How Did You Get Your Start?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JonathanShaw, May 16, 2007.

  1. JonathanShaw

    JonathanShaw Pianissimo User

    Jun 29, 2006
    One of the things scaring me and I think a lot of young trumpet players either already in or going into a music major is the the question: When I'm done my performance major, how do I make money? In the March 07 ITG journal, there is an interview with Wayne Bergeron. He basically said being at the right place at the right time and getting recommended by a veteron is the way to get into the biz. So my question to all the professionals making a livling playing trumpet is: How did you get your start, and what is a good way to get a start making a living playing trumpet.
  2. tromj

    tromj Piano User

    Jun 4, 2005
    Teaneck, NJ
    Well, first of all, when you get out of school, and of course even when you are in school, do as many gigs as you can, even if they are not ideal. You cannot overestimate the connections you will make just getting out there.
    Learn a lot of tunes. When I was 19, I worked as a temp cleaning the storage area of a large midtown building. I brough an AM radio with me and listened to WNEW AM in its second heyday in the mid 80's. I learned so many tunes passively listening while doing my work, the older guys were always pleasantly surprised. Nowadays, you should have some familiarity with certain top 40 tunes, as well as Standards and Wedding ceremony music.
    Annother thing to do is make sure you have something special about your playing. I know a guy named David Glukh who is a quite capable classical player, who I think graduated from Julliard. But in addition to that, he also has a trio in which he plays Klezmer music on a Scherzer pic. Believe me, it is not something soon forgotten. If you are a classical major, make sure there is a corner of the repertoire that you really own. If you are a Jazz major, make sure that you know a lot of tunes, and learn how to fake harmonies. Bring a specific skill to the table as well as your general excellence.
    Also, whatever you do, do with a smile. A lot of contractors I know give me gigs over other much better players simply because I show up happy to work. There is nothing more detrimental to a gig than a negative musician.
    Once you accept a gig, never, never, never, complain about the money.
    Once you make your arrangements, take responsibility for them.

    I am sure others will have much more to say, but this is a start.

    Last edited: May 16, 2007
  3. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA

    A Salvation Army Brass Band - British Style.

  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    tromj said it all! Pay your dues and show up happy. That will always impress the players around you.
    If you are in the business for the money however, the chances are you will also have to learn how to sharpen your elbows. There are plenty of contractors that pile the work on AFTER you say yes. NickD has some war stories for sure!
    Take lessons with as many great players as you can. In addition to learning something, your network of contacts increases. If your playing is very good, those teachers will help you by exposing you to other good contacts.

    IMF, what is a "Salvation Army Brass Band - British Style"? Fish and chips between gigs? ;-)
    I have heard them just about everywhere and didn't catch any style differences in the UK.
  5. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA
    Hi, Rowuk,

    "Brass Band" would have been a better term than "British Band." In the USA, many players refer to that style of music as the "British Brass Band" sound. I imagine brass bands sound alike no matter what country we live, including Germany, as you noted as the British Sound being no different. Brass bands are brass bands. It was a poor choice of words on my part. Sorry! :oops:

    Best wishes!

  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Being at the right place at the right time translates into being present. Join the Union and get your name and phone number in the book. Talk to players, introduce yourself, and ask them to give you a call if they need someone. It doesn't matter too much how good your credentials are--the first call usually comes because they've no one else to call and are desperate. If you work out well, your name will get around. The goal in freelancing is to be everyone's third favorite trumpeter. Good luck, and have fun!

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