Any strategies for practicing with very limited time?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Chrisb, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Chrisb

    Chrisb Pianissimo User

    Feb 24, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi all,
    So here is my quandary. I work full time, have 3 kids (the youngest of whom is 18 months), and to call my wife unsupportive would be generous. It is very difficult to find time to practice. I even built a room in my basement thinking that I could practice there after the little ones were asleep, but my wife promptly gave that room to our oldest son to be his bedroom. Now don't get me wrong, I love my family dearly and would not trade them for anything. I'm not trying to complain, simply to explain the situation.
    As it is, I generally manage to practice 4 days a week, for about 30 minutes each time, but it is rarely quality practice, as my 18 month old is almost always with me trying to get my attention. I do have my band practice which is on top of the home practice. I often will take a mouthpiece with me if I have to drive anywhere alone and buzz (sometimes even on my daily 10 min drive to work).

    I'm certain some of you deal with similar difficulties, or at least serious time constraints. What ideas have you come up with to squeeze in extra time, or to make better use of the limited time you do have?

  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
  3. Newell Post

    Newell Post Piano User

    Mar 31, 2014
    Silicon Valley
    ... so you work full time. Do you commute to work in a car? I do embouchure exercises while driving in the car commuting to work. The "pencil" exercise is one that helps. The mouthpiece connected to 10 feet of 1/2" plastic tubing used to play show tunes while driving or stopped at street lights it the other. Neither helps with musical playing, but they actually do help with range and endurance when I can't do a full, normal practice every day.
  4. Robbrand

    Robbrand Piano User

    Dec 29, 2014
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Hi - I have a lot of sympathy for your problem as I also struggle to fit in a practice every day, what with work, kids and traveling a lot. I got myself a practice mute (A Brenner shhhmute), which helps a lot if you can only find time late at night (though with the back pressure, it's not an ideal solution and I try to fit in as many non-muted sessions as possible).
  5. Chrisb

    Chrisb Pianissimo User

    Feb 24, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks Vulgano Brother, I am not familiar with either of these. I will check them out.

    Thanks Newell Post, I do buzz in the car sometimes, but had not seen the trick of adding the tubing. I will have to read more on this one too.
  6. sj3209

    sj3209 Piano User

    Nov 22, 2006
    Amador County, Calif.
    Leave early for work and stop along the way: 20 minutes
    Two coffee breaks at work: 30 minutes
    Lunch break at work: 30 minutes

    Total: One hour and twenty minutes

    Weekends are for extended practice.
  7. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

    Feb 1, 2015
    I bought my kids there own trumpet a$100 mendini so they can "play" along with me. My youngest is two and she has been tooting her own horn for about a year now and I'm not worried about that horn getting trashed. I also keep my practice horn out so I can get whatever practice I can whenever I can. Just hang in there also bath time can also double as practice time. Five minutes is better than no minutes. And now that they know I will be practicing they kinda give me the time I need
  8. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Where there's a will, there is always a way.
  9. Chrisb

    Chrisb Pianissimo User

    Feb 24, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    I wondered if a practice mute would bring the sound down enough for a sleeping baby. I may have to look into that - thanks.

    Sadly this isn't an option because of school buses and a generally working lunch. Good idea though.

    I bought the little ones recorders, which do help a little. I never thought of their own trumpet - good idea.

    I agree completely, that is why I asked how others dealt with the same issue, to see if I could use some of the ideas.
  10. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Chris,
    Soft playing should not be that much of a problem. Generally, I should be able to converse with someone while standing next to you as you play. If you want to do power playing, there's always the outdoors. Also, just the mute part of the silent brass, a cheap MP3 that you can load play alongs with and headphones can give a person a lot of pleasure. You don't need a hook-up for the horn & silent brass because it will be loud enough for you to hear the horn while under the phones. Good luck and just for the heck of it, start your kids on trumpet and when she complains, plead poverty and tell her that instruments are expensive and the trumpet is available and the only one you know how to teach.

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