What first drew you to the trumpet and when did you realize that trumpet playing was what you wanted to do professionally?
Since they did not offer drums during the year we picked instruments, I took up the trumpet. I decided to become a teacher-performer after my junior year in high school, upon returning from a summer visit to Colombia.
Where have you studied and who were your teachers?
I attended the Eastman School of Music, where I studied with Sidney Mear.
What was your first full time professional job as a trumpet player and how did you get it?
My first jobs were at the age of 14. I played with this same weekend band until I graduated high school. I got the job when there was a last minute illness. Someone had heard that there was a young trumpet player across the street so they called me. I played with them regularly after that!
Which musicians, teachers, conductors or trumpet players have influenced and taught you the most?
What is your daily practice routine?
You spend a lot of time on the road performing and teaching. What do you do to stay in shape?
A good, slow warm-up helps me the most.
How important do you consider a rest or break when you are practicing?
I start with practicing small parts of pieces or etudes, and then begin to play something as a whole at the end of the session. I think that breaks should be as long as needed to stay as fresh as possible.
How do you approach a new piece?
First, I always try to read through it, if possible. Then I can define the requirements for practice. You will find issues for endurance, difficult lines, challenging phrases for breath, etc.
What is your approach to teaching your students?
I try to teach students the understanding of how to practice. I help them become the most comprehensive musician they can be.
Do you consider it important to combine more than one genre in your studies such as jazz and natural trumpet?
I think music is music. I take in as much as I can. Also, there is so much crossover between repertoire; groups might play jazz, classical, pop and some baroque on the very same concert. People will hire the players that can handle all of it first!
What criteria do you follow when you are choosing a mouthpiece and trumpet?
What is the best sound for the job. Although we can know the styles perfectly, there are usually certain parameters in the sound area that can require a horn and/or mouthpiece change.
What advice do you have for young students and for teachers?
Listen and then practice, be an asset to your community, be humble, be disciplined, enjoy your colleagues, support your musical friends and family. And to a professor? Help a student become the person they desire to be through musical and technical instruction. Be a good role model.
Have you ever had a bad experience on stage?
Yes! We all have bad experiences. I think that, when we know we can do something, stage fright is minimized in most cases.
How should one take criticism?
As help to reaching our musical goals and those of others.
They say that everybody has a little bit of performance anxiety and the important thing is controlling it. What do you do to control it?
Trying to make sure my practicing has made me more confident, not less. Also, hearing the music and not me personally.
Any advice on preparing for auditions?
Be as detailed in your presentation as possible. People notice that difference quickly.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to trumpet related jazz and classical music, as a teacher. I put on different music in the car on Sirius radio to see what is happening!
With what musician or style of music do you identify with the most?
I identify with music from 1950-present.
Who is your favorite trumpet player?
My favorite trumpet player is my son, Gabriel.
What is your favorite piece for trumpet?
Sharing exercises with Trumpetland
Do you have any exercise you would like to share with the Premium members of Trumpetland?
Sure! This exercise — Chromatic Flexibility Exercise — is meant to help strengthen the idea that we play trumpet in the same complete breath each time we inhale and exhale.
Exercise by Vince DiMartino (PDF 114,61 KB) [Only Premium members]