The "Second" Trumpet Player


So this is now my fourth voyage and unfortunately I am afraid to think that it may be my last. I will first start with what all has happened since my last posting. 

I moved in with the previous second trumpet player who became my best friend on the ship. Noah was his name, he was an amazing improvisor. I usually don’t like listening to many trumpet players improvise, but he really has something going for himself. Anyways, he was a great friend and very supportive and I already miss him. 

Other than that I have not seen many worth mentioning things in the past cruise or so. I have seen some cool stuff, but still have a few big things on my list to see. Such as seeing the Acropolis in Athens, and the Segrada de Famalia cathedral in Barcelona, Spain. 

My trumpet playing has not been so stellar lately. My playing was getting very pinched, along with my tone. In return my endurance was going down the crapper. However, in the past week I have discovered, or possibly rediscovered that I need to be breathing down deep from basically my groin not my throat. I also discovered that I need to be “pushing” from the lower abdomen area, and not my throat or pushing on my lips. Last production show I think I came the closest I ever have to splitting my lip. I was playing like an idiot, and it sounded like it too. I also discovered that the problem may have been caused by practicing too much on my lead mouthpiece. Now I always warm up for 30-60 minutes on my classical mouthpiece, and then move to the lead mouthpiece, which I only warm up slightly on and I am good to go. Since I have discovered this “new” technique, I have improved my range, endurance and sound. I actually have been able to slur up to a double E on my big ol’ classical mouthpiece, which was quite an accomplishment for me. 

So as you can see I was improving quite a lot, and VERY excited to show my new skills this next cruise (the one which I am on now). This cruise we got two new members in the band, an alto sax (my new roommate), and a “second” trumpet player. Well, the reason I keep putting the word second in parenthesis is because this guy is a monster lead player. I found this out the hard way as I was doing the usual trumpet things, listening to him warm up before the show. Kind of doing what all trumpet players do, hoping he’s not much better than you. He was slurring all over the place, from low to about double c and probably above that! So, the classical player that I am locked up and freaked out that I was going to be playing lead with my new “second” trumpet player friend who can probably play octaves around me with his hands tied behind his back. 

Anyways, the director told me when I confronted him about this that he may try to switch us. Which actually was fine to me. It would make life easier for me, and make the group a lot better probably. As I write this I am actually listening to them rehearse the show for tonight, which I am not playing. He can beat the snot out of those high notes, but unless he is just fooling around, his accuracy in the upper-mid register is not so spectacular. I am interested to see how this works out. The director has said he wants some time to assess the situation before he makes a decision. But at this moment I have pretty much decided that whatever happens I should have no problem with it. 

If I get fired... 

  1. •I get to see my sisters the whole summer 

  2. •I leave knowing I have improved my...

    1. ★Range

    2. ★Sight Reading 

    3. ★Knowledge of the Professional World

    4. ★Knowledge of Jazz & Popular Music

  3. •I met a lot of cool people

  4. •I saw a lot of cool places

  5. •I got paid for it!

  6. •I can probably come back if I like

  7. •I probably wont get to see Rome... :( 

If I have to play second trumpet....

  1. •I don’t have to spend countless hours worrying if I will hit the “problem note/highest note” in the shows or miss it

  2. •I can relax and make more music than I was able to on lead

  3. •I can possibly learn a bit from chops-magee

  4. •I may have to worry about being asked to improv

  5. •I will be making the band better

  6. •However, I may feel like I was an insignificant member to the band while I was playing lead

  7. •I get to go to Rome!

If I continue playing lead....

  1. •I will feel privileged that the director would choose my average range over super duper high chops. 

  2. •I would be paranoid playing because I know chops would be watching me miss things and thinking to himself how easy it would be for him to hit it. 

  3. •I may continue to learn how to be a better lead player, and hopefully continue improving as I have.

  4. •I get to go to Rome!

Overall, this ship has been tough for me. I still have very few friends to help me through these hard times on here. Luckily I have great friends and parents at home to talk to when I need it. I don’t think I would ever return to this ship because it really lacks fun and enjoyment that I need in life. Maybe its just the group of people, maybe its the lack of Americans and abundance of Europeans, who knows. Something however, is just not right for me here. 

Anyways, thats it for now. I am off to practice a bit more. Keep your fingers crossed that everything turns out for the better... whatever that may be.