Wednesday, February 07, 2024


The next time you play, consider that you are entering your own personal mistake-free zone! Consequently, all sloppy boring playing will automatically be transformed into a flawlessly stunning performance, even as you warm up. Wouldn't that be nice!   

Upon entering your zone, you have become King Midas turning every phrase into pure gold! Out of your trumpet bell proceeds accuracy and amazing musicianship. Not a single note is tarnished.

Instead of panic, fear, and hesitation, you are confidently playing with finesse and style. The trumpet is now singing like a famous opera diva. 

"Our passion for playing beautifully must exceed our fear of missed notes." A fantasy? No. This mindset of artistry plus accuracy is key to a mistake-free and boring-free zone. Admittedly this is NOT possible but is a worthy pursuit that replaces uninspired drudgery with a new challenge.  

As one maestro charged us just before the concert, "Your performance tonight must be ravishing!"  

Note: I see this mindset also in light of a scriptural perspective. Speaking of the future city in Revelation 21 it says, "But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life."

In Matthew 6 it also says, ". . . lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."




Thursday, January 11, 2024


"Why don't you play like a great musician, and NOT like an average trumpet player?" 

That was the one-sentence lesson, rather blunt and probably offensive, but in the end, very helpful. Often, what's needed most is a shocking jolt of reality, rather than repeated flattery. 

Sounding great starts well before the first note of the day. A strong musical concept must motivate every phrase. Today's determination: nothing is going to sound bad! It's all going to be good, right?

A great musician warms up like everyone else, except that he/she always sounds amazing! Etudes, recitals, solos and excerpts likewise. It's not up to luck, however. The great sound is the result of an obsessive striving for control and style. There must be a daily pursuit of a great sound.   

Mediocrity is a terrible goal. No one pays to listen to average boring playing ever. Great musicianship matters in the practice room. Great musicianship is expected on the stage and demanded by the audience.