It has been almost 43 years to the day that I started playing trombone. I'll never forget that day when my beloved mother took me to the music store and we rented my Olds Ambassador trombone. I felt so proud as I walked down the street carrying my new trombone.
I was astonished when we were walking down the street and this man said, as he walked past me, "Well, young man, I see you have a trombone!" I looked at my mother and said, "How did that man know that?" My mother responded by saying, "Maybe the different instruments have their own special cases."
After I received my six free lessons at the music store (which was part of the deal when you rented from this store), I started taking lessons from a band director and music teacher in the St. Paul puplic school system. His own instrument was trumpet and his name was Edward 'Ed' Von Hoff.
He took me as a student because he used to live next door to my mother many years before. His house was a half mile from where we lived. I remember that walk as if it were yesterday.
He was a very thorough teacher. Each week I had to learn a scale, memorize a little piece and do some sight reading. If I played out of tune, he would stop me and say, "Normie, do you smell that?" He had a great sense of humor. Every time I would empty my spit valve, he would tell me to empty my spit into a glass, put it into the fridge, then serve it to guests. He said they would love it! I laughed so hard I thought I would fall over!
After two years of studying with Mr. Von Hoff, he told me that I should take from a trombonist.
I learned a lot from him. He loved music. He would always try to come to other concerts I was in later on to hear me play.
Just for the record, I never served any one that special cold drink--yet!