Posted by Ellis on May 12, 1999 at 15:34:16:
I am an infrequent viewer of this BBS although I do find the posts interesting and thought provoking. As of late, however, I have found some disturbing and misguided posts in my opinion.
As a professional musician/tubist about to turn the corner into the golden age of life, I'm starting to see things with a different shade of sunglasses on. We know from current events how impressionable our young people are today. They will tell you they're not, but they are, as were we at their age. I'm concerned for the high school tubist thinking about a career in music; that young college student just starting his or her journey. They must be thinking right now from reading the posts the past couple of days and indeed the past month or so, that unless they own a name brand tuba ensconced in a titanium shell/down-filled hard case that they sold their soul to the devil to purchase, they are not serious musicians and are doomed to "sell out" and become a bitter, opinionated instrument repairman stuck in a city he or she despises. I make my living with horns that have dents, have pitch problems, are a bit unattractive, have "trendy" piston valves, and are kept in cordura bags. But you know what? The conductor loves the way I sound, I can still go out with the bone section after rehearsal for a tall, room-temperature stout, my kids still smile and dance in the floor when I play (even in their twenties!). And I LOVE the way I sound. Not once has anyone urged me to buy a more expensive horn. And never have they hinted that if I had a few less dents, I might sound better. I play what I have because that's what comes out of the gig bag. I'm not advocating blindly picking your horns, just play what feels good.
I used to fish a lot and would see people come to the lake with all sorts of graphite-this and treble-hooked that and I caught just as many fish with my Snoopy rod and some hot dogs. I also believe my experience was just as enjoyable and productive, albeit with less flash and cash.
Ever seen Joe S.chmo at the golf course with his custom bag, his own cart and $8,000 worth of clubs with a $20 and change game? I certainly have!
It's not what you play, it's HOW you play. You can be a helluva successful player (pssst...don't tell anyone...you can even win an audition!) with a "sub-standard" horn (not my words). Do you want to bet Gene Porkorny could spend a couple of weeks with a Mel Culbertson 6/4 and still sound glorious in the back of that orchestra? I'll take that bet!
Guys...open your minds and hearts and make the decision that feels right; one that you can live with. To pass up an $8000 horn that plays 99% as well as a $10000 horn is just ignorant. I'm sorry to be so contradictory, but it's just wrong, no matter at what angle you look at it. Nothing hurts more than dropping $15000 on a new Nirschl only to find a used 2165 for substantially less that plays just as well.
Happy practicing, and good luck in your career. Just be sure to choose your advice wisely!!