A young young trumpeter recently emailed me asking for advice in advance of some upcoming auditions.  He wanted to know how he should prepare and, more generally, how to play with a great sound.  His questions were great so I decided to post my response below:

Hi Jarod,

I commend you for your enthusiasm about music and trumpet!

Here’s my advice:

  • Listen to as much music as possible, and listen carefully and actively (not passively). Your -sound is a physical manifestation of your imagination. The key to sounding great is filling your mind with great sounds! Inspiration comes first.
  • Perform as often as possible. Join bands, orchestras, quintets, do solo performances, etc. There is NO SUBSTITUTION for experience! Most college “performance majors” don’t perform more than a few times a year.  Not enough!
  • Record yourself and listen back to it, putting yourself the listener’s perspective. Don’t judge and analyze your playing while you’re playing (including practicing!), i.e. your phrases should be musical statements, not questions.
  • Surround yourself with musicians and artists that inspire you. This will affect your playing in more positive ways than can be listed here.
  • Stay in touch! I want to know how you found this advise useful.

I wish you the best of luck for your auditions!