At the close of the concert I went to the dressing room and received my pay for the performance, which had included about fifteen rehearsals. Of course, I took the money, although I felt I had not half earned it. But, excepting myself, no one seemed to think I had played badly, and even Dr. Torrington himself congratulated me. This amount of three dollars, which at the time seemed a fortune to me, I placed aside with my other earnings towards purchasing a new cornet for myself some day.
The pay received for playing at this concert encouraged me to earn more money, so all through that winter whenever there was a snowstorm I went from house to house shoveling snow from the sidewalks of the neighbors, and made from fifteen to twenty-five cents here and there according to the frontage of the different properties. I always was an impulsive boy who was greatly inclined to be impatient, and soon began to figure up the cost of a first-class cornet. I realized that even with what I had accumulated in the way of money it would take some years to make enough money for the cornet I wanted, and as I wished a good one or none I began to give up the idea of owning my own instrument.
It was about this time that my brother Ernest developed a craze for the slide trombone, a rare instrument in those days. The valve trombone was then being used exclusively in all bands and orchestras (except in the orchestras of the theatres), and there were but two slide players in town. Ern gave up his baritone and purchased a slide instrument from his earnings in the business where he was working. I suppose that he did very well for a boy, but it was awful to hear him practice, picking out the positions on his instrument the best that he could without a teacher. He seemed to think that because he played fairly well, it was unnecessary to again take up the scales and practice them on the trombone, so he simply practiced playing trombone parts out of the band books. That is the trouble with so many of us when young. We neglect to study the real foundation playing of our instruments, such as the major and minor scales, try to play music far beyond our capabilities and then wonder why our progress is so slow. However, I guess that every player commences the same way at first - not taking his instrument seriously, but playing it as a recreation.