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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Nov 26, 2021

Today, you’re in for quite a treat!  I spoke with Tom Hooten, Principal Trumpet of the LA Philharmonic and one of the world’s most prominent classical trumpeters. Be prepared to walk away from this conversation feeling highly motivated and inspired by the energy and wisdom he brought to this conversation!

We covered many great topics, including:

  • Tom’s self-described “unconventional” journey to this point in his career as a professional musician (3:38)
  • How important mindset is to practice and improvement (8:49)
  • Digging into meeting yourself “where your talent ends” (13:00)
  • Teaching as problem-solving and shifting perspectives (17:08)
  • Tom’s process in the practice room, specifically in preparation for a world-premiere piece (19:32)
    • Asked himself: what is the end result? (21:06)
    • Made a list of specific things that needed consistent attention (22:11)
    • Planned out a routine, including the actual times to practice (and how, if you fail to commit to those times, you’ll end up with a “frustration cocktail”) (22:45)
    • Got honest with what he could and could not do to fill out that schedule (24:00)
    • Used the app “Seconds Pro” to create a timed, custom “workout” practice routine (24:14)
    • Continued to tend to his foundational base of skills, in conjunction with the specialty skills required from a specific piece (28:00)

  • What it means to create for yourself, opposed to mimicking others’ interpretations (30:33)
  • Audition tips, including winning auditions through trust, honesty, and dedicated practice (32:35)
  • Some rapid-fire answers, including what Tom’s schedule looks like, the importance of asking good questions, and a (somewhat unexpected!) accountability tool to use during practice (37:11)



I’m excited to tell you that Practicing for Peak Performance is now available for download! Go to for access to all the tools that will help you transform your practice, gain confidence in your process, and start performing at your best. 

With the purchase of PPP, you gain:

  • Access to all recorded content - over 7 hours of instruction
  • Guidance in effective high-performance systems
  • Detailed handouts
  • For a limited time only, a free 30-minute consultation with me.

PPP alumnus Karmen Palusoo has this to say about it:

For a long time I have had this belief that learning an instrument is difficult and hard work or that it has to be, and there is no other way. Only a few weeks after PPP, I am starting to feel that change! My everyday practice sessions are now filled with freedom and ease!”


As we head into this new season, I encourage you to visit for a plethora of resources on mindful practice and information on how to work with me.

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A HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly, who works really hard to make this podcast as pleasant to listen to as possible for you.

Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme.  Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson.