Tuesday, December 28, 2021


"You are spraying the air with thousands of notes of highly questionable value!" (Mel Broiles)
  • Quality beats quantity.
  • Quality wins jobs.
  • A few minutes of gorgeous playing is better than a whole hour of mediocre blasting. 
  • Big bucks for good notes. Big fines for bad notes. 
  • Ensure that all notes are "usable."

Monday, December 13, 2021


As a junior in high school, I was super excited about my first lesson with William Vacchiano. On my new C trumpet, I had prepared #6, molto veloce, from Caffarelli's Etudes de Perfectionnement. The lesson that day was not at all what I expected, but one that I will never forget. 

After a rambunctious charge through my etude, I expected a smile or a nod of approval. Instead, there was no response. He told me to open my Arban book to page 125. It is one of those boring pages of staccato interval studies. Taking his pencil, he deliberately tapped a dreadfully slow tempo, and had me play line 1. I must have missed a third of the notes! Pathetic!

After several of my nervous attempts, he said: "Go home and practice; don't come back until you can play this correctly."

  • Humiliation can be the very experience needed to spark improvement.
  • Confronting weaknesses is vital.
  • Appreciate the value of a single lesson.
  • Prepare for performance.
  • Practice accuracy.
  • The control of a single note can be harder than a whole page.  
  • Practice what's not fun.
Note: I did return for my second lesson two weeks later.  His one-sentence lesson had been echoing in my mind for two weeks, and there was no way I was going to get that same lesson again. 

Nailed it!