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ITG Day 1

June 21, 2011

Hello from Minneapolis. Today was the first full day of the International Trumpet Guild Conference. It began with a Panel Discussion on Careers in Music with:

Joey Pero, who aspires to bring instrumental music back to the mainstream,

Kiku Collins, who played with Beyonce and Michael Bolton,

Rashawn Ross, who plays in Dave Matthews Band,

Trent Austin, who just opened a Trumpet Shop in the Boston area,

and Joey Pero’s manager, who is…Joey Pero’s manager.

The concept of this panel is fascinating, as the trumpet players on the dais have a wide variety of experiences that aren’t discussed nearly as much other performing careers such as orchestras, Broadway, military bands, etc.

Joey talked a lot about branding and his team, as that is the focus of his career. He is building a career as a soloist.

Kiku talked about networking, versatility, and gave this great advice: “Don’t be the jerk.” As someone who has made her living working for some big names, she made clear the need to be someone that other people want to work with.

Rashawn started with his love for Jerry Hey’s horn writing. This was what he knew he wanted to do. His discussion focused on finding a niche, and being the best at it. As someone working in Dave Matthews Band, which he said wasn’t even looking for a trumpet player when they hired him, he has made his living much like Jerry Hey; putting together horn parts for recording projects. His great advice was to give up any “superior musical knowledge”, or you may be giving up the gig.

Trent, having just opened a Trumpet Shop, admits to being a Trumpet Geek. He has become frustrated doing the gigs he doesn’t like, and made the decision to do what he enjoys. Now he has a store, which he loves, and the ability to choose the playing opportunities he truly enjoys. His great advice: “Separate yourself from everyone else.”

All of the trumpet players were very enjoyable, and the differences in their careers and approaches made for a potentially fascinating discussion. Joey Pero’s manager managed to stop any real discussion dead in its tracks. He hijacked more than half of the session to talk about what he was doing for Joey’s “Global Imperative”, how Joey’s team worked, what their vision for Joey’s career is, and what kinds of things we could be expecting from Joey in the near future. At one point, when discussing why it might be necessary for Joey to say no to a potentially lucrative free-lance opportunity, Kiku Collins said that she was different because, as a single mother, “I have a 9-year-old to answer to.” I’m not sure why Joey’s manager was on the stage. Joey was able to discuss his career in conjunction with other people with other careers. His manager kept the audience from hearing what could have been a terrific discussion on the differences and similarities among a wide variety of career choices that aren’t talked about nearly enough.

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