Trumpet Happiness, month three

Me. Feeling happy.

To recap my trumpet happiness project up to now:

December was the month I started getting serious about fitness (stationary rowing, calisthenics, walking and stretching), blogging daily, and getting things done.

January has turned out to be a great month to meditate, hug people and work on French. I also did a recital, which I will repeat in February.

I have done poorly in some of my resolutions, such as journaling every day, playing the top five orchestral excerpts for trumpet, editing a cornet duet book and practicing transposition etudes. These resolutions just didn’t work with my schedule this month, but I will probably get around to them soon.

For February, I aim to work on ear training (intervals), the top 15 trumpet orchestral excerpts, a composition that will sound like Hummel’s lost trumpet trio, getting better sleep, gratitude and jogging.

If I were to highlight what I think has been some of the biggest growth for me over the last two months, I would have to say it came from a foundation of fitness, a focus on my trumpet fundamentals and a calmness that I feel from mindfulness meditation. I feel really fortunate to have stumbled onto this trumpet happiness project, and I can’t wait to see what the coming months will bring!


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Happiness, testosterone and great performances

Testosterone, that famous anabolic steroid, is closely linked to performance, muscle growth and energy. Testosterone is closely linked to confidence, creativity, focus and memory. It is important to peak performance for both men and women. If you can get your testosterone levels higher, then your performance on trumpet, both physically and mentally, will be better. How can we boost the natural testosterone that is so beneficial to us?

The first, and perhaps most effective, is getting more sleep. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep. The more sleep you can get, the higher your testosterone levels. Also, try to keep your weight low for optimal levels of testosterone.

After sleep, we each respond, in terms of our testosterone, to other kinds of events in different ways. So, we need to develop our own individual approach.

Some benefit from running, weight-lifting, or some other kind of exercise. Some benefit from interaction with their friends, especially after high-stress activities like work or academic testing. You can test your own testosterone levels with a salivary test, but it is very expensive if you are trying to tweak your pre-performance testosterone levels with a wide variety of possible activities.

But the good news is that you probably don’t need to get expensive testing. In general, there is a direct correlation between testosterone levels and a feeling of happiness and confidence. If you keep a trumpet journal, keep track of your own perceived happiness levels after you try different pre-performance routine. You might also want to ask your close friends (especially if you have a practice buddy), what they perceive your happiness level to be. If you consistently write your results down, you will eventually be able to zero-in on your optimal testosterone-boosting pre-performance ritual.

There are many dubious, somewhat-dubious, or poorly-written articles on ways to boost your testosterone. Read them at your own risk. Here are some of my take-aways from my research on boosting your testosterone:

  1. Reduce your alcohol, caffeine, smoking, sugar and simple carbs.
  2. Increase your green veggies, protein, healthy fat (like coconut oil and olive oil), vitamin D.
  3. Lift weights, do bodyweight exercises, run sprints, walk, do martial arts, reduce your weight.
  4. Get lots of sleep, sunlight, have conversations with positive people, have training or trumpet buddies.
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