Tips on becoming a Pro

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by daveduder, May 12, 2015.

  1. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I've always thought that the whole, "don't have a fallback plan" idea was a bit foolhardy. On one hand it sounds like a great way to succeed - succeed at all costs, right? Unfortunately, the people who tout the idea the most are the few who somehow managed to make it work. They had the talent, worked hard, caught or created the right breaks, etc, and it all sounds like great advice coming from them.

    Unfortunately, the truth is, we never hear from the people who put their eggs in one basket, only to have that basket fall and crush everything. We don't hear from them because they didn't succeed, and had to somehow scramble and scrape just to get by.

    To the OP, you're still young - for now, don't worry about a plan "B." If you make it, you make it, but you'll have plenty of time to assess and reassess your situation as things progress to see if it's truly in the cards.
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Patrick's first word, Practice, is the key to getting there. But I also believe you need to listen to pros. Lot's of pros. Not just one. Go beyond the riffs, the theory, understand their sound, textures, how and why they used them. What is it about their playing style that connects with you? This is why they are pros. They can connect with people, and through those connections, they establish their reputation and are given the opportunity to continue on and build, as the individuals in the music industry that make it happen for them know they can bring in the audiences... because once again, they can connect with the audience.
  4. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    Ellis Marsalis, Wynton's father, was and still is a world famous jazz pianist. In his youth, he did play the clarinet but switched to piano and the rest is history.
    Whether his family struggled is a possibility, but there is no mention I can find of Eliis Marsalis playing the trumpet for a living.
    Rich T.
  5. BigDave

    BigDave New Friend

    Aug 9, 2013
    Andromeda Galaxy
    You have pretty good advice. Here is mine. Epic long post.

    Understand that to be a professional musician is going to take sacrifice, and the more you understand what you may be sacrificing, the more you may change your mind or refine you life goals. This is no way means you wont find fulfillment with your horn, just that you may decide their are better ways for you to by groceries, pay rent, and take pretty girls out to dinner.

    I don't post here much, (mostly TH, Big Dave88) and talk is cheap, but my goal is to be a world class player by 29. I am 26, and I have lost a lot of time(very VERY long story). Just understand the juice may not be worth the squeeze for you someday. To pour yourself into the horn and the aspects of the music business needed for a viable career in a field that is essentially desiccating is a lot of time and energy missed out doing 'normal' things - and as far as romantic relationships go, well... for me, it's not really viable, especially if you travel a lot. In your mid twenties and early thirties, chasing a dream, some people may not understand why you 'don't have a real job' or aren't making 40 grand a year. It's the choice I made, and not without a LARGE degree of consideration and a bit of anguish. If someday you decide a 'career' in music is not for you, this in no way means music doesn't have to be a large part of your life. There will always be places to play and music to make. And, understand, that yeah... if you are having doubts and second thoughts, that's a good thing. It means your head is on straight! It's not easy, and from personal standpoint, my journey has really barely begun.

    I never liked the whole 'have aback-up plan'. To me - and this is in no way a reflection on those who advocate it, because it is very sound advice - it felt like a set up for failure. For me at least, I don't like half measures. I was going to be a world class professional someday and pour myself completely into it, or I wasn't. There was no half way for me.

    I would, as you grow as a player and person, refine your goals. Being a 'professional musician' is a pretty big spectrum, and you need to define for yourself what 'professional' actually means to you. Another goal of mine to to be the next bar-setting orchestral player(one step at a time!!!), and those two umbrella goals have fostered many great opportunities to play(although just in my little neck of the woods. I am a nobody on the internet right now, lol) - which is to say, have goals, and don't limit yourself. Play where you can. Experience and competence(on your instrument in every musical context, in the music business itself, and with regards to people skills) is really... 'all you need'.

    I would definitely recommend university also.You need doors to open for you, and university will only ever do that for you.

    As far as the 'becoming' professional, here are some thoughts I have written down in my trumpet Bible off the top of my head, here is a few I remember -
    -Every time you pick up your horn, have a goal.
    -Be as efficient and effective as you can in your practice.
    -Time everything.
    -Resonance!!! Not 'dark' or 'bright'...
    -LISTEN critically before you play. Know what you want, and strive for it. Don't flounder, start with a goal in mind.
    -Strive to have not a good sound, but a great sound.
    -Be as versatile as possible, but cultivate your forte(area you are best at/most interested in).
    -Focus on your weakness and push the boundaries of your strengths.
    -Be patient with yourself and other musicians. Understand that ego is not arrogance.
    -To whatever musical situation you find yourself in, ask yourself what can you bring, not what others can bring to you.
    -Walk the line between being humble and arrogant. It is called confidence, and it doesn't announce itself.
    -To play the trumpet is to be a leader, and to lead REQUIRES responsibility.

    You have a much better start than I ever did. I look forward to seeing how you progress!
  6. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    In addition to all of the good suggestions regarding your question, "what do I need to do", I'll add, play with really good players as often as you can. There's absolutely nothing like, to use just one example, sitting next to a really good, experienced lead trumpeter in a big band. When you hear, in comparison to their playing, how stiff your phrasing is, how minimal your dynamics are, etc. it's so much more of an eye opener than reading or hearing about it.

    (Just an aside about Ellis Marsalis, is he really a world-wide famous artist? I never heard of the guy until his son put him on the map. Also, and I guess I'm taking a chance here on being beat over the head, but I have personally not heard anything from his playing that made him stand out from tons of other players. Of course he's excellent, but I don't get the "world renowned' part of it.)
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    The week before Wynton received his first two Grammy's (the year he collected both classical and jazz recognitions) I had the chance to purchase a $6 ticket to Gilly's for these cats: Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis and Brandford Marsalis. They all gave me my $6's worth, that is for sure!
  8. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Well, I certainly wouldn't dispute that. Doesn't mean that Ellis is on the same level as Wynton or Branford. Hell, gmonady, I'd pay six bucks to listen to you. :thumbsup:
  9. Bay Area Brass

    Bay Area Brass Piano User

    Mar 2, 2007
    San Francisco
    Tips on becoming a pro? Get along with all your co-workers/fellow band members-be about the music and not your ego. Always be early and totally prepared for your gig. Have good sight reading skills and don't be narrow minded musically-be well versed in playing different styles (don't be a musical snob) :)
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I'm worth $5:shhh:

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