I Never Really Knew How To Be Efficient Until I Had Kids – Jen Marotta | Ep. 36


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This weeks episode is another “Freeway Philharmonic” episode. This one features Jennifer Marotta, a trumpet player based in the LA area. Although I had heard about Jen through the grapevine, I was finally able to meet and play with her at an alumni event at Northwestern University in the summer of 2019. Jen was so wonderful and warm, and after briefly speaking with her about her life as a freelancer, I knew she would be perfect to feature on an episode of the podcast.

Here are a few points to take away from her interview:

Getting Established Takes Time

Jen talked about how she experience that confirms what she has heard from others that it can often take around 3 years to build up a consistent and reliable performing schedule as a freelancer. In year one, you’re making a name for yourself by playing well and being friendly. In year two, people start to pay attention more and remember your face. By year three, you’re a known commodity, and you’re much more likely to be able to count on keeping gigs that you have.

In The Mean Time, Do Something You Love

I often ask the question, “How do you push through the tough times in the beginning part of your freelancing career when you’re not as established?”. I thought Jen’s answer to that was brilliant. She suggested trying to find a job that aligns with other hobbies and interests you might have, if possible. At one point in her career, when she wasn’t as established as a freelancer, she took on dog walking and pet sitting, as she is a huge animal lover, especially dogs.

She also searched for job opportunities that allowed her to build a schedule that would accommodate her need to practice the trumpet. Sometimes, the full time, 9-5 jobs can leave you feeling exhausted when finished, and you may not have the energy to put in the time necessary to improve. Her solution was to embrace her love of dogs and worked at a dog day care. Her shift would start at 6 AM and would end around 11 AM. This allowed her to still have a good portion of the day left to focus on her trumpet needs.

Know Your Priorities

Besides performing regularly in the LA area, Jen also teaches at the University of Southern California, has a few private students at home, and has two children to raise with her husband, Tom. She mentioned that being as busy as she is, being able to prioritize her activites is incredibly important to her success and happiness as a human being.

For example, she will often have a block of time free after she drops her kids off at school in the morning. For her, she knows this time must be used to get time in on the trumpet (on a different podcast interview, she revealed that she has spreadsheets and systems to keep her practice organized), as well as any health/fitness related goals must go in that block. They are the most important to her, so there’s really no choice for her.

I hope you enjoyed listening to Jen’s interview on the podcast. She’s a wonderful and genuine person, and I’m very thankful I had the opportunity to speak with her!

Until next time,