I am 15. I am fairly certain I was the youngest or one of the few youngest attendees. Struck me as odd, wouldn't all my peers want to get a first hand look into the industry they are about to spend a ton of money and effort going to college to be a part of for the rest of their lives? Each component of the conference was valuable. Here's the breakdown:
Vendor exhibits: Every piece of equipment the imagination can conjure. Emerging and established manufacturers, cutting edge technologies, the latest fads, etc. The take away: The trumpet universe is a small one and many of the vendors want to connect with every trumpeter they can on a personal level. They will not only let you try their products but will take as much time as you want to discuss them so you can compare with the competition...which just so happens to be in close proximity. No room for gimmicks or poor quality. Attendees get an authentic sense of the products allowing for some wickedly accurate cost-benefit analysis and product comparisons.
Workshops: I love that with much of trumpeting the "right" way to do things is subject to debate. If you find yourself in a workshop not well suited to you it is simple enough to escape back to the exhibit utopia. Admittedly I learned more outside of the workshop doors than in. The take away: The workshops are a great chance to discover multiple ways of working on the same stuff. Everyone is going to acquire some tips, tricks, ideas, new things to try at home.
Concerts: An impressively diverse line-up gives attendees a chance to hear trumpet centric music, something difficult to find locally, heck even nationally. The take away: I think what stuck a chord most (ha! see what I did there, I make more than just music, I make people roll their eyes too) was how I could really drill into the intricacies of the trumpeters performance and get insights about elements of each performers sound, technique, etc. from other professionals.
Youth Day: I learned a lot at the reception. Tips on evaluating colleges, clarity on what kind of things other young players are working on, a realization that just because someone is a professional player or professor doesn't mean they are a good teacher (or a good trumpeter for that matter). I was disappointed in how casual everyone was dressed. C'mon guys it is an annual reception of the most respected organization in the trumpet universe and you can't even break out your Sunday best? You saunter in with jeans and a fatigued polo shirt...We are the future of that organization and if that is how we represent I am concerned for its fate. I fear we will allow the camaraderie dissipate and the sense of pomp and circumstance related to respecting our greatest achievers wain as well. The take away: The youth participants were kind to each other, eager to establish themselves, appropriately competitive, focused, and hungry for education. I was finally amongst people under 30 that I connected with. They were a little click-y but open to chatting up newcomers.
Culture: Trumpeters come in all shapes, ego sizes, and personalities. The common denominator of this tribe is that they are all looking to have their music respected and be respected for their accomplishments. Respecting a musician has two elements their performance and their commitment. It is about seeing them...that means their time away from their kids, their decision to skip football and track and the debate club to do this single thing well, their decision not to take that well paying cushy job that wouldn't leave time for them to get to gigs, etc. It is also about acknowledging their choice too; the hours and hours of monotonous warm ups, missed weekends at the beach to be locked in an 8x10 practice room, working for free to prove your worth, taking the last bit of energy left to practice after 18 hours of academic stuff, cultivating this intensely perishable thing that requires constant attention demands one sacrifice a lot of other lifestyle elements that many take for granted. The take away: There's this super cool undertone of basic respect in the majority of the people within this trumpeter tribe not for the music that each creates but their commitment to their craft.
Well that about sums it up...Look for follow up posts that really dig deep into the stuff that resonated most for me such as falling in love again and winning something for the first time.