Ten Tips for Becoming a Mediocre Trumpet Player

calvin and hobbes mediocrity

OK before we get going, I encourage all of you to check out my good friend Jason Levi’s website Trumpets Trumpeters Trumpeting. It is very cool and there you will find survey results on everything from equipment choices and maintenance practices, to the best practice books on the market, as well as which horns are selling at reasonable prices on eBay!  Most of the members are either full-time or semi-pro players, and you’ll find lots of solid information there. Check it out!

And now…

Ten Tips for Becoming a Mediocre Trumpet Player

(Just enough to get you started)

  1. You may play the horn whenever you want, but you’ll get the most mediocre results the less consistent your practice schedule is.
  2. While “practicing,” be sure to run that lick that you can play pretty well over and over. Do this until your chops are tired. This maximizes practice time in the pursuit of mediocrity.
  3. Recognize that each mistake, out-of-tune pitch, and all of that embouchure fatigue you are feeling in the upper register is your equipment’s fault. Be sure to buy A LOT of gear (the more expensive the better) so you can switch the backbore, rim, cup, and horn make/model when any and all of the shit hits the fan.
  4. Never, And I mean NEVER use a metronome. This is important.
  5. To find an appropriate practice tempo, play an excerpt quickly enough to make the same mistakes over and over again. Consider this home base in the practice room.
  6. While we’re at it, when you notice those mistakes, be sure to gloss over them with the most lackadaisical, “good enough” attitude you can muster up. You can’t practice everything, so it’s best to save your energy for the high notes.
  7. Care Way Too Much about the way you sound. In fact, the more you can obsess about this, the better.
  8. Put off dealing with that pesky weakness you’ve been holding onto for the last 20 years until next season. Remember, it can always wait.
  9. As you ascend in register, squeeze and push with everything you’ve got. You’ve got to show the band and the audience who’s in charge.
  10. When you feel the need to be extra mediocre at something, it is highly recommended that you make the task at hand as complicated as possible. If you practice something that is way too damn hard, the easier stuff will get even easier. That’s right, “simple” fundamentals are for chumps. Always keep that in mind and one day you’ll be mediocre as hell!

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6 thoughts on “Ten Tips for Becoming a Mediocre Trumpet Player

    • Excellent suggestion, Walter. I agree that self-loathing and not celebrating success is a WONDERFUL way to achieve mediocrity! Keep up the creative thinking!

    • Brian, I agree completely. Comfort zones are there for a reason. They demand respect, and need to be stayed within.This’ll make you one extremely mediocre musician! Fabulous!!

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