March 27, 2015

Last week I attended the National Trumpet Competition.  In addition to judging the Jazz Finals and performing with Tromba Mundi, I spent plenty of time connecting and reconnecting with trumpet players from all over the place (and, of course, trying out new stuff…that was fun, too).  It was striking how good the trumpet community can be.  And how important community is.

Whether we like it or not, we are all part of at least a few different communities.  Professionally, I’m a member of the Brass Department at Indiana University, the free lance music scene in Indianapolis, and the trumpet world- just to name a few.  It’s up to the individual to decide what kind of community member to be, and how involved to become.  This can say quite a bit about the individual, and will result in vastly different kinds of communities.

What I witnessed, and was pleased to a part of, last week was the best kind of community.  For those of you that don’t know, the National Trumpet Competition is an event built around the student experience.  There are several levels of competition, including solo and trumpet ensemble.  The judges are trumpet players and teachers from all over the country.  In addition to the actual competition, there are daily warm-up classes and masterclasses given by professionals.  Each night there are concerts by outstanding groups with top-notch soloists.  There are also exhibits with plenty of horns, mouthpieces, and trumpet accessories.  Although centered around competition, which can often create negative feelings, NTC has created a supportive environment for students and professionals.

How did this happen?  It happens by getting individuals to come together for something bigger than themselves.

Now that we’re all back home, we rejoin all kinds of communities. So here’s the question:

What kind of community member do you want to be?

My hope is to be a positive and involved community member (those who know me also know I have not always succeeded in this deceptively simple statement).  This is not to say that once you try and be a positive and involved community member everything will be rainbows and sunshine.  If you find yourself in a community that, despite your best efforts, remains negative, perhaps it’s time to rethink your involvement.  It is also important to remember that everyone else might not agree with you on how to make things better, and that there is no right way to be involved.  Some people will organize events…some will run organizations…some will volunteer their time…Depending on the person and the community, there will be a variety of ways of being involved available.

These concepts apply to an organization as small as a student brass quintet, and as large as a major symphony orchestra.  How you choose to involve yourself will, at some level, play a part in the success of that community.

Please choose wisely.


One comment

  1. Well said.

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