The joy that one feels during and after a great performance is indescribable! It is this huge rush of positive energy straight to your soul that makes you almost addicted to playing / performing. I think that musicians and athletes alike experience the same feeling. But what about a bad performance? For me, it’s almost like the globe is crashing (if I let it get that over powering).
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What causes a musician (in this case a trumpeter) to want to give up their passion and look elsewhere? I think if one takes a close enough look, they will find a trumpeters survival guide packed away deep within themselves.
Whether it be in business, love, music, athletics, or anything else a person can feel passionate about, we all get in to a “survival” mode at one point or another. If you’re not making enough money, or paychecks are inconsistent (good month / bad month), you can tend to stay in this mode for long periods of time. So much so that we stop looking for solutions to end this phase and go more in to just trying to make it to the next “good check”. Music performance (trumpeting) is no different. It’s easy to get “stuck” on one thing or another and become consumed along with trying to get beyond the lacking skill.
For me, it was trumpet high notes and trumpet range. My range was something that in High School I really started focusing on. I literally got stuck on working on range… it’s all I practiced. So much so, that all of my other playing needs were never fulfilled. This threw me in to survival mode along with trumpet playing because I couldn’t see passed this one aspect. So my rhythm, timing, technique, and even tone went down hill fast! My performances were not up to par like they once were, and things just snowballed from there. Missing one high note would certainly literally throw me in to a tail spin and wreck the rest of my performance… not caring about the music, but more about my ability to amaze and inspire the audience. A selfish desire I ought to add!
I ended up quitting for 3 years… miserable because I had left behind the one fairly thing that made my life feel like I had purpose. Coming back to it, I decided that I would certainly not focus all of my energy on that one aspect… so devising a better approach, I found that this one ability that I so desperately wanted, came along along with the rest of the package, once I worked other troubles out.