[Dixielandjazz] Hardest instrument to learn

James Kashishian kash@ran.es
Wed, 19 Jun 2002 16:05:54 +0200

admin@ml.islandnet.com] On Behalf Of Bob Romans
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Hardest instrument to learn

I'm probably gonna get hit hard for this, since trombone just happens to
be MY instrument, but I've always understood the hardest to learn is
first the oboe (double reed very hard to play in tune), the violin (no
positions for perfect tuning), and then the trombone (for the same
reason as the violin).  

To support my comment on the trombone, one must realize that as the
slide is moved, a legato or stoccato tonguing must take place at EXACTLY
the same moment, thereby cutting off what otherwise is a steady flow of
air, so as not to get the famous/infamous "slur".  If anyone has ever
tried to teach THAT to a new student, you'll know how hard it is.  In my
experience, count on two years studying before a trombone even BEGINS to
sound like a musical instrument!  (I've left myself WIDE OPEN for
wise-crackers to leap in on THAT statement!!!!)

On a second note, I've always found it a drag that reed guys can come
back on a gig after weeks without touching the horn, and only suffer a
bit of pain on the corners of the mouth, whereas us brass guys just
might not even get a note out after a certain point.  How many of youse
have suffered the "pucker up & only air comes out" thing?  It's really

I'd vote for reed instruments as being simpler than brass just 'cause of
the above.  Blow & you get a note, maybe not a nice one, but something
at least comes out.  Brass guys don't get diddly for ages when beginning
a horn.....and, I've left myself open for even more gags with THAT
comment!!    :>

(On a similar note, if any of you have seen the absolutely fantastic
movie The Committments, you'll see that the old trumpet guy gets all the
broads in the band.  It's the young guys "talking" about what they're
gonna do, and the old brass guy is actually doing it!  So, no jokes
about us brass guys!)

Ever wonder why there are so many saxophonist out there, and so few good