north bay trumpet
the music field
- I am frequently confronted with
students who are considering a possible career in music.
- These students will often make a
comment like: "I want to be a musician but I am
concerned about having a difficult time making a living
and enough money to survive."
- This concern is genuine and well
- I want to be clear that I try to
neither encourage nor discourage students pursuing a
career in music.
- I try to speak honestly and
thoughtfully when asked questions about my involvement in
- Hearing about the realities of being a
professional musician and/or a music teacher are often
enough to discourage anyone but the bravest and most
- Success in music actually has very
little to do with raw or natural talent.
- Unfortunately, success also rarely has
little to do with hard work or qualifications.
- Success in many facets of the music
field frequently has to do with politics (who knows
you-not who you know).
- In spite of this, I can say,
from my own experience, any success I have had has
involved: undying and unquestioned support of my parents
and friends, sheer determination, unquestioned daily
discipline, the endurance to be the last man standing,
blood, sweat, tears, sacrifices beyond what is
imaginable, working myself to the bone, creativity, and
- If a student chooses to ignore those
realities with thoughts like: "I won't encounter
these difficulties," they are usually demonstrating
their independence and to some extent their ignorance and
lack of maturity.
- My usual response to those statements
is to encourage the student to be thoughtful about their
conclusions and to try not to make any hasty judgements
without sufficient evidence or experience.
- Asking more than one person about
these concerns, I feel, helps one gather knowledge that
may be useful in making decisions about any career.
- I also try to encourage (1) developing
versatility (in playing styles and in musical skills
other than simply playing the trumpet) and (2) thinking
about how broad the music world is (that it includes a
lot more than simply playing in an orchestra or teaching
high-school: the two situations most students are aware
of when they ask the question).
- Most of all, I want to be
clear: I am not necessarily trying to produce
professional musicians. I am doing my best to help raise
the musical skills of each student to the next level of
excellence (whatever that is for each individual). What
they choose to do with that is their choice.