Please Move Me Don't Just Amaze Me.
Please Move Me Don’t Just Amaze Me
By most standards my use of social media has ranged from very occasional, to virtually nonexistent. I watched everyone TikToking, WhatsApping Tweeting, Linking In and Instagramming, intensely dancing around social media on gizmos of all shapes and sizes, hopping across social communities in nanoseconds with bionic finger dexterity. My own social media morale left seriously lacking in a fog of distinctly uncool dad.
My screen tapping was often accompanied by looking through my fingers at replies or with eyes shut clicking send blind before I changed my mind yet again. Then there were those embarrassing typos. On a regular basis I would wish my online buddies well in their bra playing. The double ss falling foul to the brain moving faster than fingers.
For years I was the reluctant slow worm of social media usage gripped by ‘like’ fear. There is nothing worse than nil points in the Eurovision Song Contest and nil likes were the things social media nightmares were made of.
In recent times I have had to learn a different way to live and part of this has been getting with the programme and joining daily social media noodling. It is a scary place out there but I made the decision I needed to be out in warp factor six world and up to speed on all the latest news in brass and trumpet in particular. This is the instrument I have played and loved since I was 11. It has paid for my baked beans to my council tax so I need to learn more and connect more.
I joined Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and WhatsApp. I wasn't selective. It was all or back to the tumbleweed barren wasteland of social media outcasts. I became obsessive about joining everything and everyone that carried the trumpet hashtag (noughts and crosses in my world). I was 11 years old again, collecting but instead of eating endless chewing gum to collect Topps Soccer cards I was collecting trumpet websites. I surfed and scrolled endlessly for the elusive rarity of anorak trumpet groups with the same passion I hunted for Emlyn Hughes ESSO coin for the 1969/70 England World Cup Squad collection.
I felt part of the whole world wide web of trumpet land. I could get any trumpet fix I wished for. However I was unprepared for what followed.
Having joined trumpet groups I was then bombarded by other trumpet playing posts and sites. I kept clicking ‘accept’ and ‘join’ but couldn't click fast enough. They kept coming. Instagram insistently telling me I was all caught up but I wasn't! Below I could see there was a whole shopping list of trumpet goodies and treats that I hadn't joined. My life was becoming entwined with my inbox, which was entwined with my notifications and I was drowning in a tsunami of trumpet playing posts and lots of trumpet whizz kids from all over the world.
An 11 year old playing Flight of the BumbleBee. 13 year olds with piccolo trumpets in their hands playing a top Z and 14 year olds cruising through Charlier Studies. What!?
At 11 my Action Man had just been consigned to the cub scout jumble sale. At 12 I was cutting out pictures of Manchester United football stars from Shoot magazine papering my bedroom wall. At 13 I was trying to fake illness to skip school to play Black Sabbath up to 11, home alone, on my sisters Bush Mono Record Player. At 14 I discovered Goldie Hawn and my life changed.
In 2020 whizz kid trumpet land where were Ozzy Osborne, Harry Kane or even a Goldie Hawn on the wall behind these trumpet kids? There was not even an ActionMan in sight swinging from the G Plan Shelves. These trumpet young whizzo’s shelves were full of trumpet mutes and the best; Jo Ral, Le Blanc etc. On the wall trumpet posters and on immaculately tidy IKEA desks mouthpieces a plenty. Where was the hardened bubblegum? As these children whizzed round the trumpet unfortunately I couldn't even take delight in saying to myself ‘all the gear and no idea’, because they had the gear and they had ideas!
Aged 11 it had taken me four lessons to actually force a note out on the trumpet and subsequently ploughing through the F and G March from Tune A Day Book 1 with Mr Day and three other new trumpet souls.
Clip after clip I was amazed at what these kids were actually playing. I looked for edits. There must be edits right? No. Th
ere were no miraculous changes of shirt half way through Charlier number 5, or the wall clock (trumpet shaped of course) suddenly three hours forward. Hang on though, these kids have grown up in the age of miming to success. What about over dubs? Not a chance. There were no fashion changes, no miming and the trumpet clock annoyingly reliable in keeping time.
I was amazed but then bored. It seemed there was this mass, worldwide, kids trumpeter of the universe competition going on. Who can play the fastest, the highest, the loudest.
I started to feel where was the music? Had we witnessed the death in lockdown of the slow melody? Were there any alternative feelings this overdrive on Haribo?
As I sat through
a 12 year old playing another bumble bee this time on E additive I tried to think when I was young perhaps this is all I wanted to do? Perhaps I had wanted to double tongue like I had grown wings, play top Z as if my underwear were five sizes too small or play so damn loud an ASBO would be slapped for disturbing the peace at No 7 Hill Drive.
But in all honesty I wasn't like this. I wanted to, and still do, play with foremost a beautiful sound. I loved slow movements of concertos on all instruments. I used to play the melody line of all my fathers popular piano sheet music from the 1950’s. Even in rock, as much as I loved the ‘in your face hair parting’ guitar riff I was always more inclined to pick up the needle and find the little shiny groove at the start of the rock ballad again and again, lay back with Goldie Hawn for company.
Is this obsession of playing faster, louder, higher a result of a world that strives to make everything we do faster, quicker, slicker with machines with no soul? The very tool that shows these talents to the world feeds speed of return, speed of knowledge, speed of thinking, faster, quicker, faster, quicker and the human soul is left ever further back. Are the sheer joy of finally, after days and weeks of waiting, buying endless bubblegum and face to face trading with pals in the playground at break finding Emlyn Hughes the rarest of Topps Soccer Cards gone?
So come on trumpet whizz kids of the world yes you can do things on the trumpet I could rarely do, (actually never had to do on a gig). You can play but can you find your musical soul? Mix it up. Play a slow melody with a wonderful sound and shape. Be brave and post it on social media, because musical soul and personality is where we will find our most comforting and moving moments in life. I was once told in a lesson ‘those trumpet players that play quietly and with a good sound are the ones who earn a living’.
So come on amazing trumpet whizz kids move me don't just amaze me.