Should I stop playing trumpet after high school?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Vstern, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I was the sole non-music major in my college (UCLA) jazz ensemble trpt section as a freshman, and deciding to get the major in music was already decided for me... I didn't need it! Got in the concert band, the theater dept. played around in LA. I could study economics and broadcasting, a big love of mine, to my heart's content and play music as much as the practice rooms would have me, and then went on to play in bands for a while until finding radio work. And now for the big BUT.....

    of the other three music majors in the section, one went into real estate, has a great family, made great dough and still plays gigs most everyweek, one went on Harvard Law and became an top IP attorney and still plays gigs most everyweek, one went on to compose for television and made a fortune, another went on to score films and made even more. We all still keep in touch.

    The moral of the story, do what your heart tells you to do and keep you mind open to every avenue the music industry has to offer. Doctors play music; my uncle worked his way through med school playing in big bands. Even band directors in good school districts have wonderful lives, travel with the school bands, get pensions... there's more opportunity than you think.

  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I played the trumpet after high school all the way through college. It paid my way through college with steady gigs. Saved some of the extra money along with stipends and continued gigs through graduate school. Pooled all this cash together to help pay for medical school. During medical school, after a tough day of lectures I told my med school classmates I was off to "blow my brains out", then went to the Music Department's practice rooms and put my panic and frustration into my horn. Some music majors heard me practicing, liked it so much, that they put me into their jazz bands, and I played once again, during medical school, at least once a week. I believe my continued playing helped me keep my mind clear and focused, the result, my senior year I was awarded by the Academy of Medicine, the Outstanding Senior Medical Student scholarship.

    During residency, I continued playing, but not professionally, as at this point, I truly did not have the time. I did an occasional church performance and a pick up band now and then, but that was about it. But, when residency was over, and I started a practice and a position with a University, I got back into playing steadily, to my current level that I became a professional trumpet player with a hard working quintet and big band. I practice daily, rehearse with the quintet twice a week, play gigs at least weekly and am able to tour the region, playing in City's within a 350 mile radius. I can always get back by the next day to be available to see my patients, and when away at gigs, keep my pager on vibrate to answer any patient calls from the hospitals where I maintain privileges.

    Now here is the really cool thing, by working steadily in both the medical and musical professions (I am a member of the AMA, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians AND the American Federation of Musicians) I have learned to blend BOTH professions and am currently working on a curriculum that teaches medical students, medical residents and practicing physicians how to use jazz improvisation to enhance physician-patient communication. I have provided a link to the AMA Publication eNews, that reported on one of my workshops I presented in Toronto, Canada on this topic. That was an incredible performance with a standing room only crowd, as the jazz we were playing during the workshop filtered into the hallway and brought many more conference goes (and the AMA reporter) into our lecture hall: amednews: Jazz offers lessons for doctor-patient interaction :: May 17, 2010 ... American Medical News

    So you don't have to trade off one career for another, you CAN do both, I recommend you do both... It will help to maintain your sanity [albeit there may be some here on TM that would debate whether gmonady demonstrates sanity after reading and responding to his posts]

    In closing, another professional player, Eddie Henderson, is a very accomplished jazz musician. He actually went to develop more of a jazz career after he finished medical school, after he completed an internal medicine residency and then a psychiatry residency. He decided that after a few years of a practice of psychiatry, that music was the best way to touch the sole of his "patients". He was right. If you have not discovered Eddie Henderson, google his name, listen to the work he has done with Kenny Baron. That is where I fell for this physician/musician, and his CDs have been healing my pains ever since. So AGAIN make the right choice, like Eddie, TrumpetMD, DrDave, me and some others here on this forum and choose BOTH professions, as music and medicine are BOTH ARTs that complement each other and enhance your career experiences.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This is actually very easy. If the amount of pleasure that you get from the trumpet is so little that you can even ask the question, there is little need for you to continue. There is no need to try and "save" you, there are enough other players out there. All the stories about how music makes it easier to meet impassionated others only make sense if you are one too!

    One thing that I will say, some of the finest amateur players that I know are doctors and medicine students. Many play violin extremely well and that blows up any BS about not finding time to practice. I would suggest dealing with facts instead of high school fairy tales. Good Luck!
  4. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    It's funny, I did just that. I thought I wanted to pursue something else, figured there wouldn't be time for trumpet. I didn't even bring it with me to college. After 2 weeks of not playing, I knew I HAD to be a musician - there was just no other option. Trumpet had been such a big part of who I was for so long that I didn't even realize how important it had become.

    However, if this is the case:
    Then the answer is very easy. Do medicine at school and continue to play in ensembles and practice as much as you can.

    It's hard to know what you want at such a young age so try to keep both options open as long as possible. I would expect it's much easier to major in medicine and then get into playing/teaching music, than it is to major in music and get into doing medicine.

    Or you could try my method and leave the trumpet at home when you go to college... This will probably reveal the answer very quickly. You'll either realize that it's a bigger part of you than you previously thought, or you'll discover that actually other things are more important to you.

    Either way, try to pick a college with a good program in both music and medicine.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  5. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Since you are indifferent, go be a doctor. From what I understand about being a pro player it is a hard life. One that only a person with no other desires could be happy with. I say study to be a doctor and keep playing for fun.
  6. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    What do you think a pro player is? I am a pro player, but I play only occasionally as a trumpeter, and have a full-time non-musical job as well. You don't don't have to be only one thing, and you don't have to give up being a musician if you really enjoy it. As has been said,if you are indifferent to it, you've already made your decision.
    And it's a load of crap if anyone says it is more difficult to be comeback player than it was to be a beginner.
  7. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Don't go into music as a profession unless you can't NOT go into music as a profession.

    That doesn't mean because it's the only thing you can do. There are many musicians who could have done other things and done them well. It means that you have such a love for making music, that you can't consider doing anything else.

    But you have to go into it with eyes wide open. If you are considering trumpet playing as your only income, it can be done. I've got friends who are doing it, but it's rare. Generally speaking, you have to put together what I call a "mosaic" of musical activities with your playing that add up to a constructive and secure lifestyle. That usually includes teaching, arranging, producing, keyboard playing, musical directing, booking, and a host of other related activities.

    I agree with the statement above that if you are lukewarm about it, especially regarding a life as a performer, you will never make it (unless you just happen to be exceptionally naturally gifted and lucky). I am one of those who never seriously considered being anything but a musician and have been lucky to have made a full-time career of it my entire adult life, and not behind the walls of academia. But I've had some sparse Christmases at times. You have to love your music dearly to tolerate that. I need to add that, regardless of that last statement, it never effected the well-being of my family.
  8. nilloc97

    nilloc97 New Friend

    Oct 17, 2011
    USA, Georgia
    Don't quit playing the trumpet for good. plenty of people play the trumpet even after highschool. It doesn't have to be a profession, EVERYONE can use a musical outlet.
  9. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    If you DO decide to go into music... be sure to at least MARRY a doctor.
    coolerdave likes this.
  10. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    LOL. Well spake, Knave.

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