Trumpet Happiness, month four

Me, in front of Op. 7 by Richards, Fowkes & Co. in Westminster Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, TN

Looking back on my trumpet happiness project up to now: 

December was focused on beginning my effort to get fit and to start blogging consistently.

January was the beginning of my attempts at meditation, hugging people and focusing on learning French. I did a recital. I also did an on-campus interview for a college trumpet teaching job. It turns out that I wasn’t the best fit for that place, so I didn’t get the job. But it was a great experience. More on this interview later.

I wasn’t successful in everything I set out to do in February, but I made some great headway in getting more sleep. I also was able to be much more consistent in my morning rituals:

  1. being grateful for something
  2. affirming something positive about myself
  3. thinking about what I liked from the previous day
  4. looking forward to what I would do for the rest of the day

These four rituals have kept me grounded.

Since December, I have gotten much fitter, physically (and lost some weight!). I have been doing a combination of walking and jogging three times a week, which is a huge breakthrough for me, since I had been suffering from shin splints for the past eight years. Additionally, I do calisthenics three times a week. Here are some of my cumulative numbers now: in one session, I do 180 push-ups and lunges, 230 sit-ups, 224 squats and 32 pull-ups (all of this over five sets).

Also, I am making huge progress in my French (I’ve just completed 600 straight days on Duolingo, and I am almost finished with Level 3 in Pimsleur French).

My performing focus is getting better (thanks to my meditation!)–my recent recitals were actually quite a pleasant experience. And I loved touring with the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble in Tennessee.

Unfortunately, I let a number of days go by without blogging at the end of February, but I felt I needed to recover a little from my blitzkrieg since December of last year.

What’s up for March? What are my goals?

  1. Ear training (working with the Online Ear Trainer).
  2. Orchestral excerpts, solo pieces and some jazz playing (I now have a student who wants to mainly study jazz with me, so I will need to stay ahead of the curve!)
  3. Getting my composition muse back
  4. Reducing my blogging to two or three times a week; looking forward to some nice interviews coming up this month.
  5. Keep working out, sleeping more, eating better.
  6. Keep improving in French–I want to get to level 20 in Duolingo French and get well into Level 3 of Pimsleur French.
  7. Keep hugging





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Five Things Friday: Teamwork in the Trumpet Studio

Trumpet Hang at the German court of Swerin (18th C.)

There is a trend that I am noticing in my life–there are fewer opportunities to hang out with trumpeters. Fewer opportunities to play together and chat about trumpet things. Nevertheless, there are big benefits to working together with other trumpeters, especially in a studio at a school of music. If you are looking for ways to get better, try getting together. Here is some motivation:

  1. Data points to significant health benefits to belonging to a group.
  2. When you combine group class, trumpet hangs, workshops and conferences to your lessons, you will learn more and be more motivated.
  3. When you’re hanging with other trumpeters, not even talking about the trumpet, you are building strong social bonds that help prevent burnout.
  4. You are a team with your teacher. Although online instruction is better and more accessible these days, you should put more importance into lessons with a real person.
  5. More experienced members of a trumpet studio help to mentor the less experienced–they get experience to help them become successful teachers. Less experienced members of the trumpet studio learn faster, because they get extra mentoring, and because they see the kind of workflow that goes with purposeful practice.
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