I Was Standing In Barnes and Noble When I Realized I Love Music – Brian Santero | Ep. 90




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This week on the podcast, we’re featuring a great episode with a longtime friend of mine, Brian Santero. Brian recently won a position as second/solo trombone with the Copenhagen Phil. Prior to winning that position, he served as the principal trombonist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

Brian and I went to Tanglewood together in 2012 and it was great to reconnect after all this time. He has a wealth of knowledge to share about auditions, how to find your own voice on your instrument, and what his path to his orchestral positions looked like. Here are a few takeaways from his episode:

It Might As Well Be Fun

Brian talked about his experience auditioning for the Copenhagen Phil during the summer. Traveling abroad in the middle of a pandemic presented him with some unique challenges to try to overcome, and he described his experience as quite an adventure. I really appreciated Brian’s perspective, and I’m sure it partly led to the success he ended up having in Copenhagen.

Dropping Out

I was surprised to learn that Brian actually dropped out of school for a year during his undergraduate work. I had no idea he struggled during school, and that working at Barnes and Noble stocking Luciano Pavarotti cd’s would end up leading him to remember he loves music and reignite his drive to continue his education and pursue a life in music.

Find Your Voice

Brian and I spoke at length about how to develop more of your unique voice in your own playing. After one unsuccessful audition in Germany, he received feedback that surprised him: they thought he played great, but his dynamic range was non-existent. He planned on dialing back the volume for these auditions, but he realized he was sacrificing his voice in the process. Recommitting to presenting his playing the way he prepared was a major contributor to the success he had in his Copenhagen audition.

I hope you enjoyed listening to this episode with Brian Santero! If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and a review on iTunes, I would really appreciate it. Don’t forget to share the episode on social media so others can find it and enjoy it as well. Thanks so much for listening – stay strong, be kind to yourself, and never stop growing.

Until next time,


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