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

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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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Geezerhorn

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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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Torobone

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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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Martin Hubel
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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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Graham Martin
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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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Grah

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May you build a ladder to the stars
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May you stay......forever young."
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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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Grah

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May you stay......forever young."
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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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Robert Holmén

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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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Martin Hubel
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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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