In the early part of September, 1887, 1 returned to Toronto, Canada, as cornet soloist of the Citizen's Band which was virtually the Queen's Own Regimental Band, and once more enlisted in this famous regiment. My duties now, as I was under a yearly salary, necessitated my attending all band rehearsals, regimental drills, and march outs, and giving my first services to the band. However, I was allowed to take outside engagements that did not conflict with these duties, and I had more time to devote to practice and other work, such as teaching and playing solos at concert engagements.
The environment was immeasurably better than that held in the regular theatre work in Rochester, and I began to plan a new future that would bring about better results in every way. The yearly salary was sure, and was considered a retaining fee, all engagements with the band paying extra, with the exception of regimental duties. So at least I was sure of as much money as I had received in Rochester, and still more time to myself in which to continue my musical education.
Almost its first engagement after my joining the band was the Annual National Canadian Exhibition in Toronto, and I was programmed for a solo at each concert, which gave me quite a local reputation to begin with, the result being that many cornet players wishing me to instruct them, I started a small class.
The band had many engagements in and around town. Later on, when the winter concert season opened, I played with the Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Torrington, as well as with the Claxton Orchestra, the latter organization being in quite good demand.
In addition I was approached to teach a new band, just organized, made up of about thirty men, employees of the Taylor Safe Works Company. I well remember the first night I tried to direct and teach the band, it being the first time I had ever attempted to use a baton. Under these circumstances, quite naturally, I was awkward, but I went at it the best I could. The work gave me still another experience in the music line; one that has helped me much in my career. Before very long, after some practice at home, beating time before a mirror. I succeeded in drilling the band so well that in a few months we gave to a large audience a successful concert at Shaftsbury Hall on Queen Street. Besides this, I was engaged as violin instructor at the Trinity College School at Port Hope, a small town about sixty miles east of Toronto, going there once a week. In the evening, I taught an amateur orchestra composed of about fifteen businessmen of the town. All of these activities netted me more extra money.
The more pupils I had, the more I seemed to learn, even from them. Each played in a different manner, and I would often find one who could play, easily or naturally, exercises that I had found difficult, and over which I had spent many days, weeks, and months, before I could play them perfectly the first time I really learned much from such experiences.