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David Hickman: “One of the Main Principles Is to Spend 90% of Your Time on the 10% of the Music That Is Most Difficult”


In this insightful interview, renowned trumpeter David Hickman reflects on his journey into the world of trumpet playing and the evolution of his professional career. Beginning with his humble start on the cornet in sixth grade, Hickman shares formative experiences with influential teachers such as Harry McNees, Frank Baird, and Walter Myers. He delves into his practice routines, emphasizing the importance of focused sessions and strategic breaks, providing a glimpse into the meticulous approach that has defined his virtuosic playing.

Hickman’s professional trajectory unfolds as he recounts his first full-time position as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, a role he secured through audition and interview. He highlights the significance of diverse musical influences, citing Rafael Méndez and the impact of his LP recordings on shaping his artistic sensibilities. Hickman also sheds light on his teaching philosophy, advocating for a comprehensive education that equips students for various trumpet careers.

The interview offers a window into Hickman’s daily practice routine, strategies for staying in peak performance condition while on tour, and his method for tackling new musical pieces. Hickman shares insights into his equipment preferences, stressing the importance of selecting the right mouthpiece for diverse playing scenarios. He offers practical advice for both aspiring students and teachers, emphasizing the value of experimentation, open-mindedness, and the pursuit of individualized playing styles.

Hickman addresses the common challenges of performance anxiety and critiques, providing firsthand accounts of his experiences and strategies for maintaining control on stage. He concludes with valuable advice on audition preparation, drawing from the practices of his mentor, Rafael Méndez, and advocating for a methodical approach that instills confidence and eliminates uncertainty.

Throughout the interview, Hickman’s passion for the trumpet shines through as he shares favorite pieces, influences, and a deep appreciation for various genres of music. His reflections provide a rich tapestry of insights for aspiring musicians, educators, and enthusiasts alike, offering a glimpse into the dedication and artistry that define his illustrious career.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music