How should I deal with this situation (keep with trumpet or quit?)?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpt278, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Trumpt278

    Trumpt278 New Friend

    Jan 16, 2015
    Hello all.

    I'm currently a sophomore in high school, and we have until March 1 to make our final course selections for the next year. That means deciding whether or not to do band next year (and thus continue with the trumpet). This might be a bit of a long story, so sorry about that.

    I've been playing trumpet since 4th grade, with varying levels of interest throughout the years. Right now, my interest level is pretty low. It's not that I don't like trumpet; I'm just not all that inspired by it. Unlike piano or guitar, there's not a whole lot of beautiful music around for it (at least that I've been able to find. I like Debussy, Albeniz, and Einaudi. If there's any trumpet music like this around, please show it to me!), so I'm not all that inspired to practice it. That said, I have found one song: I also just got my wisdom teeth out, and I have a competition where I'll be playing La Mandolinata (, and I'm nowhere near where I need to be for the song (I can play it all, but my lips just give out after about the second page above an e). In addition, I feel like trumpet stinks most of the time to play (if you're sick, if the instrument is cold, if you have a headache, if you've just eaten), so that's another deterrent. Lastly, I've been seeing so little progress. Yes, I can play harder music, but my endurance isn't going anywhere and I still crack loads of notes. I am only practicing max 30 mins a day, but that's because after that, I can't play anything high anymore (above a d on the staff becomes a challenge). Another part of the problem may be that I don't have a whole lot of direction -- I haven't met with my teacher in a long time.
    That said, there are some days when it all comes together, the high a's flow like honey, and it all just works. Unfortunately, those days are very few and far between. Maybe I'd feel better if they were more often.

    I also play piano. I have a solo prepared for an upcoming competition that I'm feeling pretty good about (it's Debussy's Arabesque 1). I'm devoting about an hour a day to it (all classical). I played up until fourth grade, then picked it back up at the start of my freshman year. I've made pretty good progress, I'd say.

    Lastly, I started guitar this year. I'm not all that fantastic, but I can play a few scales and chords. There's so much advanced guitar music that I'd love to learn (Asturias, Danza del Altiplano, Rondo de Vidrio, Chaconne), but I'm only relatively new. I've also dabbled a bit in jazz, but not a whole lot (I smuggled a copy of Blues for Alice from my school's jazz band (that I'm not a part of) to learn).

    I guess next year I'd like to start specializing in an instrument or two and start to get really good. I just don't know which to back off on. I've been doing trumpet for so long, and I do like it on those rare times when everything works, but piano and guitar are both just so beautiful. Does anyone have any advice?
    Thanks for reading all this.
  2. mgcoleman

    mgcoleman Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 22, 2010
    Music studies or otherwise, follow your passions whenever possible.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Prepare to quit all music instruments. The one you miss the most is the one you should stick with.
  4. Newell Post

    Newell Post Piano User

    Mar 31, 2014
    Silicon Valley
    The only problem with laying off the trumpet and trying to come back to it later, if you want to, is the embouchure muscles. With any instrument, you need to practice daily to maintain skill and dexterity. But with brass, you need to exercise those stupid muscles every danged day just to maintain. If you let it go, you can be looking at a year or two of daily exercise just to get the muscles back.

    One thing to consider is that piano is a more "solitary" instrument, IMO. I liked trumpet better just because of the social aspect of playing in bands and orchestras. To me, piano just seemed like too much solitary drudgery. But that's just me.
  5. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    I think you're doing too much. Do what your heart's in and forget the rest.
  6. Tjnaples

    Tjnaples Piano User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Two things:

    1. Technique is getting in your way of fun and fulfillment, find a good teacher.
    2. You are what you eat musically, listen to some trumpet players! Youtube Maynard Fergusen, Chet Baker, Doc Severinsen, James Morrison, Adam Rapa, Wynton's Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, James Last Orchestra (KILLER horn section to include Chuck Findley post 2000), Scotty Barnhart, Terrence Blanchard, Ron Miles, Miles Davis.

    If after all this if you still have little to no motivation the trumpet isn't for you bub!

  7. Djmennis

    Djmennis New Friend

    Sep 25, 2014
    Playing music should make you happy. Make your avocation your vocation and you will be happy. For me all that stuff that make trumpet suck for you is why I love to play
  8. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    Piano and trumpet are quite different...

    The trumpet is not a musical instrument... YOU are. The trumpet doesn't make a sound. You create the vibration with your embouchure/air and the trumpet facilitates making that vibration sound better and louder, but at the root of it.... it's YOU.
    The piano (& guitar) has strings that do the vibrating. It is a finger dexterity and brain/ears thing. If you lay off 3 weeks on piano no one is likely to notice as much as on trumpet.

    They didn't blow down the walls of Jerico with a piano or guitar though...right!? Gotta have trumpets!

    Out in the pro working world gigs are easier to get on piano or guitar.

    I will ignore your "no beautiful music for the trumpet" comment. That just shows your lack of experience.

    If you struggle to get out of the staff and have endurance problems but have been playing 30mins a day for 5-6 years as you say then something is wrong with your setup. You need to see a good "chop doctor" kind of teacher to help you identify what's happening. You can take in online lesson with someone that specializes in coordination of your embouchure and air stream direction. Maybe you have a dental issue, or a receding lower jaw (underbite) and that could be causing a lack of lower lip support for your chops. You gotta see a teacher for that.

    There are guys out there that play great on every kind of setup... but some band directors and trumpet teachers only know how to make you play the way THEY play. A guy with a good square jaw, and an even (top/bottom) placement may struggle teaching a kid with an under-bite and downward airstream.
  9. PiGuy_314

    PiGuy_314 Pianissimo User

    Oct 12, 2013
    I echo what others have said. Do what you love.

    That being said, I find it funny that I'm listening to the Hummel trumpet concerto as I type this. No beautiful music? I don't know about that...

    Hope you find what you want to do--and once you do, do it! :)

  10. Jazzy816

    Jazzy816 Pianissimo User

    Jun 5, 2013
    Trumpet isn't for everyone. It's hard. "I just admire anybody who plays the instrument. You being a trumpet player, you know – the dedication and everything that goes into it to play it any level, just to make the sound. I mean, what other instrument requires you to work so hard just to make the friggin’ sound? Beginning piano players sit down and, boom, they have the sound of a piano. A beginning trumpet player has to listen to two years of farting noises before you can make music! No wonder so few stay with it. So, I admire anybody who does this!" -Wayne Bergeron

    Often times if we cannot do something, we make the reality seem worse than it is; I have caught myself doing this on many occasions. If my tone is worse than normal or i'm more tense, I will often think that I'm a much worse trumpet player than I really am which sends me into a downward spiral of depression and lack of confidence. You started this journey in fourth grade, and have made it this far. If you really don't like the instrument, then so be it. If it's just lack of inspiration, perhaps I can shed some light on the topic.

    When I was in 8th grade, I faced a situation much like yours. I had been playing trumpet since 5th grade and had to make the decision for classes as to whether or not I would be continuing into high school. I was discouraged, bored, and not very enthusiastic. I had been first chair from the day I started mainly due to my practicing. I loved the instrument, and I put so much time in that I was able to substantially raise above my peers. Then all of a sudden, I just lost it. I didn't like it, I was just trying to get through the end of the year, and was seriously contemplating putting down trumpet for good. Our high school had an 8th grader pep band preview night where we could go and sight read with the high school band. That night I met three amazing upperclassmen who were both wonderful trumpet players and great people. I came home from that night willing to give a year in high school a shot. To this day I attribute my sticking with trumpet to that reason, and I'm glad I did. Music is a large part of my every day life; I can't remember a day that hasn't involved music in some way. I have already made the decision that no matter what happens, music will be a part of me until the day I die whether it be a career or hobby.

    I like big band, jazz, and pit music more myself, however, so that could set us apart...

    Not too sure if you will have the same response, seeing as you appear to like classical more, but I would check these out. I've listened to each of them probably 50 times and they haven't even started to get old.

    Link 1

    Link 2 This one's worth it, don't listen to just 5 seconds and get bored.

    When I feel uninspired, or am struggling with a particular aspect or just have had a bad day musically, I listen to a list of stuff like this. It's pretty mind blowing how powerful music is, to me anyway.

    Best of luck in your endeavors!

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