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Professionals- How much did you practice?


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jjtrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:15 am    Post subject: Professionals- How much did you practice? Reply with quote

I'd like to start a discussion with those if you who make a living playing the trumpet.

During your schooling/before full time performing, what kind of practice regiment were you doing?

Were you practicing day in and day out? Did you keep it to a very efficient 2 or 3 hours? Were you straight playing during your sessions, or were they broken up into little chunks with many short breaks? Was every day the same, or did you hit certain things on different days?

It's always interesting to hear different perspectives, and obviously, there is no single answer to this question.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every day with very few misses. 4-8 hours per day for a period of about 10 years. These days it is more like 3-5 due to teaching, gigs, family.

Generally 1.5-2 hours per practice session. Within each session I rest as much as I play. During the rests I work on my singing or practice piano (or read TH).
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trumpethead
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On non-gig days, I typically practiced from start of the day, until late at night, with the appropriate rests in-between.

I was ALWAYS 'silent practicing' - hearing music in my head and moving my fingers accordingly.

Rarely did I have a day off playing.

These days, it's more about keeping my chops working, as family commitments and 'life' takes over.

I still practice (noodling) whilst sitting at the computer all the time and there's rarely a time when music isn't going through my mind.

I've been a Pro player about 37 yrs.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started seriously practicing around age 15 and by age 20 I was practicing about 6 hours a day. In addition, by age 22 I was usually playing in one if not two of the Los Angeles Jazz Workshop (LAJW) big bands so I was also playing heavy 2 to 3 hour big band rehearsals 2 to 4 nights of the week and taking any and all subbing and studio calls that came my way. When I got my first full time job as a trumpet player, and then as trumpet player / musical director of a circus, I was playing up to three shows a day, sometimes seven days a week. I think as much as anything, playing all those shows for three years made the trumpet almost an extension of the rest of me.

Concerning brass playing, unless you have some sort of disability, I really think that when it comes to "talent" (assuming you aren't deaf and you have the ability to hear if something is in or out of tune), I think it just comes down to a lot of hard work, done correctly and done long enough for the desired ability to develop. If you have the willingness to practice and stick with it long enough, you have all the talent you need.

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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jjtrumpet
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Should I infer (please correct me if I'm wrong) that all of you paced your X amount of hours in the practice room so that you felt pretty fresh at the end of each? I can't imagine "beating my face" for 2 hours 3 times a day, although if that's something I should be doing (let's say, a healthy beating), please correct me!

For instance, I could pack long tones, lip slurs, single, double, triple tonguing, transposition, and Clarke all into an hour and 15 minutes, OR I could do all that over the course of a good two hours. Would you suggest the two hour route over the more compact route?

Thoughts?
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Nonsense Eliminator
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a very interesting book by Louis Davidson called "Trumpet Profiles." He sent questionnaires to many prominent players of the time, in various genres -- Dizzy, Maynard, Herseth, Vacchiano, André, Dokshitzer, and plenty of others.

A couple of things stand out. First of all, in general, the jazz players practiced more -- often a lot more. I don't know why this is, but most of the classical players said something like 3 hours a day, and most of them practiced in short chunks, about 20-30 minutes a session. That's where I was as a student -- 2.5 to 3.5 hours a day, usually in half-hour sessions.
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Lawler Bb
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jjtrumpet wrote:
Should I infer (please correct me if I'm wrong) that all of you paced your X amount of hours in the practice room so that you felt pretty fresh at the end of each? I can't imagine "beating my face" for 2 hours 3 times a day, although if that's something I should be doing (let's say, a healthy beating), please correct me!

For instance, I could pack long tones, lip slurs, single, double, triple tonguing, transposition, and Clarke all into an hour and 15 minutes, OR I could do all that over the course of a good two hours. Would you suggest the two hour route over the more compact route?

Thoughts?


Two hours with a couple of breaks is the better option, IMO. When I was in school the normal practice day was 3-6 hours. Add rehearsals, concerts, and gigs and it got pretty crazy. I over practiced one semester of grad school (not enough recovery time/breaks) and I learned the hard way to take more breaks and "listen" to my body/chops. If you need to take a break (or a day off), do it.

My typical day in school was a good warmup, then a break. Fundamentals, then a break. More fundamentals or solo literature or excerpts, then a break. Rinse and repeat. Rehearsals in between. Practice sessions were 30 to 90 minutes. Breaks were 15 minutes to several hours.

Now, I still get a minimum of two hours a day in, more if I can.
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jjtrumpet
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trumpethead wrote:


I was ALWAYS 'silent practicing' - hearing music in my head and moving my fingers accordingly.


Learned all my scales this way when I was in high school.

I still do it 24/7; drives the girlfriend nuts.

On the bright side, my finger technique is one of my strengths!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jjtrumpet wrote:
Should I infer (please correct me if I'm wrong) that all of you paced your X amount of hours in the practice room so that you felt pretty fresh at the end of each? I can't imagine "beating my face" for 2 hours 3 times a day, although if that's something I should be doing (let's say, a healthy beating), please correct me!

For instance, I could pack long tones, lip slurs, single, double, triple tonguing, transposition, and Clarke all into an hour and 15 minutes, OR I could do all that over the course of a good two hours. Would you suggest the two hour route over the more compact route?

Thoughts?


Within each practice session you should rest as much as you play. If I'm practicing for 2 hours at a sitting, the horn is on my face for an hour of that. Ideally. Sometimes I get impatient and play more than half the time, but I often regret that. In the rests I either sing the next thing I am going to play or (if I play a longer passage and need a longer break) I'll woodshed my piano skills.
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andybharms
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There is a very interesting book by Louis Davidson called "Trumpet Profiles." He sent questionnaires to many prominent players of the time, in various genres -- Dizzy, Maynard, Herseth, Vacchiano, André, Dokshitzer, and plenty of others.


Rich, that's very interesting. Will take a look at that.

I've heard a lot of very interesting answers to this, and done a lot of reading and writing about discipline development. The gist is: the younger you start learning to read music and learning the trumpet, the less you have to do in your 20's. You don't have to start when you're 3, but if you're not pretty serious and taking lessons by high school, the odds are against you in what is already a pretty brutal card game. I started a little late and I think I pay for it in my fundamentals session and score study-- it just takes me more time to find my feet in the morning, and I have to do very structured listening and score study to get what I need musically. Plus, I grew up in an area without the same access to great musicians. But the flip side is that I have learned to be methodical and can learn anything with time and attention.

Equally as important in developing a pro is getting a teacher who is making a living playing the trumpet *in a way you want to emulate.* Your local band director, while probably a great person and maybe even a good player, isn't out there battling Mahler every day. That's really important. I like this quotation printed in the back of Chris Gekker's "Slow Practice" book: "We must remember that one person is much the same as another, and that they are the best who are trained in the severest school." Thucydides. You can practice 8 hours a day but you're spinning wheels if you don't have someone showing you what you need to know and pushing/pulling you to do better faster. Olympians can't get there on their own, and neither can we.

The best players are practicing every time they pick up their horn, be that while teaching, in ensemble rehearsal, etc, on top of the maintenance and explorative sessions.

I have found that many/most of my students who stand to gain the most from practice are unfortunately too 'overbooked' to have time to do it, and of course it is also a matter of priorities. So we spend time in lessons practicing, and practicing how to practice, my hope being that they will see the development and inspire themselves to go home and try it there.
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Don Herman rev2
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not a pro though played professionally for a bit when I was (much) younger. Through the end of HS and some college I would often play 6-8 hours a day, sometimes as little as 3, sometimes a bit more.

One thing I found then, and that of course I don't have now, is that playing that much you must learn how to pace yourself, learn how to keep from destroying your chops, learn how to play the high C/G/whatever on the last piece of a two-hour gig at the end of the day, and so forth. My endurance is not what it was and much of it is because the control, technique, and tricks needed to play so much drift away if you don't play that much at least some of the time. I have to put in "excess" time now before a big blow (maybe 3-4 times a year) to relearn the techniques for playing long and well without trying to muscle the notes out. What is easy to "force" through for an hour in practice or performance as a part-timer will not work for two let alone a four hour gig or morning service followed by an afternoon matinee and evening performance.

It takes practice time to be able to do the play time.

FWIWFM - Don
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trickg
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if I qualify or not - I was an Army Bandsman back at a time when being a good HS player could get you in, but you needed to do a bit of additional work to excel. I'd like to think I did excel during my first few years.

Back when my chops and technique was at its peak - and by that I'm talking about my accuracy and consistency, which pretty good - I was spending around 6 hours a day on the horn, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less, and I rarely took a day off.

In retrospect I wonder just how much better I could have gotten if I had taken lessons all through that time and really dug in hard on the technical aspect of my playing, as well as my ability to sight read. I was a solid player though - I certainly wasn't dead weight in that band, and we did have a few players who kind of were - and I guess it was just one of those things where I was already doing the gig and doing it well, so I never thought much about trying to rise above that.

Hindsight is 20/20 though, life happened, and it is what it is.
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JoseLindE4
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Classical player here.

In school it was all day. Usually 9 am to 10 or 11 pm with breaks for classes that were worth going to, eating, naps, homework, and goofing off outside the practice rooms.

I couldn't do more than about 4 hours of face time (not including rehearsals) for more than a could of days without trouble. A little under four hours of horn on the face in the practice room worked well, but things fell apart at around 4 hours and 1 minute.

Practice was pretty consistent - same fundamentals each day that would change slowly over time, my etudes for the week, solos, and band music.
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Mike Sailors
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least 4 hours a day when I was in college, outside of ensembles and other playing commitments. Nowadays I try to get 2 hours in per day.
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lakejw
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Professionals- How much did you practice? Reply with quote

jjtrumpet wrote:
During your schooling/before full time performing, what kind of practice regiment were you doing?


When I got to college it took me a couple years to figure out that I wasn't practicing nearly enough, then as time went on I developed a very detailed routine that lasted between 1 and 4-5 hours. I would often skip days, however.

Quote:
Were you practicing day in and day out? Did you keep it to a very efficient 2 or 3 hours? Were you straight playing during your sessions, or were they broken up into little chunks with many short breaks? Was every day the same, or did you hit certain things on different days?


Looking back, the most productive days I had consisted of multiple (4-5) short (30-45min) sessions spaced throughout the day. These days were rare because I always had a job in addition to school. I had many days where I only got through my warm-up routine (~1 hour), and a great many missed days. 90% of my practice was planned ahead in a journal. I usually would not practice on gig days (mistake).

If I could give my old self a lesson, the first priority would be to at least do a solid warm-up/maintenance every single day. I would have gotten a lot better a lot faster.
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agolden
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In college it was anywhere from 5-9 hours a day. I wasn't very smart or efficient in the practice room. Nowadays it's usually around 2-3 hours.
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LaTrompeta
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall hearing that Bud Herseth had a 45/3 rule: 45 minute sessions, 3 times a day.
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Sarah
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does it count for a non trumpet instrument?

My first instrument (piano), which I also did at university.
Thirty minutes a day for two years, then an hour a day for two years, then two hours a day for two years. Then four hours a day for two years. By then I was entering uni. In uni I did eight hours a day on the violin, with the hope of getting into a decent orchestra. At the end of uni I had a serious accident, which ended all dreams of being a performer. Although strangely, I took up recorder, (that was an accident of nature.. And never intended), and managed to get myself to a level where I was able to do performing, and was encouraged to, but with three young children it is the wrong season in my life.

Hence I am enjoying my little current venture into brass, in the comfort of my own home. I know the salvos band locally would be keen for me to join. Which both me and the boys would enjoy. But again the time commitments don't suit a mother. Once my kids have grown, I can think about my life and it's direction.

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trumpet.sanity
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a teacher tell me to play as much as I can, as not to do damage, or lose enjoyment. Play with as many people as you can. Ensembles, small groups, duets, accompanied playing. Try and learn something from everybody and yourself every time you play.

In school some days I played 2-3 hours, sometimes maybe 8 hours including ensembles. And some days, no trumpet. Smoking pot drinking beer and chasing girls was an important part of my formative years.

But even when I took a day off, I was always listening, ear training, maybe shedding piano or transcribing.

If you really enjoying what you are doing, and truly love trumpet, the hours pass quickly and you're always looking for more hours in the day to play.
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Sycil
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thread. Def helps having some sort of play:rest ratio. 1min:1min at least if not more.
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