Music Styles

By William Muñoz

When I started learning the trumpet one of my goals was to eventually be good enough to play salsa music. After all, growing up in Puerto Rico, that is one of the most popular styles of music and I thought it would be awesome to be in a salsa band. My first trumpet teacher played in many salsa bands, some of which he also directed, additionally, he also performed with the Puerto Rico Symphony and Puerto Rico Philharmonic among other ensembles. I remember that after a few lessons he asked: “why do you want to play the trumpet?” to which I replied: “I want to play salsa.”  He then responded: “Well, I am going to teach you how to be a trumpet player, more importantly, I will teach you to be a good musician.”  Although at the moment, since I was just a kid, I didn't fully comprehend his message, today I appreciate how important of an advice that was. Later when I became serious about music I was not only playing Latin music, but also other musical styles like latin jazz, symphonic music and chamber music. He taught me to be a versatile trumpet player and not only a commercial or classical player. The idea is, that regardless of the style of music you want to play you have to be fundamentally good at your instrument.  After all, we must play with good tone, good tuning, and good rhythm regardless of the musical style.

As a teacher, I always encourage my students to play and listen to different styles of music.  Nowadays as performers, we must be as versatile as we can. If in the long run, you decide to focus yourself on a particular style of music that is fine too. However, don’t let a style of music define the type of musician that you are going to be. No matter what music you want to play you must first learn to be proficient in your instrument. This, regardless of what music you want to play, will make your musical journey more pleasant.  


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