Longest Layoff



  • So I've played my horn about twice in the last 14 months, maybe three times. Last February my company got sold, our 4th child arrived in March, I suffered a significant pay cut in April, concurrent with family medical issues, I started a new business in June, my mom was diagnosed with cancer in the fall, we just finished selling our house and moving temporarily into an apartment while we figure out where to build our next home.

    The dang trumpet just fell off the priority list for a while, and I still don't even have a time frame for when it will get back on the list, but I'm feeling it, and missing it.

    We were in the middle of our move this weekend, and I pulled an ancient spare trumpet out of my closet and fired off an old etude from memory along with a few hymns, and it felt amazing. I've had layoffs of up to a month or two previously, but this is easily the new record since I came back in 2012.

    What was your longest layoff, what caused it, and what was it like coming back?



  • About 7 years, beginning after high school. The small university I attended had no music program other than choral, so I went those 4 years + 3 more without playing, mainly because of no opportunities. I then joined a local concert band someone told me about, and worked my chops back into shape by starting out on last chair and after a few years, playing the 1st solo part.



  • Never had a lay off in all the years I played post high school. So wouldn't know what that is like. The closest I ever came to layoffs is when I go on Disney Cruises as they will not let musical instruments on board. So in those situations I play on my mouthpiece (which Disney will let you bring on board) into a cloth towel.

    Even when I was in the intensive care unit (as a patient) in July of 2014, I brought my pocket trumpet with the Yamaha silent mute into the room and played EVERY DAY. The nurses were very accommodating and understanding.

    So I have gone every day since the 1970's without EVER missing a day.



  • First off, I'm sorry for your "challenges". Just remember that old saying, "When one door closes, another one . . slams shut." 😀

    No, really, I wish you patience and good luck, sincerely.

    To answer your question, with an exception here or there, there were three big chunks of time when I didn't, for the most part, play trumpet. When I worked, solely, as a composer/arranger - for about three years. When I was a conductor - about 16 years. And about two years when I had multiple strokes.

    To add to that, I played woodwinds about 20 years while I also conducted. So, played but not trumpet.



  • @Kehaulani said in Longest Layoff:

    First off, I'm sorry for your "challenges". Just remember that old saying, "When one door closes, another one . . slams shut." 😀

    No, really, I wish you patience and good luck, sincerely.

    To answer your question, with an exception here or there, there were three big chunks of time when I didn't, for the most part, play. When I worked; solely, as a composer/arranger - for about three years. When I was a conductor - about 16 years. And about two years when I had multiple strokes.

    To add to that, I played woodwinds about 20 years while I also conducted. So, played but not trumpet.

    So a total of 21 years off, if I read correctly?

    And thanks for the well-wishes, sir. For the record, I should mention that mom is cancer free and doing well, the opportunities we've seen of late are exciting, the family is all healthy, and life is moving forward with much more fun than not. It just hasn't included much trumpet. That original post may have seemed a bit depressing, but it wasn't meant to be. Starting my own business has been challenging, but lots of fun.



  • My layoff was 44 years. Life, including school, work, and eventually family got in the way. I started playing again in 2016, when I started slowing down at work. For the first six months I played by ear only. My regular progressive lenses were locked in to about 14-16 inches to focus for work and would not allow me to read music at trumpet length and beyond. After six months I had “music glasses” made and I could once again see the music. The comeback was slow but has been steady.



  • @neal085 said in Longest Layoff:

    What was your longest layoff, what caused it, and what was it like coming back?

    I had one layoff. I played regularly through college and a few years beyond. By the time I hit 30, life was getting in the way, and I put the horn away. I thought this would be for good. About 20 years later, I felt I had more time, and I realized I had a strong desire to pick up the horn again.

    Coming back was challenging. I didn't have the same youthful energy or free time. And I didn't have the same playing goals. First, I was determined not to abuse my chops, like I did back in college. Second, I wanted to play on my terms. But like many things is life, playing the trumpet is much sweeter the second time around.

    I'll add that early on, my biggest challenge was trying not to do much at once. It's easy to forget your chops are just starting out again. I also had private lessons will a local trumpet teacher, to help keep me on track.

    Mike



  • First, to the OP: so happy to hear your Mom is doing well. There are things that matter a ____ of a lot more than trumpet.

    BUT: when things are going rough, sometimes it can be just what we need. When things are starting to feel busy, but normal, it can be just what we need. When things are starting to feel like a void, it can be just what we need.

    There are multiple types of trumpet player (or instrumentalist, or musician for that matter). First those who work at it like any other career, obsessed with advancement, or at least security. Next, those that cannot tolerate anything other than perfection of themselves, and for whom playing becomes a nightmare of worry that "it wont be good enough". Then comes the fortunate majority (I believe) who recognize that our playing, however imperfect, can maybe bring joy to others, and certainly does to ourselves.

    Most who reap the benefits of instrumental music in their lives are in that last category. We may go many years without it, but then discover what we have missed. I have had many years of constant playing, and quite a few where it was only maintaining my now 46 consecutive Christmas Eves that had me playing at all that year. I would not trade it for anything. Going and picking up a horn and playing just for me, that is reward in itself.

    However much time off is in your history, it is not a liability, certainly not something to deny, it just is. Celebrate instead that music is again in your life, and when things get harder, remember all that simply accepting and enjoying the experience can bring to you in that moment.



  • @neal085 said in Longest Layoff:
    So a total of 21 years off, if I read correctly?

    I don't know.
    3 years soley as a composer/arranger.
    16 years soley as a conductor.

    But there were almost another 20 years when I conducted and played, but those were woodwinds, not trumpet. I was laying off trumpet but I never laid off music.

    Another 2 years that I didn't play or conduct anything, due to strokes. I get it all confused at times. I think this is accurate.



  • My longest layoff was 51 years. I had played between 1953 and 1965 and by the latter the good gigs were disappearing . It was also a time when work and family needed full time attention so I just sold my Conn 28B and concentrated on my career in printing and publishing and it was a move that paid off. After my wife of 57 years passed away in 2012 my world turned upside down. After three years of existing in a dark hole I finally started to see light again and in March 2016 I felt it was time to get back at playing the trumpet. Playing again became my salvation.


  • Credentialed Professional

    I'm not sure, but if I remember correctly...
    except for a time when I was hospitalized for several weeks...
    I never took more than 5 days off, for vacation or holidays, since 1988...



  • Glad your monmis good!!!
    %1 years..same as George. I started up again 3 1/2 years ago.



  • @adc said in Longest Layoff:

    Glad your monmis good!!!

    adc, do you mean "you are monmis-good". "Your monmis (is) good"? or what? I don't understand, sorry.



  • @Kehaulani said in Longest Layoff:

    @adc said in Longest Layoff:

    Glad your monmis good!!!

    adc, do you mean "you are monmis-good". "Your monmis (is) good"? or what? I don't understand, sorry.

    First my layoff was 51 years. I was referring to the OP's mom. It must have been late my friend!!



  • @adc said in Longest Layoff:
    First my layoff was 51 years. I was referring to the OP's mom. It must have been late my friend!!

    Oh, you mean "mom is good" ?



  • Only 41 years. Funny how time flies when you're having fun.



  • ...HOWEVER, I had to spend every day this last week hanging off the side of a tall building in another city inspecting defective glass. I only managed to get one practice session in the hotel room with the pocket trumpet and a practice mute. Most notes were only off by a quarter-tone or a little more, but it was something. That's my longest layoff in the last 5 years. I'll get back to Mitchell On Trumpet Book 4 tonight. I don't think I'll need to fall back to Book 3, but after a week off, you never really know.



  • ... but that simply has got to be the last high-rise window inspection of my career. I'm just too old to do that stuff any more. I haven't been so exhausted in decades.


  • Global Moderator

    I pick it up, put it back down again on a regular basis every couple of years or so.

    Once you learn how to "comeback," it's not really that hard. Granted, you won't be winning any auditions, but it's just a process to build your strength back up.


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    My longest layoff was Boot Camp - at that time they weren’t finding the MUs and moving them to the band right away. Several weeks later they offered to let me change divisions, but it would have set me back two weeks in training. I opted for the faster route out of there! The bugler for my recruit grad ceremony was so terrible, one of my non-musician shipmates leaned back and whispered “I can’t stand it! I can only imagine how bad this is for you!” The calls were so bad they were unrecognizable- we only knew what to do from practicing with the recording so many times! 🤣🤣🤣
    I become a very dark and mean person when I’m not playing enough - one of the many reasons I’ve never stopped. I like who I am a whole lot better when I’m playing, and so does everyone else!


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