Thanksgiving 2017

Boy Practicing Trumpet by Norman Rockwell. For November 18, 1950 edition of the Saturday Evening Post.

I want to take a moment to write how grateful I am for my trumpet journey so far. It has been a sizable one: 42 years. And add a little more for the bugling I did when I was about 10 (I got an Army-regulation bugle for Christmas, and I want to say to my neighbors back then that I’m sorry for trying to play “Reveille” from our porch at eight on that otherwise quiet morning!).

There have been some missteps. When I began, my embouchure was wrong (I placed my lower lip too far under my upper lip). I was not very thorough in my practice when I was young (“why should I practice for that concert–I already have the job!”). I did not spend much time networking as a young teacher (I guess I was too cool for the International Trumpet Guild). 

But every step counts on our journey. Mine did. When I figured out my embouchure, I grew  in my confidence and knowledge of the mechanics of trumpet playing. When I slowed down and thought of my performances that were not as good as I would have liked them, I realized I needed some changes in my accountability. And now I value even more the human connections in the field of trumpet playing, since trying to be more of a loner. 

I am thankful for every note–the ones that cause listeners to smile, be in awe and even tear up. And I am thankful even for the missed notes: for all of the lessons in humility they have given me. This is my musical career, which is a marvelous thing, isn’t it? And of course, my gratitude goes way beyond just my trumpet playing–to my beautiful family and friends!




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