work very well. I will probably end up using them. The truth is that I prefer the conductor to be a blur.... it makes them so much easier to follow.
Chris Stearn

😂😂😅
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« Reply #81 on: Dec 13, 2017, 07:49AM »

I'm six months short of eighty and as I reported earlier in this topic, I gave up playing first trombone in some Big Swing Bands at the beginning of this year. I hope I managed the stepping down gracefully because it really peed me off. However, I have decided that practicing by myself at home is not a fun way to carry on with my playing. I just miss that knowledge that I will eventually have an audience to entertain. So, next year I plan to return to the local community band and play maybe 2nd with the Concert Band, because those parts are far less demanding, but they do have some nice music and regular concerts to play.

In addition, I have now found myself a nice little band to play with at a Swing Club, mainly for old folks, which is connected with our local music shop. One also gets to meet other musicians who are handling their age-related playing restrictions very well. The club's policy of getting people to: "Come along and sing or play your instrument. All welcome" guarantees a good attendance.

I am also going to reform my old Traditional Jazz band and find some venues for playing.

After watching Paul McCartney, who is presently touring Australia, I am coming to the conclusion that there is no need to try and age gracefully. I will just continue to entertain but will not try to play beyond my present lip capabilities. This is what the press said about Paul: "And he gallivanted around the stage with more finesse than any 75-year-old ought to be able to muster, like a living, breathing, dancing advertisement for vegetarianism." Yeah, I like that! Good!

This is all true. You don't need to play lead to play well. The idea of sitting home practising and playing the occasional duet or trio might be self-satisfying for some. For me, I need to perform to be happy.

I'm also looking to play more jazz in the years ahead.
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Martin Hubel
Yamaha 891Z & 830 Xeno bass (both played regularly) , '74 Bach 42B, Yamaha 322 bass
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