This I Believe

Erika - Pflugerville, Texas
Entered on January 10, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in playing my trumpet. I believe in playing until my lips start hurting and continuing my practice until the pain has grown, but never too much. Practice isn’t about permanently damaging the lips but about improving upon one’s natural talent. I believe in perfecting each note, rhythm, and dynamic that together embody every piece of music that I must learn for my musical development. Yet I know that together those three musical features are not all that a performance should entail. With every note that passes through my lips, every rhythm that passes through my fingers, every dynamic that passes through my bell, out must flow my soul for each and every one of my listeners to feel. Music becomes nothing more than wretched noise if the audience cannot feel the music flowing through their bodies as smoothly as the blood that runs through their veins.

If I do not move my audience’s emotions I am nothing more than an average musician. I believe that to be a successful musician I must be more than average, and that is why I believe in playing my trumpet for at least two hours a day. (However, a day off is not out of the question for my routine.) Each minute I spend with the brass vibrating simultaneously with my lips is a step closer to the perfection that I seek as a musician. Perfection, as intangible an idea as it is, will never cease being the purpose of those two hours a day. These are the days in which my soul reaches a certain state of nirvana, my restless mind reaches peace, and my body reaches a state of consciousness that enables me to focus on every aspect of the trumpet.

I believe that while I am playing, my concentration should be like that of a monk. The reason for this is that while I focus on my tone, I also have to focus on my air, fingers, shoulders, hand position, tonguing, and a myriad of other aspects of playing the trumpet. I do not play my trumpet so that I can better entertain people in the future; I play so that I can reach my distinguished state of nirvana, so that I can feel personal pride, and most importantly so that I can have the reassurance that I am doing something I enjoy. I play my trumpet for the sole love of playing it. Indisputably I believe in playing my trumpet.