Trumpet Happiness, month…five-ish

I start this post out with an apology for my absence for the last three months. I had set out back in December of 2017 with the goal of blogging daily about “Trumpet Happiness.” But fatigue set in. My Trumpet Happiness project was to go for about a year (or a little more), with each month getting me closer to my goals for being a happier trumpeter. Along the way, I stopped. I needed a break. But on balance, I had to remember my Trumpet Commandments. Number 7 was: Choose the more imaginative or enjoyable way, when possible. I needed to step back and really incorporate some of the lessons I had been learning. I needed to take a fresh look on the whole process.

For most of March, and all of April and May, I have continued do things like:

  1. Prioritize sleep (mainly by eliminating electronic distractions and screen time right before bed).
  2. Focus on fitness. I have lost a notable amount of weight, become stronger, more flexible, and I have accomplished something that I haven’t seen in a long time: being able to jog for 30 minutes. The one setback in this area has been dealing with tendinitis in my left forearm (“tennis elbow”), and holding the trumpet can aggravate this a little. I’ll spend some time later in June looking into this challenge.
  3. My French study has developed nicely to the point that I recently was able to hold some brief conversations with a French acquaintance (at the ITG Conference).
  4.  I have been very consistent in meditation, but I have refined a morning mental ritual, which includes meditation. I will share this mental exercise in a later post, because I think it might benefit a lot of trumpeters.

As I’m perched at the beginning of June, I’m hoping to continue my journey and share it with you. Things like attending the 2018 ITG Convention, some wonderful performances, trumpet practice ideas and future goals.


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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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