Tom Simons is, amongst other things, a cavalry trumpet player for the Royal Symphonic Band Of The Belgian Guides and is also an Alliance fan! Here he shares with us his journey about how he began playing and ended up with that role…
What instrument do you play?
I play trumpet (Bflat, C, Eflat/D, piccolo), Soprano cornet, flugelhorn, cavalry trumpet*.
When did you start playing/ how did you get into music?
When I was a five years old my father learned me to play the first notes on a trumpet, I have kept playing ever since!
Which band/orchestra do you play in and how do you get involved?
I won an audition last summer for the cavalry trumpet position at the Royal Symphonic Band Of The Belgian Guides. It’s the military wind band of the Belgian Army (land forces). In my free time I play in two wind bands where I grew up as a child.
How often do you practice?
I practice between 3-5 hours a day usually.
How do you prepare for a performance?
I listen first to the recording if there’s one with the scores and start studying until I know it it for 120% because in a performance there are always things that can happen.
What do you need to take with you (must haves, lucky charms etc!)
I have 3 bracelets I wear every performance!
What is your best musical memory or favourite place to play?
I have two. The first is being hired to play a competition with a Dutch fanfare orchestra where I had to play a solo piece for trumpet and vocal (I shall love but thee from Jan van der Roost). Second best memory was becoming world champion with my windband at the WMC (World Music Contest) in Kerkrade (Netherlands).
What would your advice be to someone just getting started?
Try to do it step by step, if you want to much progress in a short period of time you’ll get frustrated and that definitely doesn’t help.
Best thing about your instrument?
I love the trumpet family (cornets and flugelhorn included) because the variety is endless. The range, sonority and flexibility is so various
Worst thing about your instrument?
When I don’t play for more than two days I notice immediately my physical endurance is so much less.
What mouthpiece do you use and why?
On my Flugelhorn is use the Alliance 2FL Prestige, my Soprano cornet the Alliance the Sop plus, Bflat/C/cavalry trumpet I currently use the Bach 1,5C but I’m searching for a new mouthpiece. Eflat/D I play with Bach 3D and piccolo I have the Schilke 10A4A.
What do you want to go on to do in the next few years?
Keep enjoying my work as a musician, playing some interesting projects and help students to improve with their playing. I’d also love to be an ambassador of a brand too.
If you could change anything about your musical life what would it be?
When I was 12 I got braces and started to play trumpet with a bad position for my lips. I kept playing the wrong way and when I did audition for the conservatory I had to change it all back. That took away a whole year. So I would tell myself to keep playing on the right position.
What is your favourite thing about music?
It’s the perfect mixture of friendship, culture, togetherness and relaxation.
And finally – what is your best musical joke?
What’s Beethoven’s favourite fruit? Ba-na-na-NAAA!
*Bflat trumpet from Edwards, C trumpet Bach, Eflat/D Yamaha, Cavalry trumpet B&S (especially made for the Belgian Guides), Flugelhorn Adams F4 (4 valves), Piccolo trumpet is Bach Artisan series, Soprano cornet Besson sovereign (old model tuning slide in bell crook)