Pandemic all-star trumpeters

COVID-19 has taken away work from so many trumpeters. But it has also given to the trumpet community many fabulous videos from the rooms of so many trumpet greats. Here are some of my favorites:

, Associate Principal Trumpet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and teacher at the Colburn School, has recorded a new etude every day from his practice room. The unaffected mastery he brings to each etude is astounding. He tries to never edit for bad notes. Here an example of Jim’s playing on Charlier’s Etude No. 1 (I would embed this , but this feature has been disabled–please watch on YouTube).

, Associate Professor at the University of Maine School of Performing Arts, has also been very productive, most of his performances on Schagerl trumpets. Here’s a lovely Wurm study.

Principal trumpeter of the San Diego Symphony, , has been a very consistent uploader of trumpet etudes. Here’s his split-screen recording of Benjamin Britten’s Fanfare for St. Edmundsbury.

One of my personal friends and trumpet instructor at Sonoma State University, , has been a champion of many unusual pieces, underrepresented composers, and a versatile arranger and . Here, he performs a piece from Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress on trumpet and flute.

This video, arranged and performed on keyed trumpets and natural trumpets by Stian Aareskiold, has stood out as one of the most incredible of the last year.

But perhaps this video of “A Hope for the Future” was one of the most touching ones–recorded to bring attention to our healthcare workers and including one of the last performances of my friend (along with 31 other amazing trumpeters).


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 , 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 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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