can anyone make it?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Tarter_trpt8, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I'd like to weigh in on this a bit.

    "Making it" - It's an interesting way to put it, but I think I understand what you are talking about. A lot of it has to do with your innate ability to connect with music, the instrument, and truly understand musical concepts, and a lot of it has to do with you level of dedication, and the grit and determination to work hard to overcome whatever mental or physical limitations you might have. And yet a third thing deals with luck, opportunity and timing.

    (As a side note, did anyone read the article in a recent past issue of the ITG Journal that talked about what all went into picking a candidate from the audition for a slot in the National Symphony? Yikes! THAT is pressure!)

    To use myself as an example, for my part, I have always had the innate ability and talent to become fairly proficient with whatever I go for where music is concerned - trumpet, singing, drums, piano - I can do all of those things to a certain degree of success. My biggest problems aren't that I lack talent, although I certainly don't have as much talent or innate ability as some people I have come across over the years. My problems stem from not working hard enough or taking the right steps to push what I can do naturally and fairly easily through the ceiling to the level necessary to compete for pro-level jobs.

    One guy to use as an example of someone who appeared to me to be loaded with talent and natural ability is a fine trumpeter by the name of Paul Lindsey, whom I had the pleasure of rehearsing next to back in 1990 when I was at the Armed Forces School of Music. This was of course before he advanced out - he was clearly a better trumpet player than any of the instructors on staff, and I also believe he's a Julliard Graduate. By the time I met Paul, he had gone through Julliard and was trying to play for the US Navy because the orchestra he had been playing with had folded (I think it was in Venezuela) and flat out, he needed a job. I'd sit there next to him in rehearsals, just amazed by everything he did - his phrasing, his accuracy, his sound, his articulation...the guy would sight read everything we were playing flawlessly, and by the third time through, was bored to the point that he was playing adlibbed flawless counter melodies based on the chord progression. (he tried to explain to me how he was deriving the chord progression based on the few notes and key signature on the page, but it was so far over my head that I just didn't get it.) To me it appeared that Paul was always a natural and playing trumpet at a high level came so naturally to him that it just wasn't a big deal at all. Of course for all I know, he could have actually struggled at one point (I doubt it because he told me about guest soloing with major Orchestras at age 14) and worked his butt of while at Julliard to overcome limitations, but I doubt it - he just oozed talent and ability.

    Back to me, where I have been, and where I currently am, I don't have the kind of natural ability that Paul and so many others like him have, but at the same time, I didn't take the necessary steps to overcome my mental and embouchure limitations either. Could it have been done? Yep, and I could probably still do it if I was in a different place in my life without all of the strings attached, but I do believe the potential was there, however, it's would also mean that I would probably have to go to some extremes in my effort to overcome those physical and metal barriers. Does that mean that I would "make it" if I did? Who knows? A lot of things have to line up right in order to do that, even if you are a trumpet playing machine. Paul Lindsey is an interesting example - he's always going to be a phenomenal player, but he found himself in the US Navy playing right alongside other mid level players due to circumstances and lost opportunities.

    In a long-winded way, I guess what I have tried to say is that there is an equation that equals "making it" in a very basic sense:

    Making it = innate ability + hard work necessary + opportunity

    "Making it" can be whatever your playing goal is whether it's landing a major symphony job, or gigging on Maynard’s band or anything else in between.

    "Innate ability" is what you have that comes naturally to you - for me, I have never had to work very hard to have a full, round sound. For others it might be fantastic fingers and for other's it might be not having to work hard to have great articulation.

    "Hard work necessary" is whatever needs to be stacked on top of your innate ability in order to play proficiently enough to be competitive for the jobs or positions that you want

    "Opportunity" is what it is - if there are no openings for major symphony slots, it doesn't matter how well you play. This is what accounts for the low percentage of Julliard graduates who are actually working in major symphonies doing what they went to college for. Competition these days is unbelievably fierce - reference, my mention of the ITG Journal article about the National Symphony Orchestra trumpet audition. Opportunity is also the only part of that equation that you can't directly control, so you have to do what you can to prepare and pray that opportunity knocks on your door.

    That’s my take on the subject. Comments?
  2. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Wonderful points so far. It is astonishing to think how many different takes on success or making it there are, yet it all comes down to the same elements: work and desire. From those 2 roots stem perserverance, preparedness, and eventually success.

    Success is such a different thing to so many people. Success in itself can be a journey; it is such an abstract concept. How can one be sure he/she is successful? At what point does one look at his or her life and say: "That's it. I'm successful." Then what?

    In the long run, Jeremy, you say you want to be an orchestral trumpeter. If that is truly your need, your person, who you are, then that is who you will be. Your desires will communicate themselves to all around you. They already do without you even knowing it. Your need to fulfill that aspect of who you are will drive your choices...apply for this job, live in this town, choose to associate with these people, make time for practice because it is part of you as a person to do that. And on and on.

    We do what we really want...all of us.
  3. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    A friend of mine took a lesson in New York with a famous guy.
    The teacher is currently playing a show.

    The teacher made a comment in the lesson about going to work and playing the same thing over and over again and how he didn't like it. The teacher asked my friend what kinds of things he played and my friend said that he wouldn't play unless it was fun for him. Every time my friend plays he loves it and if he plays for something that he doesn't like he won't go back. He has a day job and plays about 4 nights a week and on weekends

    This is the question; which player made it?
  4. Siegtrmpt

    Siegtrmpt Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 21, 2005
    Sure seems like a lot of musicians have a very narrow view of "success". Being able to play these instruments in the first place is a pretty huge success. Fact is that full time jobs performing instrumental music are not only tough to get but on a decline as well. While it's a noble goal to aspire to, having a personal definition of success or failure based on what some audition panel has to say is a pretty precarious way to live. Music schools need to do a better job of preparing their students for jobs that really exist in music and entertainment and not just the artist or limelight roles. Most of the good jobs in music (meaning you can buy a house and raise a family on it) are in teaching, law, business, marketing and mangement. If those numbers from Juilliard are correct it indicates to me that these young people need better guidance and honesty about where to go with their careers and what their expectations should be.
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I flopped on an audition quite badly last summer - it was something that I wanted and felt I had to go for, but it just wasn't meant to be. The funny thing is that in the aftermath of failing in such a huge way, I have been able to come to a certain peace that it's ok to just be a weekend warrior, gigging part-time in a wedding band, and what's more, I also made peace with the idea that it's ok to evolve as a musician away from the trumpet. I still play trumpet (the gig was freaking great last night!) but I'm also putting forth a lot of effort to be a drummer, even if it is only on Sunday's for a worship band.

    I've decided that I have been more than successful as a musician because of a couple of things:

    1.) I have a great time playing and music, no matter where or with whom I play
    2.) I'm making instrumental music, PERIOD! The fact that I'm actually good enough to get paid for it, even if I don't make my living that way is success enough for me.
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Sounds like it's time to get a partial subscription for next season or the rest of this one to the BSO and get a nice perspective on the classical stuff... just for your own enjoyment!

    It could happen.

  7. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

    Dec 13, 2005
    Success and dream job are not necessarily the same thing.

    Dream job for me during my trumpet studying yrs was get in to a major orchestra.

    Success in my trumpet studying yrs was just making it playing the horn.

    I would like to point out I did neither :-(

    But having said that I can safely say I am happy with the path my life took. I enjoy the trumpet now more than ever after having some time off. I also enjoy my career. (which is a bonus)
  8. Clarence

    Clarence Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 23, 2005
    san diego
    Well let,s , SEE.
    A house in sandiego $480,000
    a JIMMY SLT $17.OOO
    ONe daughter thru college $32.OOO
    Success on any level is what you make it. ;-)

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