Balancing The Pittsburgh Symphony, Houghton Horns, and My Family – Mark Houghton | Ep. 82

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This week on the podcast, we have a really special guest. Mark Houghton is third horn with the Pittsburgh Symphony and co-owner of Houghton Horns in Keller, TX. I’m always excited for the opportunity to sit down with someone I don’t know that well and get to know them. Mark has a wealth of knowledge to share about audition success, doing well on the job, and how to balance a performing job, a family business, and your own family as well.

In addition to that, I’m excited to be able to announce that Houghton Horns will begin sponsoring the podcast! This is a bit of a surreal moment, as sponsorships for the podcast weren’t really on my mind. Mark believes in the podcast and wants to be a part of helping it continue. Hopefully this interview can serve as a way for all of us to get to know our sponsor, and head over to to see what they have to offer!

Here are a few takeaways from his episode:

Get Started Early

Mark attributes the success he’s had in his career to his parents, who encouraged him to begin taking orchestral auditions when he was still in school. They knew it was difficult to win an orchestral audition, and the more opportunities you had to practice the process of preparing and taking an audition, the better.

Small Beginnings

Mark talked about the genesis of Houghton Horns being a repair shop in his dad’s garage. It didn’t start out as a dealer for excellent instruments in the U.S., having a staff, and creating a great deal of educational content for the musical community. This is an encouragement to me as much as anyone: you may or may not have big dreams, but finding a way to start is the only way you’re going to start moving toward your future.

Times Are Tough

COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone. The performing arts have basically halted, and with many musicians’ income disappearing, it’s not a great time to buy an instrument. I’m inspired by Mark attitude though. Their company is trying to move forward and find ways they can serve the musical community in this time the best that they can.

With so many arts organizations seemingly throwing their hands in the air, saying it’ll be too hard or it won’t be worth it to try, we need more people who are willing to fight the good fight and find new, creative ways to serve their communities – in the ways that we can. Not everyone can do everything. But all of us doing what we can will make a big difference.

I hope you enjoyed Mark’s episode! If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and a review on iTunes, I’d really appreciate it. Don’t forget to share on social media so others can find the episode as well. Thanks so much for listening. Stay strong, be kind to yourself, and never stop growing!

Until next time,


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