Q&A

How do you pronounce your name?

It's pronounced VEE-veck puh-TELL.

 

Where are you from? 

I grew up in Porterville, CA, a mid-size ag town in the San Joaquin Valley. 

When did you start playing the trumpet? 

I started playing in fourth grade...around 1995.

Do you play any other instruments? 

I can play piano, drum set, guitar, euphonium, mellophone, trombone and French horn, but not to performance standard. I use them primarily as tools for composition. The computer is also a powerful musical instrument. I use it to sequence backgrounds for the trumpet.

How do you work on your sound? 

I play long tones with a tuner and aim for the resonant center of each note. I also listen carefully to master musicians who have good tones. This gives me a sonic template to project from.

You use vibrato sometimes. How did you develop it? 

I'm not sure. It just seemed like the natural thing to do and my jaws started moving to accommodate the impulse.

What is it like to be a professional jazz musician? 

I can't say---I haven't made a living as a musician. I funded my music career by working in unrelated industries, including retail, sales, construction, hospitality, education and healthcare. In my view, the term "professional musician" is an anachronism. There are insufficient resources to sustain gainful employment in music at this time. This shouldn't deter you, however. You can accomplish your musical goals without money; all you need is intelligence, willpower, passion, courage, grit, confidence and the capacity to sacrifice everything for the art.

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