"I've picked up the horn again after 30 years ... "
This story repeats itself again and again on the forum, so perhaps it would be of interest to gather these stories under one thread.
I'll kick it off!
OK, trumpet wasn't working out, but I must have seemed determined to continue making loud noises, so the director put a baritone in my hands. Time passed, and I found myself in my high school baritone section with players possessing better natural chops than I, but I was a maniac and would not let myself be beaten. Somehow I made All-State Band as a 9th-grader -- high-school all-state in those days was grades 9-12 -- as fourth chair, but there I was. (Clearly it was a bad year for baritones.)
Around age 14 I discovered I had a decent-working set of vocal cords, so my development as a vocalist began at that point. (Baritone voice, like the horn.)
Entered my local university music program and took a degree in voice performance, but sold both my horns during that interval (big mistake).
I'd say the horn hiatus began around 1973. Grad studies in vocal music ensued, but terminated in musical burnout.
My peculiar gift for language steered me into graduate studies in German, leading to a Master's and a career path as a language teacher. All the while, I never stopped doing music; performed in semi-pro madrigal groups, symphony choruses and the like. (Important added benefit: that's how I met my wife, a soprano.)
Funny, though: often, while reading the bass line in a choral score, my subconscious would motivate my right hand to press imaginary valves; over a period of three decades, that instinct was never extinguished. Nor did I stop feeling inspired whenever I heard the majesty of a symphonic brass section in concert; my daydreams of playing a brasswind never really went away.
After completing my third, and terminal, university degree ('terminal' is an appropriate designation, as it just about killed me), I decided to celebrate my accomplishment -- and pay raise -- with the purchase of a proper euphonium. Incredible dumb luck brought a used Sterling into my hands. I got out the old
Arban and Rochut and Blazhevich books, joined a community band, and never looked back.
Elapsed time off the horn: thirty-three years, more or less. The Brits would probably say of me, "he's bloody useless, but awfully sincere." But the satisfaction I feel after a good concert or rehearsal is hard to express.