#nerdlution Round II: Reviving the Chops

trumpet_and_oilI’ve been thinking about what I want to do for my next 50 day challenge (a.k.a. #nerdlution round II) and I’ve decided to tackle a beast: reviving my trumpet chops. I’ve played trumpet since I was 9 and majored in music at UCSC. I was a decent player, got gigs, etc., but once I had my first kid almost 9 years ago, it’s been a slow decline.

For the first few years of Keana’s life, I kept my chops up and taught at two different music schools while working a “day job” full time. I had occasional gigs playing with a few bands around San Francisco and Oakland, with a wedding or funeral thrown in here and there, but about 5 years ago I really put it aside, only playing a few times a week, then a few times a month. At this point my chops are in working condition, but they are a mere shadow of their former glory.

Honestly, I’m not sure what happened. Did “life” just take over? Have I lost the passion to play the trumpet? Has it gotten too hard? Is it time to move on to another instrument/musical focus? Have I just allowed other aspects of life to distract me and I just need to refocus? Do I need a goal, like an audition or start up/join a band? All of the above? None of the above?

By committing to play every day—like I did for 20 years of my life—for at least 50 days starting on Friday, I hope to answer some of these questions. I also hope to find some sort of inspiration to make music that’s seemed to have faded—a creative ass-kicking if you will. There’s no question that music is important to me and is essential to my existence, I’m just not sure what my role will be with it going forward. I know it will be hands-on in some way, I’m just not sure if that also includes a mouthpiece on my face.

Stay tuned.

  • tellio

    Keep us posted, Luke. Now where is that cello I have in the closet?

    • luhoka

      I didn’t see my dad often as a kid, but some of my favorite memories of him are playing the Dvorak cello concerto in the basement when I’d visit him in the summers. Get that cello out!

  • Britton Gildersleeve

    Great idea ~ you inspire me to contact the music teacher I looked up in November… 🙂

    • luhoka

      What did you play Britton and what compelled you to contact them?

      • Britton Gildersleeve

        As a child & young adult, I played piano. 10+ years. But I always wanted to play harp. My dad would NOT spring for a pedal harp, so in my early 20s, I bartered with the editor of The Folk Harp Journal, a then-new publication. Sold editing and research and grunt work for a small bardic harp.

        Unfortunately, no one would teach me how to play it. So I tried from books. But every time I tried to learn, I got pregnant. Two miscarriages and 2 sons later, I decided to wait until later in life. 🙂

        This past October, I heard a woman play at a poetry reading, and asked if she gave lessons. She does, and I still have the harp, restrung and waiting. Thought it would be fun to try again. It’s a return to my folkier roots from jazz & world music. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

        • luhoka

          Wow, what a great story! Definitely sounds like a path not quite finished. Be sure to let me know how it goes.

  • Tanya Baker

    i feel like the message is in the air: everywhere I look/read someone is talking about the relationship between creativity and discipline. Clearly its time to get my own ass in a chair and do some writing. 50 days, huh? starting Friday? maybe I’ll give it a go myself.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Luke.

    • luhoka

      DO IT (and you’ll have a built-in cheering section too, which doesn’t hurt).

  • dogtrax

    Ok — love the batteries in that pic. Good luck. It’s like riding a bike. You fall down a lot.
    Seriously, though, great resolution.
    Kick out the jams!

    • luhoka

      I just noticed those batteries too, didn’t plan that:-) Definitely preparing myself for patience but also excited to see where this takes me. I’ve played long enough that I know how to get in shape, but I’m hoping to find some magic, too. No expectations!

  • Joel Malley

    That’s awesome Luke. I’m picturing a NWP band…Kevin on guitar, you on the trumpet, Paul Oh on Makey Makey keyboard. Could be awesome. I’ll applaud from the crowd.

  • Joel Malley

    Oh, and what’s this on #nerdlution 50 day challenge part two?

    • luhoka

      So what’s your next 50 going to be?

      • Joel Malley

        I have to think about it a little more. Possibly, 50 days of doodles. I think I’d like to spend some time developing my artistic side.