LISTEN ON –
This week on the podcast, we have a great episode with Ben Wright. Ben is the second trumpet with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I first met him at Tanglewood in 2010 and then spent more time with him in 2012. He was able to open my eyes in ways that no one else has about what it takes to be successful playing in a trumpet section.
It’s very clear Ben wears a lot of hats and keeps very busy, so I’m thankful to have gotten some time to sit down and have a great conversation with him. Here are a few takeaways from his episode:
The most practical advice for being successful as part of an orchestral ensemble (in Ben’s case, second trumpet) is to be flexible. There are so many applications of this, it’s hard to distill the importance into a short sound bite.
As a second trumpet player, Ben has to be flexible and sensitive to the sounds the principal trumpet is making, and the direction in which they are taking the music. Being flexible enough to adapt your sound concept to another players’ concept, which might require changing your equipment, is just one way in which flexibility comes into play. Others are intonation, rhythm, balance, interpersonal communication, and personal struggles.
Ben talks a lot about being balanced in our interview. From his time with his family to recently starting a practice with Alexander Technique, having things that fill his life outside of the trumpet is essential for his success as a trumpet player. He has more patience, more creativity, and more joy to draw from when approaching the demands of his job.
This point I felt Ben was making specifically for me. The story he referenced in the interview was this: I had contacted Ben a few days prior to seeing him about doing a podcast interview. I hadn’t spoken to Ben since my Tanglewood days in 2012, so it had been awhile. Because I made that initial contact with him, I must have felt that I broke the ice. A few days later, after a concert the BSO did, I saw Ben backstage and said, “So where are we doing this interview!?!”. Ben paused for a moment, and replied, “Hi Ryan, it’s nice to see you for the first time in 7 years.”
I was horrified. I was so caught up in moving forward, I couldn’t even be a decent human being to my friend and say “Hi”. He didn’t take it personally, but he did think to bring it up in our interview together. He told me I needed Alexander Technique. Whether it was exactly that practice, or some other way to be mindful, Ben was absolutely right. It just took a long time for it to sink in.
If there is anything I’ve struggled with, it’s slowing down. Seeing the beauty of life that is right in front of me. Working to move my career forward because I’m capable, not because I’m unhappy with my current environment. This is especially pertinent now, as all of us are forced to slow down and wait to see what happens with this pandemic looming over our heads.
Ben’s website – http://www.benwrighttrumpet.com
Ben’s email – firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoyed the episode. Consider leaving a rating and a review on iTunes, and be sure to share on social media. Thanks!
Until next time,