Occasionally I would go over to Rogers' home to play cornet duets with him and talk music. In addition to his wonderful cornet playing he also was a remarkably fine violinist, having studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music under the celebrated teacher, Schradieck. I gained many pointers from Rogers on cornet playing without taking regular lessons. He said that he did not teach, but would be only too glad to help me if I thought I could learn anything from him. Maybe I didn't, eh!
I was ready to take advantage of every opportunity to perfect myself in music, and not a day passed that I did not learn something new. I persistently asked questions, no matter how silly they may have sounded, for I desired to find out and know things. Nor was I ever quite satisfied with the explanations given, but would argue on both sides until I was fully and firmly convinced that I was on the right track and would not be compelled to undo any of the foundation work I was building up for my future.
Those hours of perseverance and struggle in trying to learn have repaid me a thousand fold, for without perfection in my work I never could have made the success of my after life. And yet in those days it merely was pleasure to strive and do my work well, and never at any time did it seem arduous or laborious.
Now that we three brothers (Ed, Ern and myself) were in the "music game," so to speak, playing small engagements here and there for whatever the job at hand might pay, (in those days there was no union to fix and govern prices), of course we played whenever and wherever there was a chance to make a dollar. Often times, however, we did not receive any remuneration, but our inherent love of music and its playing kept us sufficiently interested in our work to hold together. The main idea with us was to be "playing all the time," anywhere or somewhere, but we never played for nothing if someone in connection with the job was receiving pay.
The rehearsals of our family string quartet (Ed, first violin; Ern, second violin; Dad,' cello and myself viola) taught us real music, for we played the works of all the old masters. Such atmosphere and environment formed the best possible education for a boy who had decided to follow music as a profession, and my aspirations soon began to climb. I wanted to not only make a fair cornet player, but a good "all-round" musician, and so began to study the tonal qualities, compass, and fingering of all the other instruments which go to make up band and orchestra ensembles. I now could read music in all clefs, and often tried to write for the different instruments by making a regular score, using some simple song as a guide for the orchestration.