The new trumpet music business

Samuel Johnson quote on Union Station in Washington, D.C.

I’ve posted about the dismal trumpet job scene before. Unemployment is incredible among trumpeters. And yet….

Today, more than at any time in history, we can learn from so many books, videos of performances, lessons and masterclasses online. We can hear an unbelievable amount of recordings on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon Music, and we can stream videos from all over the world on YouTube. 

We can self-record ourselves more easily than ever before. We can reach an audience directly in ways that we have only begun to imagine. We can crowd-fund! We are free to express ourselves more authentically than ever.

With these new horizons come new requirements for us to be successful. We cannot wait for a job to plop down in our laps. We cannot wait for a recording contract to give us our career. 

In my hometown of Washington, D.C., at Union Station, there is a quote carved on the front of the building. Attributed to Samuel Johnson, who was, in turn, borrowing from a Spanish proverb, the words are powerful directives to this new trumpet business world we are in:

He that would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him. So it is in travelling. A man must carry knowledge with him if he would bring home knowledge.

For trumpet players, I will paraphrase:

She, that would bring home the happiness of winning a position or a recording contract, must bring that happiness within her own heart. So it is with learning to play the trumpet. A woman must learn to play through self-evaluation and self-knowledge if she would learn best from a teacher.



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