It's been four years since my last journal entry, when I announced my move to Manhattan. Needless to say, a lot has happened (to us all) since then, but for this update I'm going to focus on my musical development over the last two years.
First, some background for those who aren't already aware . . .
Long, long ago, when I graduated high school, my dream was to become a professional jazz musician. I knew that I wasn't nearly as good as my jazz heroes, but I naively assumed that college would somehow make me a "great" player. After a year at one college, and then another year at a different college, it was painfully clear to me that I wasn't learning much at all, and I was only barely improving. To be honest, neither school that I attended had much of a jazz curriculum beyond combo and big band classes at that time.
Towards the end of my second year of music school, I decided it was time to make a change, so I switched to the business school and majored in finance. During that first year of business school, I had a business idea, and taught myself computer programming in order to make it a reality. That business idea didn't actually go anywhere, but it did inspire another idea, and the eventual co-founding of my first tech startup.
Twenty years later and two more startups later, I was burned out with the tech industry and ready for a change. Over the next four years, I traveled extensively, and thought about where and how I'd like to spend the next chapter of my life. As mentioned previously, the "where" ended up being Manhattan.
After moving to Manhattan, the first two years were mostly spent settling in and remodeling our apartment. During those two years, I attended two or three concerts every week. As most of you know, the level of playing here is incredible. It's basically the best of the best, night after night. While I could have easily felt discouraged by my shortcomings as a jazz musician, instead I felt inspired to see just how good I could get, with great teachers.
And that's how I decided "how" I wanted to spend the next chapter of my life. I would devote myself full-time to music, and finally get the jazz education that I never received when I was in college. To be clear, I'm not trying to become a professional jazz musician. I would, however, like to see if I can become as good as one. Or at least as good as the person people call when the "great" players aren't available!
Rather than spend a fortune on a top music school that I probably couldn't get into anyway, I decided to take private lessons with the best teachers I could find. And that's what I've been doing for the past two years. I've wanted to share my experiences in those lessons, but I've been too busy practicing. Seriously! I now practice a mix of piano, trumpet, and ear training for a total of 4 or 5 hours each day. I still have a year or two (or 20?) before I'll be where I want to be in my playing, but for the first time, I feel like I might actually get there.
I'll write a separate journal entry for each of my teachers, but for now I'll share their names in case you want to check them out on your own.
Nadje Noordhuis - Trumpet embouchure, strength, etc
Garry Dial - Everything else!