Inquiring Minds

I was recently asked a few questions during an interview. Perhaps you will find the answers interesting for your musical development as well.

When and why did you start playing the trumpet; when did you decide on a career in jazz?

I started playing the trumpet in elementary school. Trombone was my first choice, but my arms were too short to reach seventh position. (They still are.) Saxophone was my second choice, but they ran out of saxophones before they got to my name. Trumpet was my third choice. By the whims of fate, go I.

Encouraged by some success early on, I stuck with it, prodded by my parents and a private teacher to practice every day. As the years went by, music became more and more “my thing.” It was the thing I excelled in at school, and the thing I chose to do on my own time. By the time I reached high school, it was a foregone conclusion that I was to be a musician.

A trumpet player is likely to pursue either a classical or jazz direction. Jazz was the music that captivated me the most. The freedom and challenge of improvisation is a driving force.

Chris Botti, a trumpeter/composer who won the 2013 Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category, said that playing a musical instrument is a solitary journey. Do you agree with that?

Chris was probably talking about the many hours spent alone in the practice room, as opposed to on stage. Amidst the advances and distractions of the electronic age, learning to play an instrument remains a slow and methodical process, the antithesis of instant gratification. Success or failure hinges largely on your willingness, nay, eagerness to devote substantial time, energy and patience to the pursuit.

Parents and teachers may prod, but ultimately the motivation to succeed comes from within. So yes, it’s a solitary journey, but one that takes you to a place where you can interact with other human beings on an intimate and deeply personal level.

Any nuggets of wisdom for young musicians?

If you love the music you play, others will love hearing you play it.

About the Author

Chase Sanborn is a jazz trumpet player based in Toronto. He is on the faculty at the University of Toronto and is the author of “Brass Tactics,” “Jazz Tactics,” “Tuning Tactics” and “Music Business Tactics.” Chase is a Yamaha Artist.

Visit his website at Questions about all things brass-related can be sent to

About author

Chase Sanborn

Jazz trumpeter Chase Sanborn is a Yamaha Artist and an assistant professor of jazz at the University of Toronto. Chase is the author of a series of educational books and videos on playing music. His most recent is “The Brass Tactics 6/60 Routine”. Visit Chase on the web at Also visit

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