Lack of Motivation

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Gents and Ladies, I am posting this because as of late, I have a real lack of motivation where playing trumpet is concerned and I'm not quite sure what to do about it, although I'm fairly certain that I know what caused it.

    About a month ago I took an audition for what would have been a full time playing gig. I worked my butt off for about 6 weeks prior to the audition date (from the day I first learned of the opening) but I never really got to where I felt I could really be competitive. However, I went and auditioned anyway....

    and crashed and burned like you wouldn't believe.

    With all of the work that I put in, with all of the improvement I had made, I probably played at slightly less than 50% of my capability, and soon after my audition started, I was summarily dismissed. It wasn't that I got beat by another musician - I never got past the first round. I had a case of nerves that I just couldn't shake (so much for all of my posts saying that I wouldn't want to rely on beta blockers!) and I just fell apart under the audition stress.

    I don't know how others would take an experience like this, but for me, it was a pretty solid shot to the ol' ego.

    I keep telling myself that even had I played at close to 100%, I still wouldn't have won the job anyway (they ended up offering the spot to a guy who auditioned the week before after it was turned down by another guy who auditioned with me that day - GREAT player!) but now that the event has come and gone, and my goal of winning the spot was unrealized, it has taken a serious toll on my desire to strive to improve as a trumpet player. The funny thing is that I told myself that no matter what the outcome, I was just going to keep on keepin' on, and that I would continue to put in the hours of practice and hard work necessary to keep improving. My concern is that I'm going to fall back into the pattern that I had set of practicing to maintain, which eventually led to a real slide in my chops and abilities.

    So, if anyone has had similar experiences and has any tips for reinvigorating oneself to practice, send your advice my way.
  2. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    I’m certain that we’ve all battled with what you have gone through, and what you are going through right now. I know that I have. Sometimes I win the battle, and sometimes I don’t!

    This may help…

    Year’s ago when I was preparing myself for an audition, I decided to keep a daily practice journal. I recorded general impressions about my practice sessions, and I used it to jot down thoughts that I was having so that I would remember to ask my instructor or post questions on the TPIN list.

    When I began using the journal I made a commitment to myself that I would write in it everyday for six months (I ended up doing it for just over 9 months). At the same time I made a commitment that someday I would pursue a performance degree (very long-term goal that I thought would coincide with retirement).

    Everyday I would have to write something in my book. On those days when I was tired and it was much easier to sit down and watch some TV after a long day at work and playing with my little boys, I would have to write, “Too Tired to Practice tonight”. When I did this, I would think about my short-term goal of the upcoming audition (or my long-term goal of pursuing a performance degree after the audition was over).

    You know what? That little black journal book caused me to make the most progress that I have ever made as a player. That was almost 10 years ago, and to this day (even though I don’t actively keep my journal anymore) I cringe when I think to myself, “I’m too tired to practice tonight”. I somehow always get some amount of playing in everyday (even if it’s just maintenance work and a single etude).

    I hope this helps!
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Thanks for the tip Derek. I'll have to give that a shot.

    A few other things that I thought I would relate are about the band I gig with. I have always been a performer - I have never been able to play and practice just for the sake of doing it. For me, part of the excitement of playing trumpet lies in performing in front of people.

    There are a couple of reasons that I continue to play with this band. First and foremost, (if I'm not blowing chunks out of the horn) I have fun doing it. It's a good group of people, very professional, and the music is upbeat and fun.

    Another reason is the money - I have really lucked out with this group and for doing what I do, I can't think of any other non-pro trumpet players in the area that make as much per gig, and that's saying something considering the caliber and number of players in the Baltimore/DC area. To simply quit would put a pretty decent dent in my monthly/yearly budget.

    But one other reason I continue is the fundamental need I have deep down to continue to make music and it's just too easy to maintain the status quo. I almost went nuts during the year and a half I didn't play a note after I got out of the Army, and I'm afraid that if I stop playing in this band, I'll wind up laying the horn down for good.

    Anyway, thanks again for the tip. I've been better about getting back into the practice room over the last week or so, but I'm doing it just to do it since most of the drive to practice is gone.
  4. BobList

    BobList New Friend

    Nov 10, 2003
    Baltimore, Md.
    Pat, you know I just go through the motions with my Mary Lou band gig, we've been doing it non stop every weekend since '92....and very little changes in the way of a set list.....can you say bored?.. I tried to just play each tune a little better than the last time, if that helps...even though no one
    as for the crash and burnat the audition, YOU know that you may have played at 50% of your current level..they don't...that's what matters....

    for me to keep up interest, I try to find and sit next to guys in bands who can BLOW ME AWAY,,,,I learn from the sounds they make, and try to emulate does work. Go see Vaughn Nark, or Arturo, or some big name coming through town.....that usually gets me off my butt to get better (mind-wise).

    You just got a new horn..that's usually pretty good incentive to keep up interest...

    I just try to be the best i can be.....whatever that may be.

    Hey....I got an idea.. lol .... maybe hook up with Charly Raymond, and do the Caruso thing.... nothing better than trying to be a better player than your THAT'S incentive!!!!

    Chin up, Bob List, Bawlmer
  5. FreshBrewed

    FreshBrewed Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Houston, TX

    Would you be referring to the gig with the Knights?

    Just keep up the work on the horn and things will be fine as long as you miss it every time you put the horn down. It's that longing that will keep you going. I feel the same way every day that I spend more time in S3 doing Ops work than I do on my horn..........but I love it too much to quit.
  6. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    I feel the same way. I've got a wind ensemble audition Tuesday and a senior recital sometime this fall. I haven't really practiced for either any this summer. It seems like sometimes one can just reach a certain limit and get his fill of trumpet. I'm at the point where I just want to graduate and start conducting a group or go to grad school for conducting. I know that I'm never going to be good enough to be a performer, so I just don't really have a desire to spend a couple of hours a day on the horn anymore.
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Yeah, ok. :shock: :D

    Thanks for the kind words.

    No, the gig I was going for was a gig with a premier DC area military band. The thought was that maybe I could get in and finish out a 20 year career AND get to play trumpet for a living at the same time.

    Anyway I appreciate the words of encouragement.

    Speaking of encouragement, I'm doing rehearsal tonight with the new sax player from the band - he should be here soon and we're just going to blow through some charts. It should be fun.
  8. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    Lack of motivationis a real problem with many people at different times. There was one summer when I decided I was not going to play for 10-weeks. After that it was sooooo hard getting back into shape. This summer has been a hornless summer for medical reasons. This week coming I plan to get back on the horns a little at a time. The after a couple weeks I'll start pushing hard again.

    Remember that when you were in school that music was an enrichment class. Allow it to enrich your life, and enjoy what you play for yourself. Don't worry about anyone but yourself and how you enjoy playing. DO IT FOR YOU!
  9. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    I am sure your playing improved due to all the hard work you put into the audition. In other words you are starting at a higher level of playing towards your next audition.

    Be careful taking yourself to seriously or comparing yourself with others. Remember your improvements. The nerves acted up because you were either not ready or prepared for the section that made you nervous---concentrate on those aspects of your playing or it will happen again.

    In the past I have had humbling experiences when I have been called to do recordings. Alhough I was able to make it thru the recordings I knew the sections that caused me to have self-doubt. I took this as opportunity to study with the best. If I had range difficulties I reached out to the best lead player in NYC and studied with them for a while. If I could not improvise well over a patterm, I saught the best jazz teacher I could find etc, etc.

    What was your biggest liabilty---seek out the best where you live and fix the problem.

    What is it that makes you enjoy playing the horn---well go do that right now and you will soon be motivated again.

    Good Luck!
  10. FlugelFlyer

    FlugelFlyer Piano User

    Dec 15, 2003
    Palos Park, IL
    As with anything in life, you just have to see yourself "there" to work toward it. Often times that vision becomes obscured and one becomes unmotivated to get there, like the light at the end of the tunnel fading. Somewhat like me with bass guitar, honing my chops like crazy as I see myself as the bassist for a band like Aghora from Miami, you just have to see it to get there and want it bad enough, and hope that light at the end of the tunnel isn't accompanied by a train whistle. :shock:

Share This Page