Trumpet Player Advice from Luther Didrickson

The following is a post I recently stumbled on from the I wanted to post it here because I agree with it 100%. I took one lesson with Mr. Didrickson in the late 80’s. The lesson lasted two hours and it ended up being a pivotal moment in my career.

I would also like to thank John Urness for posting it (in 2002):

Luther Didrickson was co-trumpet professor with Vince Cichowicz at Northwestern University for many years. Each year new trumpet students were given a handout entitled “The Trumpet Student at Northwestern – A Supplement to the Departmental Orientation Meeting”. A friend of mine who studied there in 1992-93 gave me a copy of this handout from 1992. Here is some excellent advice from Mr. Didrickson reagarding practice habits and self-judgement.

“It is normal to compare yourself to others, many of whom will appear at first to possess daunting skills and talent. Later, you will find they, like yourself, have areas of weakness alongside their obvious strengths. With the right attitude you will be able to learn much from your colleagues, as they surely will from you…

Eventually we all learn to expect and accept differences (especially as regards varying abilities and weaknesses) in players. What is important for you to do is to focus more on your personal progress and program to develop and improve. In other words, you compare your current playing with your own past history and judge yourself more in this way. What others may have accomplished is sometimes useful for reference but by no means to be used in self-evaluation, especially the negative kind. You, in truth, have the rest of your life to become the performer you wish to be…

One last thing: BE PATIENT. Complex mental and physical skills used in playing music on the trumpet take time in developing and refining. They cannot be forced in any known way that will deliver reliable results. All worthwhile things of this sort in life take time, and therefore so should you. Relax, enjoy your wonderful tone as you play the notes on the printed page with security and confidence, at a tempo that doesn’t cause you to lose concentration or to lock up in some way. You’ll do just fine.”

Words we all can learn from.

John Urness

About Eddie Lewis

Eddie Lewis is primarily known as a Christian free-lance trumpet player in Houston, TX. Eddie makes a living playing trumpet, teaching trumpet and jazz improvisation, writing trumpet music and authoring trumpet books. His second book, Daily Routines for Trumpet, is used regularly by thousands of trumpet players around the world. If you would like to purchase some of his CD's, feel free to visit our online music store at
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