What's Good Enough?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    My experience shows me that many who don't think to ask the question lack wisdom and sometimes find themselves broke and without a clue of what to do next. I've known some fantastic players who completely suck at life because they bankrolled their entire existence on the idea that they would be working musicians, and it didn't work out that way. I met a lot of those folks in the Army Band program - they went there as a refuge when things didn't work out like they had hoped. I say this because I've heard people disparage the working military bands (not to be confused with the premier military bands - different animal altogether) because the musical standard isn't as high. The musical snobs say this because being in a working military band isn't actually being a musician in their eyes - they think it's playing at playing music while serving in the military. Whatever - I know I made a lot of good music during my time in that endeavor, and I knew some fantastic players who were there for the sole fact that they needed the work and couldn't find anything steady anywhere else.

    It's never really about whether you are "good enoug." How many graduates from notable music schools aren't doing anything in music? Are they not good enough? Sure they are, but being good enough and being able to work are two different things.
  2. The Kraken

    The Kraken Piano User

    Mar 28, 2007
    Gold Coast - 805
    Jack Sheldon is still "Trying to Get Good" and he was born in 1931 :-o

  3. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    One thing to keep in mind concerning the post I made above where I told the story of my former teacher years ago is that he was as successful as he could be around here.

    Had he wanted to try to so-called "move on up the ladder", he would have been limited by geography. He achieved all there was to achieve in this area - more than most people would do. There were/are no further opportunities to be had here.

    There are many sacrifices to be made, and I think this may be one of them...
  4. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Richland, MO
    As someone who's walked in your shoes, and made a living playing for the last 10 years in the Army Band, I'd have to echo the advice of others "Listen to your parents" They likely have insight that many of us don't have because we don't know you.

    Playing for a living is possible, but not probable, and "practice practice practice" while a good mantra for many, does not guarantee your success. I know many many players who practice hours and hours and will never be good enough to be hired over even mediocre players.

    That being said, I consider myself a pretty good player, with a lot of experience in different genres, but I'm going to school to get my engineering degree. Not that music isn't still a passion, but kids are hard to raise on tips.

  5. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    When you listen to your parents, ask them to make some constructive suggestions while they're at it. It's OK to advise against something, but often that has the effect of pushing the advisee towards it.
    Your parents also know where else your talents and skills are strong, so I am sure they will respond positively when you ask for that.

    The Beatles, by the way, practiced together for thousands and thousands of hours. They engaged in what is called dedicated practice, which works for just about anyone willing to do it.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    you highlighted the wrong part. I think based on your post, this is what you should have picked up:
    A better business model for many is to get a real job and play "part time".

    I stand behind what I posted. If you have to ask the question, then at your stage, something REALLY IMPORTANT is missing. What you shouldn't miss is that no decision today has to destroy the rest of your life. I have played in a lot of great places, was also in an Army Band in Germany, have a lot of great gigs, but am a systems analyst which brings the rent, food, clothes and vacations in, with plenty of time left over for some serious horn, teaching and a bit of posting here. :whistle:

    I never asked the question after the 8th grade. Virtuosity was my goal (I never got there-still working on it). Even 3 years an Army Band in Germany was pure musical bliss. It never was a job, and I am 53 today and still isn't. It is possible to have your cake and eat it too, just not by the numbers.

    It takes personality, common sense, business sense, marketing sense and finally a bit of talent. You just need to find you in those 5 elements.
  7. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010

    GREAT question! Don't have any advice for you, just wanted you to know that I've been following your thread with a lot of interest. Good one. It's very informative and some experienced cats have chimed in here with a hard won first hand advice. Fantastic! :play:


    MTROSTER Piano User

    Jan 25, 2007
    I think rowuk got it right on. Being agood- great player is important, but if you don't have a business sense, you probably won't succeed. In the big band era and I'm sure at the present, the bands had some very talented musicians who figured they were good enough to start ther own bands. Most(but not all) failed because they were lousy business men. The business aspect is just as important as the music. I think a strong likeable personality is important for making connections and networking. Also the advice, that having a steady job is good insurance against disaster. Good Luck.:thumbsup:
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Rowuk, I had no idea you are a former Army Bandsman - it seems there are quite a few of us around. :-)

    I don't think you and I are so very different - I think you are much more dedicated to your craft on the instrument than I am, but then, I gig as much as I want to already and my chops are at a point where I can practice to maintain them and still be successful in a gig situation. You teach as well - something I'm not willing to do, mainly from a time perspective, but also because that's just not a forte of mine - I really like working with kids on the high school level, but it's mainly just been a matter of passing along some tips and pointing out some good materials to work with.

    I can't remember if I asked the question about whether I was good enough. I know that from the time I was in 7th grade and my hard work paid off on a chair placement audition that moved me up over 10 chairs, I've wanted to play music and be a musician. It was work at times when I was an Army Bandsman, but I wouldn't change it. It was a lot like being in high school band, only the ensembles were way better and I didn't have any other classes to go to.

    So, I cruise along as a database administrator, husband and father, and I gig to pay for vacations, pay for my kids' extracurriculars, and that kind of thing. From time to time I'll get hired for a quartet or quintet gig - those are the times I really feel like a trumpet player.

    So, am I "good enough?" Yeah, I tend to think so - at least good enough for the arena in which I play.
  10. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010

Share This Page