Making a life out of trumpet playing?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by samdaman, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. samdaman

    samdaman Pianissimo User

    Jun 15, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    Dear Manny,
    This is my first ever post on this website so here it goes:
    My name is Sam Tate. I'm from Birdsboro PA (just outside of Reading PA). Right now I'm 17 years old, going into my senior year of high school. I've been playing trumpet for nine years and taking trumpet lessons for eight years. So far I've studied with two teachers, Jack Chairelli and Jim Spangler. They both are excellent teachers and I've learned a lot from them about music and trumpet playing. For three years I've also recieved piano lessons from Mr. Chairelli. I've been involved in Berks County Music Festivals from middle school all the way to high school. Just last year I also auditioned into District Band and Chorus, and went on to make it into Region V band. I also play in the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra and Wyomissing Band, as well as marching and concert band at Daniel Boone High School. Right now I'm in the process of figuring out what I would like to do for the rest of my life... ha... I can't believe I would say that so casually. :shock: I would like to become a professional trumpet player in a major orchestra or group in the United States and make a living that way. I have also considered music education or music business as a career pathway. How does a high school senior go about making a career in music? I'm just sorta lost. I know hard work, practice, and determination are keys to my goal, but I'm not totally sure what else I need to do to set myself up for success. Thank you very much for all you time!! It will really mean the world to me in two or three years.
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    Very simply:

    Continue what you're doing and take advantage of as many opportunities to play as possible. Listen with friends and talk about music. Talk to everyone you can about music and trumpet playing. Grab friends and play duos, trios, quartets and quintets.

    Take advantage of every chance you have to play.


    Teaching, like the ministry, is a calling and you should only teach if you love doing it and have an uncommon desire to share what you know with others.

  3. samdaman

    samdaman Pianissimo User

    Jun 15, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    Thanks Manny. I'll keep doing what I'm doing then. It's not that I would take teaching as a fall back job. I love teaching. I also give weekly lessons to a few elementry school pupils. I love to teach and I love to preform. I know probably both will be major parts of my life forever. Oh and one more question (There will probalby be more though :oops: ): For teaching I know you need a college degree, but for preforming is a college degree recommended or required??? And also what major should I consider taking when I go to college?? (Right now I'm considering Penn State University) Do you have any recommendations for high education or places that I might want to consider??? Thanks.
  4. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

    Dec 13, 2005
    As a reformed wannabe professional trumpet player :D :D I can't echo Manny's words enough. I have been fortunate throughout my playing career that most of my trumpet teachers have had a passion for teaching. I can think of a few off hand that couldn't teach their way out of a wet paper sack in the middle of a rainstorm.

    I would imagine that you would save yourself a lot of headache, but more importantly, you would save potential students a lot of headache.

    Anyway, my .02.

    Good luck!
  5. Siegtrmpt

    Siegtrmpt Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 21, 2005
    Some musicians seem to get a very narrow view of what they can do for a living. While aspiring to a major orchestra or performing in a name group is a noble goal it's not the only role for a musician. The music industry needs knowledgeable attorneys, accountants, sales reps, store managers, pilots :-), bus drivers, advance people, stage hands, marketers, sound crew, office workers, artists, technicians and the list goes on. It's a fair bet that you wont get a dream job right out of school or even for decades later. Working in the music industry in a professional capacity will certainly help you get there. Jimmy Buffett was a record salesman before he was a star. Harrison Ford and Sylvester Stallone both worked backstage and as extras before getting a break. Lots of aspiring orchestral musicians work as ushers to hear concerts for free and get to know people who can help them when the time is right. Good luck.
  6. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    If you're already playing seriously...

    I would argue that if you are already a serious professional quality trumpeter you have ALREADY making a life out of playing trumpet! Just keep it up!


    As to making a LIVING playing trumpet EXCLUSIVELY, hang tough. The going is VERY tough! It can be done, though.

    One thought about teaching privately: if you have 30 or 40 students (or more, as many of my friends do), you ARE a teacher! However, that is a beautiful thing!

    for more info...

    When it comes to classical/legit work, listen to Manny and company! The know far more about that than I ever will.


  7. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    Excellent point. I remember asking Barabara Butler if I should take some education classes in case I might want to teach some day. She said no, just be the best trumpet player you can be and people will come to you and want you to teach them.
    I would add the caveat that every trumpet player, hell, every musician is and must be a teacher at some point: you got it from somewhere and it is your duty at some point to pass it along to the next group coming along. Just remember what your teachers told you, and keep trying to learn always yourself. Every year I try to do something I couldn't the year before, and that's a beautiful thing about music, no matter how far you go there's always the next thing.
    The only teaching philosophy you need is Einstein's dictum that anyone who can't explain what they do to a 12-year-old is a fraud.

    Michael McLaughlin

    "When I was young I was amazed at Plutarch's statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek. I am amazed no longer. Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long."
    Groucho Marx
  8. John P

    John P Piano User

    Jun 16, 2006
    Camp Hill, PA
    Hey Sam, I think I was in the Region V trumpet section with you. Where'd you sit?
  9. samdaman

    samdaman Pianissimo User

    Jun 15, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    Thanks everyone for their input. It's nice hearing advice from other people in the world of music about how to be sucessful as a player or teacher. Oh and for John P, I was one of two second trumpet players. I was the guy all the way on the right facing the conductor.

    Oh and also, does anyone still have any advice about college and what to do about that???
  10. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    College: depneds alot on you, your personality and what you expect.

    A conservatory (Curtis, Mannes, Manhattan, Boston, Julliard, Oberlin, etc.) can give you very specialized training and high level experiences that you might not get in a college setting (notice MIGHT...I'm a product of the state university system, so I'm not dumping on it).

    A university will provide you with a more rounded educational experience.

    In the long run, from what I've seen people write here, it really doesn't matter so much where you go to school as it does how you play. Of course you want to pick the right school for your that will offer players for you to compete with (not enter in as a first sem. freshman and be at the top of the studio alreay), one that has faculty that you feel you can work with and learn from that will help you grow in the direction you wish to grow in.

    And don't forget...once you get to college, if you find out the school you picked is not working out, you can always transfer.

    Your best bet is to go visit some campuses. You can learn ALOT more than what you see in the posed and composed photos in the brochures by visiting. Check the condition of the facilities. Listen in on the rehearsals and through practice room doors. Get a sense of the general mood of the student populace. Look at concert programs. Listen to recordings of student ensembles if the let you have access to them in the library. Check the course offerings. You are laying out some serious cash by the time you get that paper in your hand, so be certain you are getting your money's worth. Is the faculty available after you graduate for consultation? Or do they cut you off when you get the diploma? What's the location like? Does it suit you? You are going to be living there for 4 years of your life.

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