James Newcomb – Musician | Podcaster

Ep. 17 The Moral Imperative for Trumpeters to Charge a Fee for Playing Taps

The mindless obedience to our overlords to praise the military and “the nation” on July 4 has irritated me for quite some time. That mindset is exactly what the signers of the Declaration of Independence were declaring their independence from, when you get right down to it.

So on July 4, 2018, while on tour with a drum and bugle corps, I pounded out a long and – in my humble opinion – quite good article that is kind of on this topic, but it’s specifically addressed to my own kind.

I’ve often scratched my head at the controversy that is created when trumpet players discuss the topic of charging a fee for playing Taps at a military funeral. I did it while a member of the military hundreds of times,  and it was just part of my job description. It seemed perfectly natural to accept my salary in exchange for doing my job.

I’ve also volunteered my time as a bugler at a national cemetery in the Seattle area, so I’ve been on both sides of the coin.

My experience is that when a high quality trumpeter plays Taps, and this person is motivated by the incentive of a fee in order to put food on the table, it results in a far superior product and experience for all involved. It is far better than relying on someone who is doing it out of the goodness of their heart but their skills are…admirable (cough cough).

Give it a listen, leave a comment below, and more importantly, quit selling yourself short out of a misplaced sense of duty to your country.

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