I began playing trombone at the age of nine through the public school's band program. I have no idea why I chose trombone, as I had always dreamt of being a trumpet player like Herb Alpert. I was one of those kids who wanted so desperately to excel, that I spent hours everyday, honking on that thing. I never practiced, just played. In retrospect, practice would have helped! Reaching high school, I sat first chair as a freshman. seemed everyone believed I was destined to become some amazing famous trombone player, but I never improved from that point! To this day, I play trombone as well as a gifted 13 year old. What happened is that I lost interest as soon as improvement required more effort. Lack of discipline certainly plays a big part in lack of ability.
And yet at that crossroads of sorts, I was curious about every other instrument. I Learned other brass instruments, and began to play around with guitar and piano. That's where I discovered that for me, music is in my head, not in my hands. I would never become a great instrumentalist on any instrument, but learning theory on my own through trial and error, writing my own songs and notating the things I created would be that magical place, that gift of God to help carry this little weirdo through life.
While in high school I wrote well over 100 songs, and planned to be a famous solo artist a la Elton John, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Jim Croce, etc, but most of my communication with "industry people" ended in frustration, as they wanted to mold me, and I didn't want to be molded, thus I never became part of "the club" made of desperate-wanna-be-superstars.
What was I going to do?
In 1980 I joined The US Navy as a trombone player and spent 4 years in Virginia as a part of The Atlantic Fleet Band. Even though my skills were only as accomplished as a 13 year old, remember, I was a "gifted" 13 year old, and that was good enough to get me through the audition. It was an honor and an education, playing with some of the best musicians ever. They were patient and sometimes impatient with me as I learned so much from many of them. And while I went in a trombone player, I would mostly play guitar and sing.