Weekly Trumpet Tips 11/10/15

Trumpet Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:

(1) “Making It” In the Music Business

(2) Doing Homework!

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Tip #1 – “Making It” In The Music Business

This is a conversation that I’ve been around a lot!  The words “It’s Tough To Make It In The Music Business” prevented me from following my passion and chasing my dream the way it deserved to be chased in my youth and young adulthood!  Those 9 words form one of the biggest lies we can tell ourselves and each other!  The truth is – if you approach ANY business the way a lot of musicians approach the music business, it will be tough to make it!

There are 3 simple rules to follow!

  1. Show Up ON TIME – that means EARLY!  Early enough so that you’re out of the way of the vendor hiring you, able to set up and test your gear (especially rhythm and sound personnel) and can head off any potential problems that can and will occur!
  2. Be a nice person!  I’m amazed as to how many self righteous butt-heads hide in the music industry… let your instrument do your bragging… and cutting heads ON THE GIG is NOT acceptable!
  3. Play your butt off!  – See tip #2 for more on this…

One of my biggest personal pet peeves is the unreliability factor of a great many musicians… not just trumpet players!  Calling someone hours before the gig saying you can’t make it won’t get you called back!  Neither will leaving someone high and dry… if you’re not sure you can fully 100% commit – don’t take the gig!

Finally – pave your own path!  Sitting and waiting for the phone to ring is not necessarily a great tactic… especially in the music industry.  Keeping yourself visible and up to date (practicing) is the best marketing strategy!  It’s not about the “competition” amongst players as much as it is about staying on people’s calling lists by staying active!  Creating your own band and your own gigs will certainly create another realm of challenges, but is a great way to ensure that you work!  Sitting and waiting rarely works in any business!

Tip #2 – Doing Homework!

If you have an upcoming show and have places that the music struggles a little bit, do your homework!  Sitting down and taking things at a slow digestible pace is what the masters do to ensure they are prepared for any outing!  Whether that be playing section parts, audition material or playing an improvised solo – you have to work out the parts!

Cramming is probably the WORST idea that some players encounter when it comes to working on challenging passages or tasks musically.  You will not build up the necessary confidence if you try and cram with days / hours left before the performance.  One of my favorite things to ask students is, “How do you eat an elephant?”  Answer:  ONE BITE AT A TIME!

Spending 10 minutes every day is far more productive than hours the day of or day before!  It will also help you get calls back…


Below are videos from the Saturday Evening Performance… Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Tribute!  Enjoy!



Have a GREAT week!