In spite of my work in trying to improve myself on the violin and gaining an orchestra experience, I still had a strong liking for the cornet, which was in no way lessened by hearing my brother Ed play his. Listening to his constant practice every day finally "got my goat" musically, so I began devising some means where by I might try Ed's instrument and see if it were possible for me to do anything on a real cornet. He had a new one now, and as I was crazy with the desire to try it, I begged my mother to let me blow it just once one day when Ed was down town. At first I was met by a flat refusal, but she finally consented to let me play it for a few minutes, and I so surprised her by what I did as a beginner that she coaxed Ed to hear me play it.
Ed listened without saying very much, for he was a bit sore to find out that I had been blowing his new cornet: then he realized that possibly he might make some use of me. He recently had organized another small orchestra, and having acquired quite a reputation as a violinist was anxious to lead it himself with that instrument. He finally told me that if I would take good care of his cornet and wash it out each day, and if I made any noticeable improvement in its playing, perhaps he could use me in his orchstra. So at last I began to practice on a real cornet, and perhaps you can imagine how supremely happy I was - but I doubt it.
At the first rehearsal under Ed's directing I was careful not to make any mistakes and so get a "call-down" before the other players, and I left out many notes where the parts were difficult. In such places I did not blow a note, but kept my fingers moving and tried to look wise. "Safety first", even in those days! Strange to say, I could not seem to play soft and keep my tones under the others, so Ed compelled me to use a mute because when I let loose the whole orchestra would be drowned out. I was a mighy busy boy now, what with my schoolwork and the orchestras with which I was playing, but it kept me out of mischief. Even had I so desired and been permitted, I had no time to stand on street comers with a lot of loafers, also, I was happy in being industrious in a good cause.