It gives me sweet relief to affirm a discovery I've made.  I used to think I wanted to be the greatest trumpet player or simply a great trumpet player.  After all, don't most people want to be great at something?


    A few months ago, after having read a few books and done some serious soul searching, I acted on an exercise to ask myself,


"Well, what do you want to do?"

"Who do you want to be?"

"Who are you, although you might not see it yet?"


    I figured out, without a doubt, I wanted to be with people.  I wanted to help people and make them feel good.  I wanted to somehow remind people that we are human, we're going to get through it, and help them to not feel left out.


    Who am I?  I am and will always be an educator and a musician.  This is the main part of who I am and I will live it til the end.


    Since I thought I wanted to be a GREAT trumpet player years ago, I gave myself the hard task of finishing the Arban's Method book (the Arban's is a method book which contains pretty much every exercise you need to be an incredible trumpet player who can play anything no matter how difficult).  I was doing very well for a while, but I started noticing that even though I was improving my trumpet skills, it wasn't making me very happy.  Being able to finally play a difficult exercise in the Arban's book would give me temporary happiness.  Eventually came the important question in a serious important manner with an eye opening important answer tailing it.


    Why do you play the trumpet?


    And the answer was NOT to be a great trumpet player or to one day be one of the greatest.  Although I never payed attention to the answer before, the answer had always been "BECAUSE I LOVE IT."  I am not saying I love the trumpet.  I'm saying I love PLAYING the trumpet.  And I am not talking about the kind of passive love we sadly use today for granted:


"I LOVE burgers!"

or...

"Oh! My God!  I LOVE the show 'Breaking Bad.' Have you seen it?"


    I'm talking about the kind of love we hear in great stories told.  I'm talking about empirical love that you understand because you have had the good fortune of having a mother, or a grandparent, or a spouse, or a child, or a brother.  And this feeling of attachment is undeniably real and it's part of who you are.


    Being able to make a sound with the trumpet is very much a part of who I am.  I'll even go one further and say it's a necessity.  It's not a basic survival need, but I don't know how far I can go without being able to do it.  Yes, it's that much.


    I was chatting with my friend Jose Luis, who teaches trumpet at a conservatory in Valencia, Spain, and we were both mentioning how we finally DO NOT obsess over improving our skills quickly.  We have learned to bypass those worries and enjoy every single day we get to blow on the trumpet.  It's very much a delight.  We both also thank God every single day because we get to play on the horn and we consider it a tremendous privilege to be able to play, whether it be in a room all alone or for an audience.  It was nice knowing I wasn't the only one to feel this way.


    If you feel the same way, don't feel left out.  There are others out there who like doing music as much as you do.