Trumpet Happiness, month two: January

Last month, my resolutions were:

  1. Get fitter. Last month, I exercised every day and got to a better weight. I can truthfully say I feel better, more energetic. The time I spend working out is definitely repaid, because I feel like I have much more energy and a better attitude to get “non-preferred” things done (like cleaning dishes).
  2. Organizing, logging and recording my practice. I didn’t quite log my month of practice. I started valiantly, but stopped half-way through. I think this was because I simply forgot. I did get some recordings in. Here’s a video example of how frustrating the recording process can be (but I should say how helpful it is for me, too!). This is me working on the Michael Gisondi Etude No. 12 (based on Bach’s unaccompanied violin “Sontata No. 2” in a-minor)


  1. Blog everyday. I think I just missed one day last month. I actually feel a bit better as a writer. Maybe 5% better.
  2. Finish my to-do lists as soon as possible. I think I checked off my to-do list pretty well. But I need to get better at tasks that require lots of little things to happen before bigger things get accomplished.
  3. Act the way I want to sound: big-hearted, confident, engaging. Maybe 10% more. But, I think my trumpet playing–more confident–is helping me feel more confident in general!

The only things I felt like I could really MAKE SURE that I accomplished were the workouts and the blogging. The other resolutions were not as “measurable.” In any case, the idea is to carry over these resolutions to the next month, as much as possible, and to make some new resolutions for January, 2018.

Here are my NEW resolutions:

  1. Meditate 5 minutes everyday. I know really nothing about meditation other than what I read in Dan Harris’s book, 10% Happier. I loved his story of discovering meditation from a skeptic’s viewpoint. In addition, I have talked to a few trumpeters that I admire, who also claim to get benefits from meditation in their trumpet playing. So, I’m definitely excited about this resolution.
  2. Although I’ve been doing it anyway, I’m adding language study to my January goals. For the past four years, I’ve been digging into seven languages on Duolingo and Pimsleur: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Swedish. But for this year of happiness, I’m going to focus on fewer things and try to do them better. So, my goal is to intensify my work in French, trying to finish all five levels of the Pimsleur audio series. I want to be perfectly comfortable in conversations and normal reading. The other languages will have to wait their turn.
  3. Journal every day. With a daily requirement to write down three things that I’m grateful for, at least one of which is not obvious. For instance, “I’m grateful for finding the $10 dollars I had forgotten about in my pocket. I’m grateful for my two sons. I’m grateful to the troll on YouTube who made me re-think my quality control.”
  4. I will hug three times a day. At least 6 seconds each hug. The minimum requirement. Don’t run away from me if you see me coming.
  5. I will upgrade my website. Look for a few interesting changes soon.
  6. I will play a transposition etude every day. I’ll start by working on the Sachse 100 Studies for Trumpet.
  7. I will play the top five orchestral excerpts every day. By “top five,” I mean the ones asked most frequently in orchestral auditions. The opening to Mahler Symphony No. 5, opening to Mussorgsky’s/Ravel’s Pictures, ballerina’s dance in Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, and Respighi’s Pines of Rome offstage solo.
  8. I will edit a 19th-century manuscript of cornet duets that I have been meaning to do. You can read a little about where it comes from here.



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