THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS
- The perils of “youthful arrogance.”
- There’s nothing more important to your performing career than your integrity.
- For every failure, there’s a moment of redemption.
ROGER’S WORST MOMENT AS A PERFORMER
“It was wrapped up in youthful arrogance. I had an audition in front of the brass musicians of the London Symphony for a scholarship sponsored by the LSO. I knew I had practiced it enough, although my teacher said differently. I had never rehearsed it with a pianist. AS it went from bad to worse, I was clamming up, my palms were becoming sweaty and I was looking right into the eyes of Maurice Murphy, one of my heroes on the trumpet.
“As we got to the slow section, Maurice walked up to me and said, ‘I think we’ll stop here.’ I had serious issues with performance anxiety after that for several months.”
- “I’ve had more fun sharing the story as to why I didn’t play with Pink Floyd than the gig would have been.”
- “Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. The moment you think you’re prepared, start preparing.”
THE HOT SEAT
Q: It’s 5 minutes before you go on stage for an important performance… What are you doing?
A: Checking, checking, checking. My music, my trumpet, my valves, myself. I also visualize the performance beginning to end, and it’s perfect.
Q: What’s the best performance-related advice you’ve ever received?
A: Concentrate on the sound. If the sound is horrible, no one wants to hear you. Make it look easy.
Q: Can you share one tip for our listeners to help deal with stage fright? (Physical, mental, etc.)
A: Prepare, prepare, prepare. And when you think you’ve prepared, start preparing. The moment you think you’ve got it put together is when you’re most prone to make mistakes.
Q: What’s a non-musical activity that contributes to your success as a musician?
A: Sport. Playing and watching. The discipline required to play sports can teach a lot to musicians.
Q: Imagine you’re on stage. It’s the end of the performance and the audience is on its feet, applauding. They don’t want any more and they don’t want any less. Everything is perfect. What have you just done?
A: I’m at Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms. I’m playing the Arutunian trumpet concerto in front of 3,000 people. It’s gone stunningly well. All those people that were in that terrible audition years ago are looking at me, saying, “Well done, Roger.”