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Trumpet Wom'

 

1. Not Being honest about what I want in my career

I started Trumpet Grrrl because I wanted to give myself a platform to express myself in my own way and play trumpet how I wanted. When I was out of college I would play trumpet for pretty much whoever asked me just so I could make money and get myself out there. There is nothing wrong with this but at the end of the day, my passion doesn’t lie in playing trumpet for other people how they want. Upon reflection I wouldn’t put as much effort as I know I could have just because deep down I didn’t care and at the end of the day there are so many trumpet players out there that are happy to play what you want them to play. It took me awhile to start turning down gigs I didn’t want and accept this as a decision best for everybody. I occasionally play trumpet for other bands, but usually just to push my chops or experience something new. I still am very upfront with people about not wanting to be a permanent trumpet player in their band because I feel it would be a lie and disservice to them. I’ve been on the other end where people have said yes to playing a gig with me but it soon becomes clear it’s a chore to them and they end up half assing or bailing on the gig. This serves no one and I think we can be more successful by going within and being honest about what we truly want. The more we give, the more we get and if we’re doing something we only kind of care about our energy runs out and we can only give so much. You are additionally taking attention and energy from your true destination.

2. Letting other people’s opinions get into my heart

When you pursue an artistic career EVERYBODY has an opinion on it, more often than not people with no experience in the industry will tell you how you need to be “realistic” and get a “real job”. Then there’s the second tier of people who have tried but deep down never believed they could do it (probably because of the first group) and will spend time and energy telling you “how hard it is” or “how lucky you have to be”. I let this depress me and distract me as I was hearing things like this since I started being vocal about my desire for a music career at a young age. In the end I realized how much my depression was distracting me from working on my career. When I talk to successful people or observe them on television very rarely do I hear the words “blind luck” they talk about hard work, analyzing what is working and what isn’t working, perseverance and about being prepared to recognize and pounce on opportunity when it comes. And they all say majority of people said they couldn’t do it. I’ve learned to just smile, nod and change the subject when people want to give me “advice” about my chances of success. There’s enough that needs to get done without letting these people sap your energy.

3 .Hinging all of my hopes and dreams on one event

When I was younger, if something didn’t go according to plan I would fall to pieces and despair for clearly my career was going no where. If I got a nice interview or recorded a new song, I would impatiently wait for the masses to roll in as clearly everybody had to have figured out how great I was. This is a stressful way to live life in any regard and boy did it cause me stress. The fact is opportunities often come out of no where, sometimes people have a concrete reason for contacting you for a gig, sometimes it’s just “I remember hearing about you but not where” or “I was just googling”. And sometimes when it feels like you’re making no sort of impact on the world out of the blue you’ll get a super positive note of love from someone you’ve never met thanking you for doing what you do. The fact is it comes down to doing many small things, day in and day out. I’ve found cheering myself on for these day in and day out victories to be very helpful. More than likely one mistake, one thing going wrong or one thing going right isn’t going to make or break anyone’s career. But the strength and character you build along the way will prepare you to handle success and be happy about it when it comes. Which leads me to…

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4.  Waiting for success to make me happy

For the longest time I had this “If I could just get this….”, “Or if this many people just liked...”, etc. mindset. What a horrible (and false) way to live! Happiness can not depend on circumstances and having that mindset distracts you from the abundance around you. There is SO MUCH to be grateful for if you pay attention. Furthermore, I see a lot of “successful” people who are rich and famous but based on their actions are clearly miserable. The “if this thing just would happen I could be happy” mentality always leaves you wanting more, perhaps you will get a big high when you first achieve that “If I could just...” goal but it will not last. I consider success getting your goal and being happy about it. Finding joy in everyday life as you work towards your goals, recognizing the many things to be grateful for and diving within to learn how to be happy no matter what storm is passing over is the key to actually enjoying success when it comes. Moreover, if you’re bummed about life you are more likely to not notice the opportunities swinging right in front of your face because your vision is clouded. It took me a long time and a lot of exploration to understand this one but it really made a world of difference when I did.

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5. Doing the same thing over and over again that doesn’t work (definition of insanity)

I remember learning the Scientific Method in school. If you don’t recall it, basically the formula is; form a hypothesis, act on the hypothesis, observe the results and form a conclusion on whether or not your hypothesis was correct. Even though I’m a huge nerd and this totally makes sense how often I forget this one! I would get frustrated that my social media posts weren’t convincing people that my shows were worth coming to or my music worth purchasing, so what was the solution? More social media posts in the same way! And honestly, a lot of the advice on the internet pretty much says this, just promote, record an album and play a lot of shows, then success will surely be yours! That is because there are a lot of people that have decided to make money off of musicians, they see this work for other artists and assume that is what must be done. And while all of these things are necessary, perhaps the focus should be on how and why we are doing these things and not so much on what we are doing. If playing 50 million shows isn’t increasing your audience perhaps it’s the way your playing these shows and there’s more to learn about performance. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or not working hard enough, but just doing something that doesn’t work. When you’ve been working hard in a field for decades and have invested in professional education it can be easy to believe you’ve read it all and that the problem is that no one realizes how great you are. I’ve been adopting a habit of finding a new book or article that speaks about what I’m trying to get done in an original way or forcing myself to brainstorm new ideas and have been noticing a difference not only in results but in my inspiration to get up the next day and take another crack at it. Don’t keep doing the same actions, reading the same types of articles and expecting the same results, that literally will drive you crazy!

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6. Taking things personally

Being a musician is all about working with other people. People will express their undying love for you and your music one day then ghost you when you try to hit them up the next day. People will say “You can count on me!” with such fervor and genuine enthusiasm, then bail at the last minute or just ghost you and leave you hanging in the wind trying to figure things out. Sometimes people just don’t like your music. Sometimes people assume you’re one thing than get upset at you when they realize you’re not that. The list goes on and on, but the fact is people will let you down and not everybody is going to like you. First, besides oxygen there is not a single thing on this planet that everybody likes. Second, I used to get so upset at people letting me down or changing their actions towards me and would spend days being upset at a person, trying to figure out what changed or nitpicking at myself for something I did wrong. The fact is people aren’t perfect and 99% of the time they are only thinking about themselves, just like you are. More often than not the thought isn’t “How can I make this person’s life crappier?” but “I can’t handle saying no.”, “I’ve got too much going on.” or “I don’t feel like it.”. Pointing out to yourself how a person could have handled the situation better won’t make them better so why focus on it? And if they are focusing on how to make your life crappy, they have some serious personal issues to deal with and are worse off than you. I recently had a situation with a house show where the host was super like; “Anything I can do to help!”, “So excited for the show!” then day of the gig he just stopped responding and when I went to his place I couldn’t get in! Now a younger me would have been angry at him, cancelled the show and went home sulking at how unreliable people are. Instead when I realized he wasn’t going to come through I started focusing on a solution, not the problem and moved the show over to a park across the street. After words when he reached out with a weirdly worded excuse to the organizer (not even me, he never said anything to me) I just laughed and let it go. I additionally gained more confidence in my resourcefulness. We are all learning and on different lessons, it’s not worth it to be angry that someone is on a different lesson than you. I can only focus on myself and I decided to be the kind of person who can make lemonade out of lemons, life is much sweeter since I’ve done so.

I have more mistakes to list but will stop here for now and post more if this seems to help people. Have a lovely journey and thank you for being you!

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