Such matters impressed me greatly the more I observed the things happening around me every day, and I determined to make my "hay" while the sun shone, especially now that I had the engagement at the Academy of Music in Rochester, New York, which more than paid my expenses. I decided that I must work hard at home to become a better musician, so that later on, if an opportunity presented itself whereby I might double my salary, I would be in a position to grasp it, and not lose out by being told I was incomptent, or if I had secured the position, be discharged for the same reason - either of which circumstances would have been a terrible humiliation to me.
Living about two miles from the theatre where I played, I would walk to and from there twice a day. The exercise was beneficial, and gave me a good opportunity to think out all the problems that were occupying my mind at that time. In addition, I began to practice single tonguing with each step, articulating four times to the step, finding this to be excellent practice for acquiring precision and rhythm; before long I had my tongue under perfect control. I discovered that to walk and tongue the syllable "t" four times to each step, walking thirty-two steps in one breath, helped me in the matter of endurance. Try this some time, you cornetists, and students of the instrument.
Playing two shows a day and going home after the matinee, made nearly two hours of daily practice for proper and decisive attack, and when I had learned to control single tonguing to a point where the muscles of the tongue did not tire, I then tried triple tonguing in the some manner - "tu-tu-ku" - two triplets to the step. This was difficult at the start as the third syllable "ku" was not as distinct as the "tu," so I made up my mind that if I expected to triple-tongue perfectly, I must acquire the same proiciency with "ku" as with "tu".
Finding that - "kuk" was more decisive than "ku", I commenced using this syllable four times to the step, but was compelled to walk much slower at first in order to articulate evenly; and my! how I seemed to stutter. All this required some patience and much effort, as I could only walk a few steps in one breath and keep the articulation regular and even. But before long I mastered it completely, which proves what practice will accomplish, Then, having conquered both the "tu" and "ku" separately, I tried triple-tonguing again with the result that it became even and distinct in every syllable. This method of practice was the foundation of my correct tonguing, which has stood by me to this day. How easy my scale exercises became now, and how well I could control all kinds of difficult articulations! So often, in after life, have I suggested this method of practice to my pupils, for their own benefit, and how few have ever taken advantage of this great essential of correct cornet playing!
The more I improved in my playing, the greater interest I took in my work; consequently all my spare time was now taken up with proper study. Then my theatre engagement (playing two shows a day, one hour in a brass band outside and three hours inside for each performance, utilizing eight hours daily, besides Monday morning rehearsals for the show and Saturday mornings for the band) left little time for home practice, as many will infer. But I managed to get in at least three hours of good solid practice and study every day, besides the other work, and this kept me healthy and content, knowing and feeling that I was becoming a better player all the time. My desire, now, was greater than ever to be a real cornetist, because of the encouragement offered by my progress.