You guys crack me up.

The other day I asked a question on the Trumpeters with Real Gigs page. "Do you see other trumpet players as your competition or your customers?"
I mean, there are a lot of trumpet players out there with NEEDS, and I was curious to see who was selling products and services to other trumpet players. (A few people are).

What kept me so amused all day was how nobody wanted to admit that they see other trumpet players as "Competition".

Nobody wanted to use the C word... it's too dirty.

Instead, people said things like...

  • "I look at them as someone I might learn something new from....."
  • "Other players are my can't do all the gigs anyway so why worry about it?"
  • "I see all as human beings. Be a good person and gigs will come."
  • "They are my team mates."
  • "I see them as my friends, I respect trumpeters!!"

If competition is a dirty word, I'm just going to go ahead and say it. I've never been offended by foul language (especially when it's mine). So I'm going to say it. (Nobody's looking).

We live in a competitive world and everything is a competition. You compete for paying gigs, you compete for solos, you compete for peoples time and attention and you compete for the last of pizza.

That doesn't mean that you have to be rude to your friends or treat your colleagues with disrespect. But as my mother always said, its a jungle out there. And so I am going to give you 7 different ways to compete.

  1. Play better. Or at least play as well as you can on what you happen to be playing. The trouble with this type of competition is that were all working on different repertoire and it can often be comparing apples to oranges. So practice, play your best, and try not to get too neurotic about the person sitting next to you. (Unless they hit a high note that you can't!)
  2. Play something different. Choose music that the other groups aren't playing. Make your own arrangements, choose a different style, and stand out by seeing what everyone else is doing and doing the opposite.
  3. Be quirky. Rather than hide your weird side, flaunt it. It will make you easy to remember and it is more entertaining.
  4. Be more reliable. I'm a mom, and I often hire babysitters. I have opinions on who is "the best" babysitter, but the job will generally go to the person who I can count on to be there when I need help. I realize that trumpet playing and babysitting are two different jobs, but in the end we want that person to show up on time.
  5. Have a better understanding of what people want. One example that comes to mind would be a person who plays for weddings. You could gain an edge simply by learning more about what music brides and grooms really want on their wedding day, rather than beating your chest over how your band is "the best."
  6. Be easier to find. What's the best place to hide a body? ... On page 2 of Google because nobody looks there. You can compete as a freelancer or as a group by having a better web presence and making it easier for people to find you.
  7. Have better relationships. Often opportunities come through referral, or because you were the first person that someone thought of. But that can only happen if people know what you do well and remember you when the time comes. Make a habit of making friends with the people that you meet, keeping track of their contact information, and keeping in touch with your friends, family and acquaintances.

Competition can be a good thing, if you have the right attitude. It is a force of nature that challenges you to do your best and improve every day.

Talk to you tomorrow,


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