Becoming A Professional Trumpet Player

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetaddict, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    I don't recall everything you may have already said, so here are some additional thoughts off the top of my head...just basic, practical ideas...

    Step 1 - Unless you are already doing so, get immediately busy on private lessons with the best private trumpet teacher you can find. Make sure you are playing the best combination of horn and mouthpiece for your particular needs, so that the equipment works for you and not against you.

    Step 2 - Realize that your greatest asset as a professional will be your tone - your sound. Make developing a tremendous tone your highest priority. Your most important asset, contrary to popular belief, is not range... It is sound - always has been and always will be...

    Step 3 - Get to work on mastering all the fundamentals of playing. Flexibility, articulation, multiple tonguing, endurance, intonation, sight reading, master the ability to play with ease in all the sharp and flat keys, master the scales in all keys...get working on achieving total control of the instrument.

    Step 4 - Get the basics of the instructional materials and start practicing...The Arban book, 27 Groups of Exercises by Earl Irons, Clarke's Technical Studies, Lip Flexibility by Walter M. Smith, perhaps the Schlossberg book, Embouchure Builder by Lowell Little, maybe the James Stamp book, etc., and others that can be suggested. May I suggest that you remember is not PRACTICE that makes perfect - it is PERFECT PRACTICE that makes perfect. Practice alone makes HABIT - be sure those habits are good ones, because practice can also make bad habits. Your goal needs to be not to just to get good...that isn't good/high enough...make your goal to become the absolute best.

    Step 5 - I would suggest that music be the choice of college major - probably performance. I'd probably consider going on for a Master's degree as well. I'm not as knowledgeable as many people on this topic, but a well recognized music school may provide an advantage - a college that has a strong reputation in music and the high quality of its music program.

    Step 6 - Immerse yourself in the sound and style of the musical goals you wish to achieve. Become mentally one with the music in which you wish to make a career. Develop huge listening skills and "big ears."

    Step 7 - Tolerate no distractions. Become focused and determined that nothing will interfere with achieving your goal. Make it the reason you are living.

    All the best.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Check this one out...
    All Brass Band Radio
    I listen to it a lot. Its quite enjoyable.
  3. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Oh, and something else that some people overlook...

    Develop basic proficiency on the piano in addition to mastering the trumpet. Everything is easier and makes more sense to someone who has piano proficiency, and some college level music programs require it...
  4. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Finally, and I don't mean to keep going on with this, but I should also mention that since you listed classical music as the area of interest, you will need to own and learn to proficiently play a C trumpet and a piccolo trumpet, at minimum, beyond your Bb. The C trumpet seems to be the sound of preference and there will be the need to play the picc at times as well. Based on what I have seen and heard, you will probably play the C more than the Bb in the classical context.
  5. herald4444

    herald4444 New Friend

    Jan 1, 2011
    Find a college with a solid music major and a good trumpet teacher.
  6. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

    Dec 23, 2009
    Don't sell yourself short or limit what you can accomplish towards becoming a professional trumpet player. I think other posts have commented about what separates 'professional' trumpet players... 2 examples. The lead trumpet player in my corporate band plays professionally / semi-professionally in a group that plays every year between memorial weekend and Labor day weekend. This guy rocks on trumpet. But his day job is working I.T. in the company where I'm at and he is not depending on income from playing the trumpet to support himself (So I am sure others would argue that he is not truly professional because he doesn't support himself with trumpet music)... example 2 is the new guy that I have started taking lessons with plays in gigs on a regular basis and is getting ready to release his 1st CD!!! But his day job is teaching at a local school and also teaching lessons in the evening. He makes his living from a combination of playing and teaching.

    So when you think of being a professional trumpet player you have to be open to what paths that may take you. If you want to be the next Maynard Ferguson then you are probably out of luck as he was one of a kind and its like a kid wanting to play in the N.B.A. only so many people make it to the high school level, then the college level, then into the professional arena. But with basketball as the example lots of these guys are doing basketball as a profession typically in some coaching or playing abroad... and that is probably not what they first dreamed of or envisioned.

    A good friend who was out of work from his 'day' job went back into being a musician full time and was successful but to the extent that some days he went hungry and some days he ate well... now he is back to doing a day job that pays consistently and does gigs on a regular basis because he loves to play and because it is some extra side cash.

    So when people talk about college, and building your education and experience it is always good to have a plan B that can pay the bills. Having education and marketable skills will help you with that.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Where are the orchestral etudes? This person wants to make a living with classical music. That means KNOWING the repertory. I don't want to even get started on how many college grads can't play their (orchestral)way out of a wet paper bag (they audition for various ensembles where I play). Transposition (especially C, D and F Trumpet) needs to be DOWN, the typical orchestral styles for various periods of music need to be perfected, a special sense of timing is required (most unprepared always play late), a sense of blend in ensemble is also very important because the players are alone.

    The biggest asset to a pro is NOT tone, it is timing. Granted if you sound crappy you have no chance either. Coming in late (very common) is a bigger sin

    The 11th grade is VERY, VERY late to get serious. The winners are usually those with the most high quality ensemble playing. By the 11th grade the "basics" better be very solid.

    I do not post this to discourage, I just think that you need to look at the snake squarely in the eyes.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  8. mandyg233

    mandyg233 New Friend

    Jun 4, 2011
    New Jersey
    Rowuk, wouldn't 5 hours of practice a day bust your lips? For example in track you can't run a marathon everyday you need periods of easy jogs and rests or your muscles don't recover properly.
  9. mandyg233

    mandyg233 New Friend

    Jun 4, 2011
    New Jersey
    Rowuk, wouldn't 5 hours of practice a day bust your lips? For example in track you can't run a marathon everyday you need periods of easy jogs and rests or your muscles don't recover properly.
  10. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    If you rest for 20 minutes every half hour then your lips should be fine. I've done consecutive 12 hour practice days during intensive week-long workshops and only felt stronger after every day.


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