What's Good Enough?

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

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Wow - those statements speak volumes.

    I've known people who put music, gigging and their drive to be working musicians, ahead of everything else. While they mostly succeeded with their endeavors musically, their personal lives were a mess.

    I might have gone further with it if I hadn't had a family, but I did have a family and was never willing to really put that on the line in my efforts to be a musician. There had to be a balance and I just wasn't willing to wreck my marriage or my kids' childhood.

    And what is "success" anyway when it comes to playing trumpet? How much is enough?
  2. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    This is what everyone, including the original poster, must decide for themselves.

    Because this will determine what is necessary, or in my opinion, even possible, to accomplish. Contrary to what some people seem to think, I do not believe that everyone can accomplish everything. After living 59 years and having observed many, many people and circumstances, including my own, I am quite skeptical of the "if you can conceive it, you can achieve it" concept.

    This assumes that everything is completely within a person's control, which of course, it isn't...

    Regardless, a single minded commitment coupled with unlimited dedication and determination - and let's not forget a certain measure of talent and innate ability to begin with - will go a long, long way, and may be the formula for reaching the goal.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  3. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    The answer to that is: It is different for everyone. Trumpet or anything else. To me success is defined by achieving balance in life. Knowing, at the end of the day, that what it truly important has nothing to do with material wealth or how others think of you. It is a spiritual quest and the answers lie within.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    You can have just about anything, if you want it badly enough. Most of the time wanting it badly enough turns out to be something much different than you originally wanted. It is the difference between a dedicated individual and a blind idiot.
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I completely agree with that - I just didn't want to be the first to suggest it. :D

    I have seen people who even though they had the desire, drive, good equipment and excellent teachers, only wound up as mediocre players at best with rough chops and ability, and could barely hang doing local 2-year college community bands.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  6. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Very interesting thread. I can relate to ComeBackKid's experience. I went into aviation ready to pay the dues, paid them for a number of years, only to find once starting a family that it wasn't going to work out. I don't have as many flight hours as CBK but mine were acquired in a relatively short time (and I'm probably quite a bit youger:-)). I have met many airline pilots who were not so enthusiastic about their jobs. I remember a United captain who had nothing but contempt for the tedium of airline flying and could only talk about his passion for glider flying...:roll:

    Once I was hanging out at private field and a young guy flying a piper cub landed. He was a trumpet player too and was wondering whether he should pursue attempts at going into North Texas, going into flying as a profession and keep playing on the side or doing something else entirely. I recommended him the course that was going to provide the best balance of security, peace of mind, free time, family friendliness, and personal satisfaction. By the look on his face, I could see that I had not been very helpful, but there was no other way to put it.:dontknow:

    Partially by chance, I find myself now in a situation where I have a more than decent job, which is satisfying in itself, relieves from worrying about money, yet leaves me 4 days off a week (unless I do extra work). That has allowed me to get seriously back into playing and I am better now than I ever was before; not too difficult, since I am an adult learner and never touched a trumpet (or understood the difference between a whole and half note) until age 26. But still satisfying.

    Life is a fine balancing act that requires experience. Unfortunately, experience often is like a comb that life hands you out once you've become bald :D

    Be prepared not to regret any decision you make, it only makes things worse. Some say that everything happens for a reason.

    My only piece of advice: if you have a good horn that has good memories attached, NEVER pawn it, no matter where life takes you. It will be better used gathering dust in an attic, where someone could one day rediscover it.:play:
  7. The Kraken

    The Kraken Piano User

    Mar 28, 2007
    Gold Coast - 805
    As true as this can be for some I think it would be a shame.......:-(

    All we have is our journey because in the end that is all that counts!!! :-)
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Well, let's face it - not everyone can be Bud Herseth, Phil Smith, Maynard Ferguson, Wynton Marsalis, etc. Even if presented with the exact same circumstances and opportunities - we simply aren't all blessed with the same amount of talent and natural ability. It is a sad reality. There are those who have the ability and are not born into good circumstances too, although some people manage to rise above it and succeed anyway.

    Sorry - it's getting a bit off of the beaten track of the subject of the thread, but it further illustrates the point that "good enough" is subjective, and it means different things for each of us. For Bud Herseth it mean 53 years as principle trumpet of the Chicago symphony. For Maynard Ferguson it was decades of leading a big band. For me, it was 10 years of time spent in the US Army band program and gigging on the side in Latin bands, churches, wedding bands, etc.
  9. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    Rowuk is right, there are plenty of "crappy" trumpet players making a living out there. The old guy who impressed me so much probably wasn't THAT great a cornet player, but he sure impressed me, and I gave him a tip. The story on the street was that he was making about $85 a night in that coffee shop. I believe it, you could hear him for a fair distance and it's a magical sound compared to the grunting of SUV's inching along and canned music that's the usual "soundtrack" to downtown Palo Alto. Now, $85 a night is HUGE money. I didn't make that much a WEEK last year. To be able to make that kind of money in these times .... wow. My cost of living allows me to have some savings, on an income of about $10 a day. If I can actually go out and toot and make $20 a day, that's riches.

    I think the "gold standard" for a "middle class" (not destitute) life in the US is $100 a day, and I think the Army pays at least that now, even for just an enlisted grunt. You have to count their providing food, housing, and some cool clothes, in this. Anyone in Army Band probably starts off at E3 or something, they'll really have it made.

    But a good hustler on the street, who knows which bars to play in front of and so on, can probably make $100 a day anyway.
  10. Glennx

    Glennx Pianissimo User

    Aug 16, 2009
    With regard to players who try their hardest but never reach 'the top':

    A point that might be made is that no matter how hard we try, how much time we put in, how dedicated our study and intelligent our practice, 99% of us are simply not ever going to play like Phil Smith, Maynard Ferguson, Wayne Bergeron, Maurice Andre, etc. - we just aren't. I submit that the players who rise to those heights are the best of the best - and exceptional at that.

    Sure, we have to have those players and their sound, style and fire in our ears, minds and hearts - but first and foremost we have to strive to be the best we can be. And if everything happens to come together such that we end up playing at their level, great. But if not, there are still a lot of mighty fine players making a living out there, and we can join them and be proud of it.

    A final thought: a teacher of mine once reminded me that there are a lot of people out there who can play beautiful high C's with the greatest of ease. Many of them are taxi drivers, sales people, accountants, construction workers, etc. who've never touched a trumpet in their life - but they could probably play a 'high X' with ease if they tried. He went on to observe that there are a lot more trumpet players who can play it even more beautifully and easily - but somehow this group doesn't quite show up on time for gigs, come to rehearsals with their parts worked out and polished, dress appropriately, show proper deference to the contractor or play like part of a section.

    His point was simply that there are a lot of players who can play really well, but that (as has been pointed out here already) it takes more than just being able to play the horn well to be a 'first call' player and work steadily as a musician.

Share This Page