Pip – our flute-playing, auxiliary percussive member of the Blue Mountains Concert Band trumpet section – shares her experiences of playing music all her life.
“I grew up with a lot of music around me from an early age since my mother was a music teacher who taught piano and violin at school. My first memory of a music lesson was accompanying my mum to primary school where she was giving a recorder lesson. I had not yet started school. Mum also played violin in a few orchestras, which my sister and I always assisted with ticket collecting or pouring drinks at the concert interval.
“Apart from the mandatory recorder lessons at school, I tried learning the piano at an early age but couldn’t quite get the hang of my hands doing two different things. When I was 9, I started learning the flute, and carried on until I finished schooling and ended up with a Grade 8 certificate. During my school years, I sang in choirs, played in concert bands and orchestras at church, at school and at my Saturday morning music school. I was very lucky!
“I contacted Blue Mountains Concert Band in 2017 asking which instruments they were short of. The answer was trumpets and saxophones, but I needed to get past beginner level. I played auxiliary percussion for a year which was a lot of fun – cymbals, side drum, bongos and triangle – sometimes all in the same piece of music! During the next 18 months I had a few lessons on saxophone and trumpet and found my way around the instruments. I found the saxophone fairly similar to the flute except the mouthpiece of course. The trumpet was totally different in breath control and the mouthpiece was a big challenge. My first gig with the band was the 2018 Christmas Carols in the Park – nope, actually it was rained out and we all crammed into the church hall. (No social distancing needed then!)
“I have a lot of fun playing in the band as I love music and playing with people is a great social activity. I work in a library, so it’s really good to blow a trumpet very loudly – no shushing in the band! I’m lucky enough to work from home 2 days a week, so it’s easy to fit it in going to rehearsals. Although practising on weekdays is a bit of a challenge, I always find time at the weekends.
“I’m also in a choir, although attendance at that activity has been a bit stilted over the last 12 months or so. At home I listen to ABC Classic, Jazz, and a range of musical styles. I really enjoy playing along with musicians either via YouTube or from music on my phone. Sometimes I feel sorry for my neighbours, but make sure I put in my Sshh mute if I’m playing late.”