The five teachers you meet in hell

Unfortunately, while trying to save the conductor from falling off his podium, you (a mediocre trumpeter who has never been able to enjoy a performing career) have, yourself, fallen into the pit on your head and died. Too bad. Gabriel has mercy on you and decides to let you in heaven, if you promise to practice very diligently every day. But before going to heaven, you are led on a brief visit to trumpet hell. There, you get to meet the trumpet teachers who held you back from being a good trumpeter. They are the five trumpet teachers you meet in hell. (Author’s note: these are fictional characters, and any resemblance to real trumpet teachers is unintentional.)¬†

  1. Mitch. Mitch was a good member of academia, earning many accolades for his research and his service to the music school. In his hell-room, he has framed pictures of all the people he worked with in his career. He had so many stories, and he told them all of the time. When you asked him for help, he pointed you to the Charlier book and said, “Take two Charliers and call me in the morning!” This he said as he left your lesson early, because he had a golf game to play with the director of the school of music.
  2. Albom. Albom stopped practicing a decade before you took lessons with him. But, because he still needed to make some money, he kept on teaching. Since he could never demonstrate any of the music you bring to him, you couldn’t ever get an idea of how you were supposed to sound. He recommended resting a lot so as to always be fresh.
  3. Eddie. He was the nicest teacher you ever had. In fact, he was so nice, he never said anything bad about your playing. He always said “Great job!” When you asked what should you work on for the next lesson, he said, “Whatever you’d like!” He never knew deadlines for competition applications or when district auditions were, so you never did these sorts of things.
  4. The Captain. A retired military musician, who was the meanest teacher you ever knew. He never let you speak in lessons, and he never taught a minute past the end of the scheduled lesson. He always criticized your preparation–“Well, that’s because you didn’t practice like I told you!” He called you names–“Only an idiot would play this passages the way you just did!” You were so humiliated, that you didn’t have any interest in practicing between lessons. He had some interesting stories about how, when he was young, his teacher always made him cry.
  5. Mickey. When you started taking lessons from Mickey, you remembered that there was a girl trumpeter who had a lesson ¬†right before yours. She always left the lesson, which was behind a closed door with no window, without a smile. She looked down to the floor. She quit not too long after you started. Mickey borrowed your trumpet once to “test it out.” He returned it with different valve slides. When you asked him about it, he sounded surprised and said he had made a mistake. It turned out that the slides were on his trumpet, and he switched the slides back right then, while he laughed a weird kind of laugh.

Thankfully, Gabriel leads you back out of hell, gives you trumpet, a metronome, a tuner and a digital recorder. He says, “Tomorrow, I’ll wake you off of your cloud bed at 7:00 a.m. to help you learn a great warm-up. In the meantime, see if you can record this Brandt etude for me to listen to tomorrow. We’re really glad you’re here with us. Now, let’s get some practicing done!” Gabriel flies off, playing one of the lost fanfares of Gottfried Reiche.

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