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Pandemic Summer and 7 Important Things

"If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Well, we've been handed a bunch of moldy lemons and there's not enough sugar to make it taste good.

As awful as this pandemic has been (wear your mask), I've really tried to make the best out of the situation. My lemonade came from participating in the Summer Trumpet Mastery Course, created by Tom Hooten, the principal trumpet of the LA Philharmonic.

Soon after I started the course, I found a trumpet orchestra audition that I would take just as the class was ending. I made it my goal through TMC to build strong foundations in fundamentals, practice techniques, audition prep, and overall wellness. Here are just some of the things I learned this summer:

1- Music is a life long process. There is no perfect, all-knowing, end goal. Before I start practicing I tell myself, "A little bit better everyday. I am grateful."

2- Have a plan when you practice. Fill in a chart with what you need to practice so you can see what you are and are not covering. As you change, your goals and routine will as well.

Practice Grid for YOU to fill out

Download PDF • 9KB

Example Practice Sheet (filled out)

Download PDF • 48KB

3- Listen to yourself, and be honest with yourself. Take a deep breath. Be aware of your mental state. Take care of yourself (meditate/eat well/sleep well/exercise/bring your life experiences into your music).

4- Be vulnerable.This video wasn't from the class, but it sums this topic so well. WATCH!

5- Listening- Broaden your horizons, listen to everything (different genres/instruments), and let it expand your musicianship. You aren't a trumpet player, you are a musician creating sound art.

6-There isn't one way to do anything. Be curious. Ask questions.

7- Use technology/tools. The world is constantly getting more technologically savvy. Use the apps. Use the resources. Get creative.

The audition was this past weekend, and It was the most grounded I have ever been. (Grounding helps people lessen the effects of stressors in the moment by encouraging them to practice purposeful focus on cues separate from the triggers they encounter. In doing so, people are able to distract themselves from the unpleasant experience they are having and find a sense of inner calm).

I had done the work, knew and trusted the music was there, and laid it down. That is all I can ask of myself. As frustrating as this process can be, I'm excited to continue learning ALWAYS. Even after you win a job, you never stop growing as a musician as a person.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment/ask questions!

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