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

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

  1. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

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    Oddly enough, I was listening to a trumpet piece on our local classical station this morning, and the program director prefaced it by a brief monologue about playing trumpet. I obviously don't remember it verbatim, but I'll give you my very rough paraphrase from memory. Ahem!

    Brass instruments in general, and the trumpet in particular, are difficult to play well, and impossible to master. It takes a lifetime of dedicated practice to play the trumpet. Trumpet great Dizzy Gillespie once said, "Some days you get up and put the trumpet to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works, and the trumpet wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the trumpet wins." All those hours of dedicated practice are to minimize the damage on days the trumpet wins.

    For me, it's a labor of love, and I never get tired of it. Just know what you're getting into ahead of time. I've often wondered if I should switch to a guitar or piano that might offer the ability to play in a relaxed environment for family and friends without so much practice on a daily basis, and also with less struggle to find practicing venues. But I can't. I love the trumpet. I love playing the trumpet.

    On the days when everything just flows, it's an awesome feeling, and even something of an emotional rush, and I know I'm one of a small group of specialists - heck, I know untold dozens of piano and guitar players. Everybody plays piano and guitar. My dad hasn't played guitar in 25 years, but he can still pick it up and do something musical and entertaining on a moment's notice. A good trumpeter is something special (my opinion).

    Yeah, it's hard, but I'm all in.
     
  2. FireandAir

    FireandAir Pianissimo User

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    It depends on the kind of music you like sometimes. If you like Romantic-era music, then trumpet is a repertoire challenge. Brahms, Tchaik, Rachmaninoff ... the piano's stomping ground is the Romantic era in a lot of ways.

    But perhaps you can change that for the better if that's the sort of thing you love. If you look on YouTube, you can hear a wonderful video of TTH playing one of Rachmaninoff's songs, a favorite of mine called "Zdes' Khorosho." You can play ANY era's music on ANY instrument. It doesn't have to have a label "TRUMPET" slapped on it before you're allowed to play it.

    That said, play the one you love the most. I'm a pianist too, and I freely admit that that instrument has advantages that few others do, mostly consisting of the scope and massive scale of what can be done on it.
     
  3. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    they say -- it takes 10,000 hours to get proficient at any instrument -- the trumpet is no different --- many of us here quit the trumpet, and eventually came back to it ------ I've come back to the trumpet after 10 years off ---- and not gaining any ground (like the point your at, I quit -- but I should have pressed on) ------so on a comeback -- I have around 5,000 hours or so in the last 6 years ----------------------------- the good days are more often than any bad day ------ ((my suggestion, is to put in the time if you want to get good - with any instrument (guitar, trumpet, or piano)
     
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Focus on guitar. There will be a lot more opportunity for playing - garage bands, church bands, indie projects, jazz gigs, etc. It's also a good instrument for keeping up with current popular and rock music. If you are stuck on classical then that's another ballgame, but from a sheer practicality perspective, guitar is going to open up a lot of opportunities.

    I know some will scoff at me for making that suggestion, but I have my own experience that kind of backs it. At the tender young age of 33, I took up playing drums to try to fill a gap in a contemporary church praise band that needed a drummer. I've continued to gig and work as a trumpet player, but I had a gap of about a year and half - a hiatus from the wedding band I play with - where I almost stropped playing trumpet entirely. While I don't make the kind of money playing drums that I make playing trumpet, If I really wanted to, I could probably find a gig playing drums in some capacity every week. To put that into perspective, every gig I do on drums, there are always guitar players as well - usually a couple, with at least 1 acoustic player, 1-2 electric players, and a bass guitar player. I have yet to play a gig on drums where there was a trumpet player. There's one exception where I played trumpet for a Ska thing that somehow went along with the sermon that Sunday, but otherwise, there isn't a ton of trumpet in contemporary Christian worship music.

    Of course it's up to you - follow your heart. At your age, playing trumpet was all I wanted to do, and I've done a lot of it throughout the course of my life. In fact, I've structured my entire life around the ability to continue to make music in some capacity - recently I do a lot of it on the drums, but mainly for two reasons - 1.) I LOVE it, and 2.) there's plenty of opportunity for me to do it. If you love playing guitar and you are good enough at it, there will always be opportunities for you to get out there and play.
     
  5. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    Wow - I expected TrickG to drum it into your head that you should play percussion instruments
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    If he was already working to learn drums, I might have made that suggestion. As it is, all other things being equal, I see guitar being the way to go. "Guitar players" are a dime a dozen, but those who can really play are not nearly so easy to come by.

    I was re-reading my post from above and I thought I'd add to something that I didn't clearly convey. In the year and a half hiatus from the wedding band, the reason I almost stopped playing trumpet entirely is because the gigs just weren't there, or at least not in a way that I would have wanted to pursue them. For good or bad, I've always been a gig oriented player, meaning that unless I've got a gig on the horizon, I'm otherwise busy enough that I don't always make the time for trumpet, which is bad - at our age, chops degrade pretty quickly.

    With drumming, I may take breaks, but it's not nearly as detrimental from a functional perspective as it is for the trumpet. I may lose a few bpm on my single stroke hand speed, and I might not have quite as tight of pocket, but for the playing I do, the only person who would notice that is me, and it doesn't detract from my ability to jump in and play a church gig somewhere. In any case, in the year and a half where I wasn't really gigging trumpet (I did a grand total of 3 gigs in that timeframe) I maintained a fairly steady gig schedule with drums - not heavy by any means, but definitely more than I was playing trumpet.

    I think he'd be the same way with guitar.
     
  7. Trumpt278

    Trumpt278 New Friend

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    Thank you for all the replies. I think I may take a break for a year, but still maintain my chops so if I ever decide to switch back to trumpet, it won't be super jarring. Also, when I said that there's no beautiful music for trumpet, I meant that I can find. I'm sure the music exists; I just haven't been able to find it. Thanks to everyone who replied!
     
  8. FireandAir

    FireandAir Pianissimo User

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    Don't forget that ANY alto, tenor, or countertenor aria ever written is essentially a piece of music for trumpet. (It's also designed to work on another "breath" instrument.)

    ETA: Forgot mezzo soprano. :-)
     
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Every piece of piano, voice, guitar music I've encountered has ample Bb trumpet / cornet / flugelhorn parts when played a tone higher. Likewise Church hymnals.
     
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    No doubt about it, but if you want to play and gig, it becomes a situation where one has to try to create a gig for themselves, so it boils down to the tenacity and desire of the player. I've always been able to find trumpet gigs if I had the gumption to hustle for them, but I prefer to be requested to play rather than to interject myself into a situation where there wasn't already an opportunity in place.
     

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