What’s It Like To Play In New York Philharmonic In One Word? Busy. – Ethan Bensdorf | Ep. 68




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This week on the podcast, we have a great episode with Ethan Bensdorf, the second trumpet player with the New York Philharmonic. We spoke at length about his path to one of the world’s greatest orchestras, as well as some of the bumps along the way. Here are some of my takeaways from this episode:

Two Types Of Auditioners

Ethan and I got into a discussion about whether or not playing musically is really what makes the difference for a successful audition. He is a believer that playing with soul and with conviction is a big part of what has brought him success during his career. He mentioned a great quote from Phil Myers, the now retired principal hornist of the New York Philharmonic. The quote amounts to: “There are two types of auditioners — there are players that show up and try NOT to do things, and there are players that show up and try TO do things”. Ethan argues that showing up and trying to make moments will lead to more successful outcomes than simply trying not to mess up.

Don’t Fight Your Nerves

Ethan gave some great advice towards fighting performance anxiety in this interview. He talked about how if he fights his nerves, it makes it significantly worse. Accepting the fact that he is will get nervous, and to try to take one excerpt, lick, or note at a time to help him keep from getting overwhelmed. Statements of affirmation such as “I’ve got this” are simple, but can be effective in helping center yourself and battle the effects nerve can help.

We All Struggle

Ethan won his job with the New York Philharmonic when he was in his early 20’s. For most of us, that’s a time of meaningful growth, but it doesn’t always happen on one of the biggest stages possible. Ethan spoke about how he struggled with feelings of self doubt while playing with the musicians in the New York Philharmonic, and he has had to learn that he belongs there just as much as everyone else. No matter what level you get to, there will be battles to fight and things to overcome in your journey.

I hope you enjoyed this episode with Ethan. If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and a review on iTunes, I would really appreciate it, and don’t forget to share on social media! I hope you have a great week. Remember, stay strong, be kind to yourself, and never stop growing!

Until next time,


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