It’s Not About Trying Harder

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Follow the Program and Watch What Happens

As I have said in previous posts, I love working with the adult students because they are so articulate. They give me the kind of feedback about my method that I could never expect from a sixth grader. One of my current adult beginners commented this week that the wonderful thing about my method is that he doesn’t have to try so hard to make the progress he is making. Now, to clarify how well he is doing, this man has only recently passed the two year mark as a beginner. He had never played the trumpet before he came to my lessons (he did the right thing and waited until I could start him first). He is currently playing at a level that most children would only reach sometime towards the end of their third year of playing the trumpet. So we are talking about a highly intelligent and very diligent man who I know with 100% confidence is doing everything the way I have taught him.

So this week I was commenting about how well he was doing and how much progress he made and his response was basically to say that it was easy! When he follows my system the way I laid it out for him, there is no need to “try harder.” The progress happens almost automatically.

YES!!! That’s how it’s supposed to work!

A lot of beginning trumpet players don’t understand that we can only perform at a high level of excellence when we perform from our subconscious minds instead of our conscious minds. And there is nothing you can do to “try harder” to make that happen. It’s not about trying harder. It’s about working smarter.

Trumpet Lessons That Work

My teaching philosophy is based on the fact that you can only learn one thing well at a time. Most people don’t think of it this way, but at any given moment of a performance, the typical trumpet player must be thinking about as many as fifty things at once. That’s impossible for our conscious minds and if the way we practice never takes that fact into account, then we will never be very good trumpet players.

Have you heard of my fifty percent rule? I tell people that your work on literature should always constitute at least 50% of your practice time for the day. If you practice for one hour a day, then half an hour of that time should be spent working on music literature.

Well, the reason I made that rule up in the first place was because of this fact that we cannot control everything we do to perform with our conscious minds. When we practice music, we are also practicing using our subconscious minds. The exercises don’t do that for us.

Even beyond just that, another thing we do differently in lessons is that all of our rudiment work is done in the structure of the Physical Trumpet Pyramid. Once again, this structure is based on the idea that you only think of one thing at a time. As you make your way through the routine, the thoughts from the beginning of the routine should become increasingly more automatic and require less conscious control on your part.

Put all of this together and you have a system of practicing that systematically inserts the correct information and abilities into your subconscious mind to be used later.

Trust the Work You’ve Done

I often tell my students, the ones who have been with me for at least a couple of years and have been doing it correctly, to trust the work they have done. When you practice correctly, you can rely on that “programming” of your mind in your performances. Getting back to what my student said, you don’t have to try so hard anymore. When you get to where you can rely on your past efforts, when your performance becomes more automatic and subconscious, then performing at a high quality level is something you don’t have to “try” to do anymore. The “try” part has already been done and it’s time to enjoy the music as your reward.

Trumpet Lessons In Houston Texas

If you are interested in becoming that kind of trumpet player, the kind of player who works hard but progresses easily, then you might consider signing up for lessons with me. I’ve been teaching this way for decades now with wonderful success. Just use the contact form to the right of this post to send me an email. We still have a few openings and would love to fit you in.


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