I Want to Blow My Own Horn

BugleNo really; literally… About two months ago I purchased a used Military Bugle. You see I’m a military veteran and to honor a bother veteran at his funeral is important to me.  Congress feels that our country need only provide two uniformed military to fold and present the US flag to the next of kin at a funeral. In their ultimate wisdom and with the invention of the CD congress felt that playing TAPS from a CD rather than a bugler would suffice for those who have served their country.

It’s only in the movies, at Arlington for those KIA, or for high ranking government and military officers will you see our government provide full honor guard; flag folders, buglers, and riflemen providing the salute. If you see this for a veteran any other time it’s because the family has hired or was provided though organizations like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars buglers and/or riflemen.

At my fathers funerals his best friend took it upon himself to hire a bugler and the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars provided the riflemen for the salute. Sadly, most veterans receive only the flag and TAPS played on a CD. As a veteran this has bothered me for a very longtime.

Recently I ran across this originations website called Bugles Across America  and thought what a wonderful idea! This is something that I felt I could do for my fellow veterans and their family, but before I could I needed a bugle. So I purchased an military regulation Bugle off eBay and proceeded (after sanitizing it) to try and lean how to play TAPS.

Since TAPS is the only song I needed to learn I figured that it should be easy. WRONG! Having never really played any instrument outside of a Kazoo I had really no idea where to start so I chose the Internet. YouTube was the natural first place to look; believe it or not there are NO videos that teach how to play the Bugle, there are ones that will show up when you search but most show nothing, only those people blowing their own horn no instruction at all.

What I did find for brass wind instruments seemed to contradict each other, where to place the mouthpiece, etc….

I turned my search to Google and found a manual titled “Manual For Buglers U.S. Navy” which helped me get started and I can play some of the song but can’t seem to get the high notes. I do know what the problem is though; the problem is; I don’t know what the hell I’m doing!

Okay I thought the only way to get this done it to take actual Bugle Lessons from an actual teacher somewhere local and near to my home or workplace. So far I’ve been unsuccessful; I did find some who advertised they taught Trumpet so I sent email and left voice mail but none was returned. Calling places that sell instruments yielded nothing either.

I’m totally at a loss as what to do, totally disappointed and nearing the point where the only option left is giving up on the idea of bugling for my brother veterans; which is hard for me because I never give up on anything. I just wanna blow my horn….

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7 Responses to I Want to Blow My Own Horn

  1. Wow, I had no idea about this! When my dear friend, Zack, was KIA in Afghanistan, there was a bugle player there. Didn’t realize this wasn’t for all veterans. Very upsetting!

  2. rickmather says:

    I respect your motive very much and I share your desire for every veteran to receive the best honors available. The Taps on a CD or even the fake bugle/flugelhorn thing rankles me.

    I’m a trumpet player and ex-navy musician. Be advised that the embouchure described in the “Manual for buglers” is the wrong way to play. It comes from a school of brass playing that is over an hundred years old. The “Smile” system is one that causes the embouchure to degrade over time. I suggest you look into the reinhardt method (the pivot system) or any of the other popular methods out there. There is nothing easy or natural about brass playing. Good instruction can go a long way. Good luck.

  3. Pingback: Not? Running Army Strong | Usabaker's Blog

  4. Martin Smith says:

    I’m in the same boat. I got the bugle but I have not found a source to learn taps from. Four separate notes. Doesn’t seem so tough. Have you had any recent luck?

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