A buyer of my book Alto Trombone Savvy wrote me a very sweet email and informed me that he cannot directly receive the book but is making arrangements for its delivery.
Not an uncommon email, but this particular one came from Ukraine.
This Ukrainian trombone player, Petro, will be teaching himself alto trombone. He wrote, “I dream of playing the alto trombone.” He has ordered an alto trombone from a Czech Republic factory. Apparently, they produce horn called the Amati ASL 601 Eb Alto Trombone. Because delivery into Ukraine is impossible these days, the book he bought from me is being delivered to him in Ukraine via Slovakia.
Petro is a member of the United Nations and a former Ukrainian soldier who lives in Kyiv. I told him that I, like most people, honor their spirit and wish them victory against Russia. He replied, “I am very grateful to your country for helping us in the war against the Russian invaders. We will defeat them in the end. We have no choice.”
The next day, I received another email from Petro answering the question I asked him after his original email. I asked him what it is like to work on his playing under threat of Russian attack. This is what he wrote back:
“As for me, I am in much better conditions than those people who are closer to the contact line. But the whole country is in danger when missile attacks from Russia begin. A lot of energy infrastructure has been damaged by Russian missiles, and quite often we have to be in the dark.
But the trombone is an instrument that does not require electricity. You can play the trombone in the dark. You can’t see the positions of the trombone, but you can feel them with your ear. Just as you write in your book that you have to rely on your ear and discover the music in yourself. So, playing in the dark helps with that.
Music during war helps. Hundreds of military bands are used to raise the morale of soldiers in war. During the Second World War, Glenn Miller himself was sent to the war to raise the morale of the soldiers.
Once a military pilot who was an amateur musician said: “Everything passes, but music is eternal.”
That’s the spirit of a country that is pushing back as well as they are on Russian forces.
It really takes dedication to be studying a new musical instrument under the constant threat of deadly attack during war, doesn’t it? I must admit that if missiles were flying close to me, practicing trombone would not really be on my agenda!
He shared with me a link to a video of him and a few friends playing music. Watch the video, give him a like, and maybe even leave them an encouraging comment.
Coincidentally, very early this morning, I had a zoom call with a woman from Odessa in southern Ukraine who was helping me with a technical aspect of a website I am building. Beautiful, super smart, and generous with her time for me, working with her was a most enjoyable experience.
I mentioned to her that I was corresponding with a musician in Kyiv and she said, yes, electricity is challenging, especially when you are in the business of working on computers all day. Apparently, trombone is much easier to operated in the dark than a computer!
My fondness and respect for the people of Ukraine is growing by the day!