Second in a series – My music career
(These simple, unedited videos are my way of starting a video archive of the story of ChopSaver Lip Care. My hope is you will find the story behind The World’s Greatest Lip Balm informative, entertaining, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and maybe even inspiring. This second video covers my career as a professional trumpet player all the way to the day I lost my “dream job.” Full transcript below.)
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to Notes from Dan, The ChopSaver Guy. I am Dan Gosling, The ChopSaver Guy, and this is number two – Yay! – The 2nd of,, who knows how long this will go on. Second in a series, we’ll call it of short videos. Talking about ChopSaver, the product, what many consider to be the world’s greatest lip balm and the whole story behind it and things that I’ve learned along the way. And the first video was just a super quick rundown of my biography where I grew up in Elkhart, Indiana. My desire to play the trumpet for a living did eventually pan out quite well. In fact, I moved to Indianapolis after getting my degrees from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University in trumpet performance. Studied with some amazing teachers during those times. But in 1985, it was time to graduate and start playing somewhere.
I’m mainly classically trained. I played a fair amount of jazz in high school and in college, but knew that my bread and butter would be more in the classical realm. Moved to Indianapolis. And again, 1985 and was quite fortunate to start playing with the Indianapolis Symphony as a substitute and extra player. Several years after that, I also managed to get on the substitute list for the Cincinnati Symphony and the Louisville Orchestra. So there was a time there where I was doing a fair amount of traveling in and around Indianapolis. But it was brass quintet, it was church gigs, it was weddings, it was students in my own private studio and I also taught for a time at Ball State University as an adjunct, and also taught at Butler University as an adjunct professor for several years. So it was that kind of crazy combination of things that freelance musicians get into where you’ve got some students, you have several musical organizations that you can rely on that will hire you on a regular basis.
In Indianapolis, there’s actually a recording scene studio recording scene, and that combined with the church gigs and the smaller orchestras, the regional orchestras, I was quite quite busy. Within a year and a half, I was fully employed, self-employed as a musician. I was quite proud of that. So aside from having a university position with a full salary and, or having a full-time job in a major symphony orchestra, this is what many musicians end up doing. And it’s a wonderful way to make a living. It’s a great career. You have a variety, you have you play with different colleagues week to week. You’re not always playing with the same people. You know, those are some of the pros. He cons are, you know, your income can fluctuate. You have to, there’s some seasonality to it.
You’re crazy busy in December. And wondering when the next check is going to come in October and August and September, things like that. But the more you do it, you kind of get used to that rhythm. And it does teach you how to budget and manage your money and things like that. So I was in the sense of managing my own affairs and not having a boss, I’ve always been self-employed. The ChopSaver story. I started golly, again, this was after, you know, a couple of decades of playing the trumpet and playing in great organizations and playing with some amazing players. I’m really fortunate to play, like I said, a lot with the Indianapolis symphony did some recordings with the Cincinnati Symphony, which are still highlights of my career. But the ChopSaver story, it really centered around one conversation that I had with a former student of mine that I’m still dear friends with. His name was Wesley Bullock. But I should probably back up a little bit from that fateful conversation, which I’ll tell more about maybe in the next video. But leading up to that conversation, what happened to me was I was playing, as I had mentioned a lot with Indianapolis Symphony to the point where they offered me a one-year contract to play with the orchestra on a full-time basis to fill a chair for a gentleman who had retired and they had not had an audition yet, which is common in orchestra settings.
So I said, sure, I’ll take that one year salary and the paid vacation and all the other things that come along with it. I did that for a year.
One year, turned into two, two years turned into three. So now I’m a regular member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for now three years running. And prior to this, I had been subbing with them a lot. So I was well-known. I was well liked, I think respected and filling this chair in the orchestra now, not just as an extra but as a full-time member, but with years and years and years of service, prior to that. The way it works in American symphony orchestras is you still have to take an audition to win a job. And I knew that going in, I knew that was part of the deal that I was going to have this job for what turned out to be three seasons and then still have to audition to win the job. Right? And that’s a common thing. There are many men and women who have had similar stories to mine, and sometimes they win the job and sometimes they don’t. And I don’t want to say fortunately or unfortunately, as it turned out, I did not win that job. Now at the time it was devastating because I had again had the job for three years, did my level best to win the job in the audition. But as people who have been through this process or have played in symphony orchestras will tell you winning an audition and playing in an orchestra are two different things. And I was quite good at playing in an orchestra. The skill set of playing in an orchestra and winning a job for an orchestra are quite different. It doesn’t mean they can’t combine. Of course, obviously there are great people who have, great musicians who have won the audition and gone on to wonderful orchestral careers, but the skill set and what’s needed to win an audition, especially for someone like me, who at that time had not, not taken an audition in many, many years to get back into the audition mindset is a challenge.
Gave it my best shot. Did not win the job as it turned out, the young man who did win the job was Tom Hooten. If you don’t know the name, Tom Hooten, and you’re a trumpet player you should, Tom is now the Principal Trumpet of the LA Philharmonic. Los Angeles Philharmonic. Tom’s onw of the great orchestral, one of the great trumpet players in the world. So that’s the dude that beat me. Okay. If I was going to lose that job, I lost it to someone fair and square. You know, a world-class player. Tom eventually went on to become Principal Trumpet of the Atlanta Symphony and then on to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. And he is quite active as you, maybe some of you already realize the musicians, the trumpet players out there, very active on Instagram, Facebook putting out his content, his knowledge in ways that are just astounding to me.
And just shout out to Tom. Tom’s a good friend. He’s also happens to use ChopSaver. Just thought, I’d throw that in there. But I’m devastated. Now. I have to kind of piece together my life as a freelance musician. But the idea of what, geez, I’ve had this for three years at this time I had I was married. I had been married for 15 to that point. My wife, Noelle, I’m still married, still happily married is a violinist, but we also had a young son at the time. So it was tough. So I think I’m going to end this video right here and tell the whole story about how ChopSaver happened a few weeks after that devastating day. Stay tuned for that. Thank you for watching.