How do you stand out from the crowd?

It makes more sense to ask the question, rather than just say “you have to be ‘ outstanding.’ ” It’s easy to pretend you are “outstanding;” just look in the mirror.

You look different. Maybe there are 3 or 4 other people on the planet who look 95% the same as you, but unless you’re one of a set of twins, triples or more, “one out of a billion” is still pretty unlikely. Cool, huh!?

Just look in the mirror. It’s true. But if you need MORE proof,

you can find it easily. All it takes for me is ———————>>>>

Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven!






Seriously, though, how DO you make yourself “stand apart” from the thousands of trumpet players that try-out for All-Region, hoping to go on to All-State?

“If a musician tried to sound exactly like another famous musician, you’d tell him to get his own sound, right?” Sort of…but that’s a great starting point. If you sound exactly like Ole Edvard Antonsen, Phli Smith or Alison Balsom is that going to hurt your chances at making state? No, not from what I’ve heard.

So that’s step #1. EVERY musician starts out imitating someone else. You must imprint the sound of the world’s most beautiful trumpet sounds in your mind, conscious, subconscious and any other spare brain cells you have, and then it has to become part of your SOUL, which is NOT just “brain chemistry.” Is “love” just “chemistry?” No, and don’t let anyone convince you that it is. If you need proof, talk to me. But bring some soft drinks, chips and a sack lunch because you will have just opened a HUGE bag of “Why?”

Step 2. Music is a language and you have to learn the language before you can speak beautiful, powerful or bold sentences, or, better yet, TELL A STORY! Each etude, song or solo is a story. How well can you tell a story…reading Russian or Japanese? (Unless you are proficient and FLUENT in that language.) Not well. It won’t even make sense to Russians or Japanese. Inflections, nuance, pronunciation, grammar and syntax? Phrasing?! They are an inherent part of the language. Fugeddaaboutit! It ain’t happenin’ if you don’t speaka da language.

Step 3. When you’ve mastered steps 1 and 2, it’s time to write your own story. When you can play an etude and end it with “they lived happily ever after” and everyone cries, you are now the master and WILL stand out from the crowd.













I assume that from reading the rest of this website you know that:

  1. Trumpet playing is a part of your life, 24/7/364 (you can take Christmas and Feb 29 off.)
  2. You MUST play beautifully every day for several hours alone. Band class does not count. It must be just you and the horn,  writing a story for every note you play.(Each note can be a story of it’s own, or a character in the story.)
  3. You have to PLAY THE TRUMPET in order to PLAY MUSIC. And when you can play the trumpet, you don’t have to THINK about playing trumpet, you only THINK about the BEAUTIFUL story you are telling. Sometimes it’s a sad story or an angry story. Put any adjective you need in front of “story” and make that story live, and possibly die, beautifully.
  4. FUNDAMENTALS: they change everything! Do them everyday without fail..they also “change everything” if you don’t do them.
  5. Hard work and smart work? Maybe, but why work when you PLAY hard and PLAY smart and PLAY a great story on every note? It’s called trumpet “playing,”  not trumpet “working.” You just have to play beautifully, perfectly and “magically” permanently.

Oh sure, you will be putting a great deal of time and energy and thought into you’re playing. Some people call that work. But musicians call it “PLAYTIME!” And it is fun!

Now go read the rest of the site if you haven’t already.

And if that’s not enough, look to the right.

And finally, from someone (me) who wanted to play trumpet beautifully  and whose true voice will never be heard due to physical impairments:

You have an opportunity to live a “magical” life. Trumpet playing is an honor, a privilege and SO much fun when it’s done properly.

You can make a living playing trumpet, but think of it this way: NFL. Yes, your chances of being a professional trumpet player who makes a decent living doing so is less than getting drafted for an NFL team. But then, it doesn’t hurt as much either.

Is it worth the effort, time and energy? For me, were I in high school again and know what I now know, YES!! But is it for you? You have to answer that question.

However, you can play trumpet and play superbly as an avocation. Many people do. And they will tell you yes, it’s worth it. Good trumpet players are everywhere. Great trumpet players you find occasionally. But only PHENOMENAL players can make a good living playing trumpet. Can YOU be phenomenal? Maybe. I won’t lie to you and say everyone who works his fanny off will become a superb player, just like I could’ve worked my fanny off and never made the NFL, NBA or MLB. I don’t have the physical traits for any of those.

But trumpet is something different. It’s usually not so much the body as the brain and soul.

The original question, though, was concerning making All-State band in Texas. The door is wide open on that question. And anyone who has made it will tell you it was worth the effort! It CAN be done!

So? Go do it!







Comments are closed.