Music Advice, No. 1
My name is Justin. You're one of my favorite Divas in the WWE. You're very beautiful and very talented.
I need some advice on how to focus on music and practice in the right frame of mind.
I've played trumpet since I was 12 years old. I had a two-year scholarship at Juilliard and attended a master class with Wynton Marsalis. But after that, I stopped playing mainly because I lost interest and wanted to focus on earning a college degree, which I have—a B.A. in music.
Now I work at Sam Ash music stores but only as a stock person. I know that I have to practice but the more I hear how successful my friends are in music and how much recognition they get, the more I feel left out. Even when I practice, I get very frustrated and angry at myself and my trumpet. I get very down on myself and often say to myself, "I want be where they're at instead of here practicing and going nowhere fast." How do I let go of that negative feeling and enjoy practicing more? Your advice would really be helpful.
Best of luck to you and your new CD.
Thank you so much for your letter and congratulations on being the first letter chosen for my music advice column! I found it very interesting because you touched on something a lot of people go through.
Let me start by saying that I think it is important to ask yourself what made you love the trumpet in the first place? Was it that you had a passion to play it or that you hoped it would lead you to a "glamorous musician" life? If it is a passion then you would be willing to play it no matter what! There would be such a fire inside of you that does not allow you to give it up because you would find yourself empty without it. Let me give you an example: I have been singing since I was 5 years old and in that time I have never stopped singing. I don't mean to say that I practice everyday but I have always found a way to incorporate singing into my life. I joined a band when I was 14 and performed through middle school, high school and college. I never found it grueling and in fact, I preferred performing on weekends instead of going out on dates. Well, when I moved to N.Y., I decided to try and take piano and conga lessons. I went out and bought the best keyboard and congas thinking that would get me inspired to practice but it only worked for a little while. As time went on, the piano and congas collected dust because I did not enjoy practicing. It wasn't too long until I realized that I was never going to learn how to play because I lacked the desire to do it. I didn't beat myself up for it though; in fact, I was true to myself and ended up selling the piano and congas. It just wasn't for me.
Another way to find out how passionate you are about something is when you are willing to do it for free. I sang for free for years and still do just so I can perform in front of an audience and it doesn't bother me. Performing brings me such joy that it can not be measured by money. Now I'm not saying you have to perform for free to show your passion but if you don't have any means of getting paid, don't let it stop you from performing!!
My friend, I really think you need to stop looking at where your friends are and ask yourself if you even have a passion to play the trumpet anymore. Don't start playing just because you think it will give you a more glamorous life and keep you in the loop with your friends. Do it because it drives you and it defines who you are. For me, I loudly proclaim: "I am a performer and that is who I am!!" Can you say the same? Only then will you know if you are meant to pick up that trumpet and do whatever it takes to become really good at it so you can get to the next level! If you listen to your heart, you will find the answer!
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