You and Your Instrument: Richard

You and Your Instrument

Richard (trombone)

The lockdown is no hardship, just different.  The biggest change is no band practice on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.  But I’m playing a lot at home.  Week 1 was on bass trombone and week 2 on tenor.  The latter follows from Matthew challenging me to try the trom 1 parts.  I have that pad with me and so can do the prescribed practice.


For the bass, after exercises and studies, I sample ‘100 essential works for the symphonic bass trombonist’.  My favourites so far are Haydn’s Creation, which surprisingly has a terrific bass trombone part, and anything by Tchaikovsky – who often asks for sempre fff for umpteen bars.  This is probably bad for my old lungs but it does scare away the magpies from the garden.


A key part of my fantasy about doing symphonic stuff is terrorising the viola players just in front.  You see, I used to be one of them.  I never complained about the noise.  Had I done so the bad boys in the back row would have said ‘If you were any good you’d be sitting over there in the first violins.’

You and Your Instrument Questionnaire

Q. When did you first start playing your instrument?


Q. What or who inspired you?

For ages, I knew I was a trombonist locked in the body of a viola-player.  Now, with specialist treatment, I’m developing an embouchure and could have surgery to remove my pizzicato (that’ll take some pluck).  But my fiddler’s elbow will still be obvious.

Q. Who taught you?

Richard Pywell

Q. Which bands have you played in?

Croydon Brass; Crystal Palace Progress Band; All Saints Concert Band

Q. Name three highlights of your band playing career.

(violin) Playing Vaughan Williams in the London Schools Symphony to VW himself at the RFH, 1958
(viola) Playing Mendelssohn’s Octet to the profs at UCL (where I amused myself after retirement)
(trombone) Playing in a very rough Andrews Sisters tribute band with my three daughters (vocal), my son (boogie woogie bugle boy) and assorted others

Q. Name one thing you would like to do in the future with BCB.

Nothing specific.  Where Matthew leads I’m happy to follow … just milliseconds behind his beat.

Q. Please provide a photograph or two if you can of yourself playing or engaging in a musical activity.

Pictured here – helping granddaughter with her exam preparation.