Your Reputation Is Your Career (Don’t Burn Bridges) – Nick Laufer | Ep. 49

Photo by: Sara Bill Photography,




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This week on the podcast, we’re featuring trombonist Nick Laufer. Nick is all over the place professionally: he plays trombone with Toby Keith, he was a member of the Maniacal Four Trombone Quartet, and he teaches trombone at Vanderbilt University alongside Jeremy Wilson. Nick also serves as COO of Cubides Artist Services, an artist management company owned by his wife, Karen Cubides.

There is a lot to be gained from Nick’s episode. We discussed how his trombone quartet successfully used social media and YouTube to become much more visible as a chamber group, leading to more opportunities to perform. We also discussed how important routine is for personal development and success. Nick told stories of how disciplined his younger self was from seeing the example his dad set for him.

Arguably the greatest message from Nick is this: don’t burn bridges. It’s almost as if his whole episode is an ode to not burning bridges. Not so much in the negative, but in how many opportunities can come your way if people remember you as a great person to work with.

Nick’s teachers at North Texas said to him: “Take a look around. You’re going to be playing with these people for the rest of your career”. And it has turned out to be true for Nick. He’s working with Jeremy Wilson at Vanderbilt. He mentions Maniacal 4 formed simply for class credit, and they went on to enjoy years of performing. And his job with Toby Keith came about through recommendations from musicians from his time in college at North Texas.

I have personally heard stories of musicians being told they were the best player at a particular audition, but they didn’t get the job because their reputation followed them as being difficult to work with. Don’t be that person. It’s just not necessary. You have no idea what opportunities await you in the future, and you certainly have no idea who will be the one to call you.

Contact –

Nick’s website –

Nick’s Instagram –

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