Trumpet Day


APRIL 12, 2014


Introduction – “How badly do you want it?

Three important points: 

1. The importance of developing the various aspects of listening

2. The importance of knowing how to practice, and specifically what I did to prepare to win the PSO audition

3. The importance of choosing the right tool for the job.


  • Probably the most important part of being a great musician
  • Listen to recordings
  • Go to live concerts
  • Think of the best sound in your head and do what you can to produce it out the end of the bell
  • Approach your practicing from an “audience perspective”
  • Learn to react, not just play notes in your own little box in an ensemble
  • Understand that learning to adjust on the fly and developing that skill is vital


  • Understand that you will never have the time to practice like you do now
  • Be disciplined to practice what you can’t do
  • Don’t just practice the notes: practice playing at the extremes so that you can do it if you need to
  • “I would rather have an over-articulated note than a missed note any day of the week.”
  • When you miss a note, nobody sits there in the audience and says, “Well at least he played piano!”
  • Focus on musically clean playing
  • Understand that your body is truly a creature of habit
  • Try to find a way to eliminate as many variables as you can
  • Simulate performance opportunities as best you can regularly. Go overboard. Do more than you think.
  • Try not to sound robotic.Take risks! Make musical statements that draw the listener in.
  • I’d rather hear you go after something and “spray it all of the wall” than play carefully and miss
  • Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to take a beta-blocker. The majority of audition-takers do.
  • “In a moment of crisis, you will not rise to the occasion, nor to your own expectations. Rather, you will default to your level of preparation and training.”
  • “Every time you stay up late, every time you sleep in, every time you miss a practice session, you make it that much easier for them to beat you.”
  • How badly do you want it? Are you willing to make sacrifices now to get what you want later?
  • Remember that hard work trumps talent, every time.
  • If you out work everybody at the audition, you will give yourself the best chance to win.
  • Do not think you will just have a “good day”.
  • How badly do you want it?


  • Having the right tools for the job is essential
  • A carpenter would never in his right mind only bring one screwdriver to a job.
  • There is no “holy grail” mouthpiece.
  • You need hot, soft, dark, high note, low note mouthpieces
  • If a passage is consistently not working for you, be sure you are choosing the right tool
  • Don’t try to play soft low notes on your loud, “high C” mouthpiece!
  • Practice and warm up on whatever horn you use the most.
  • Learn the history of Bach trumpets since that is what most American companies have based their models from


  • Be hungry for knowledge. If “trumpet” is what you want to do with your life, live it!
  • Pour yourself into the craft.
  • Be intentional about finding out what’s going on in the trumpet world
  • “When the trumpet is up to your face, you have to have the attitude that you are the greatest trumpet player in the world. The instrument demands that confidence. But when the trumpet is off your face, you BETTER NOT have that attitude.”
  • Who you are as a person is more important than your trumpet playing
  • At times, there will be a note or two, or a passage that will seem to consume you. This is normal and happens to everyone!

Thanks everyone!