I can still remember the moment the trumpet picked me. Like many kids in the suburbs, I took piano lessons at a community music school. Every few months they’d have a recital where all the kids would put on their Sunday best and sing “Take me to the church on time” or play Bach’s Minuet in G. But this time the teachers played for the students. I can’t remember what the trumpet teacher played, but I was sitting up near the front and from the very first note I was hooked.
This is my twentieth year playing the trumpet. I have traveled all over the world – pieces and concerts have come and gone, but my love of the instrument and singing through it remains. Starting to learn an instrument can be frustrating, but also filled with a sense of adventure. New notes and pieces are like undiscovered lands, and every time you discover a master of the instrument it’s truly awe-inspiring. I heard recordings of Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis and my parents took me to see the Canadian Brass and Doc Severinsen live in concert. I was so star-struck at Doc’s concert that I wouldn’t even walk up to him and get an autograph in the lobby afterward.
But over time, the progress slows and gods start to resemble real people. I met my most cherished trumpet hero, Håkan Hardenberger, at the Chosen Vale Trumpet Seminar two years ago. Seeing him there, I started to understand he wasn’t blessed from on high with perfection – he really works harder and smarter than anyone else. Of course, working a little harder and a little smarter did not magically turn me into Håkan Hardenberger. However, seeing him as a real man – not an idol – made me respect him even more.
I don’t know what the future holds for me as an artist. Some days things seem to be taking off, but others I find myself wondering what exactly I’m trying to say through this brass tube. All the same, every day I practice, and cherish the little discoveries that pop up along the way.