Growing older (I was now in my twenty-first year) and continually learning, as well as gathering success in all my work because of the fact that I always tried hard to be as perfect as possible in everything that I undertook, my dreams of becoming a great cornet soloist took hold of me again, and I began to work with more determination than ever, especially in correcting my faults, so that if the time should come for me to apply for a higher position I would be fully prepared.
Even so, although I devoted much time to my profession, there was always a chance for recreation of some kind, and I was always out for a good time with the boys, riding the bicycle (I was bugler in the Wanderers Bicycle Club), and doing considerable yachting, of which I was extremely fond. I had a small sailboat, a sloop rig, named The Puritan, with which I won the championship in the Fifth Class of The Royal Canadian Yacht Club Regatta for three consecutive years, sailing the boat myself, with a crew of our.
Three years passed pleasantly, during which time I was always occupied, branching out into broader channels as my popularity increased. Although still a young man, I was appointed to the staff of teachers in the Toronto Conservatory of Music as instructor for the violin, viola, cornet, and all brass instruments. I might say here that I had again taken up the viola for amusement, and had become a member of the Conservatory String Quartet, giving monthly recitals at the Auditorium. This, to me, was a most ineresting phase of music, especially while I was studying harmony, as string-quartet music is the purest form of harmony and the foundation of the symphony orchestra. This experience still further extended my education in music, giving me a better standing throughout the Province, with the result that out-of-town concert engagements began to pour in.
I soon realized that there were not enough hours in the day for all the work I could take on, so I raised my price for pupils, as well as that for concert work, arguing that even with less pupils at an advanced price, I would make just as much money and have more time to myself. The same with concert engagements; if I received as much for one concert as I had been getting for two, it would make me a bit more independent and increase my drawing power. Even with my advance in price, during the winter season averaged three concerts a week for solo playing, my territory covering the entire Province of Ontario, and even extending to Montreal, Quebec.
With all these engagements, I managed to carry out my duties with the band, not once failing in my obligations to the regiment or band engagements, and the more work I had, the happier I became. I never wasted much time gossiping with musicians whose principal theme, generally, was to "knock" successful players and the different leaders upon whom they depended for a livelihood. And still I seemed to be popular among them, trying to help everyone who was not doing very well, recommending many for jobs, and also advising each to try to better his playing through proper study and practice.
I am mentioning my successes at this early age to impress the reader with the thought that everyone has an equal chance to succeed if he goes about it in the proper way, there being no such thing as luck, either good or bad. I had my struggles, in fact, I am never without them, but I always tried my best to overcome obstacles that at first seemed impossible. By sticking to it, I managed to conquer many faults (another name for obstacles) and gained a realization that the most important matter was to learn self control. This has been the fight of my life.
Ambition is the first essential for musical success, but patience is the greater virtue. It is so difficult to hold back and not strive to reach the top of the ladder too soon. Through Difficulties to Triumph is a splendid motto to follow, but much thought and understanding are required to reach the highest pinnacle; so many disappointments occur before one has learned to climb very high. We only learn by making mistakes, and these mistakes should be lessons to us. We should immediately correct them as best we can, without falling into discouragement, a state that has been the downfall of the majority of enthusiasts. (I often tell the members of my band at rehearsals that there is no crime in making a mistake, but that there is in making the same mistake twice.)