Any strategies for practicing with very limited time?

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

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    My children got used to the trumpet while still in the womb. Shortly after my daughter was born she was being fed by nurse and on the radio a trumpet tune was played. According to the nurse my daughter stopped feeding and opened her eyes. After the music stopped she started feeding again. At home, she would sleep right through my practicing (in the same room) because she was used to the trumpet.

    All that aside, a practice mute should allow you more opportunities to practice, and as Dr. Mark has pointed out, playing softly without the mute can be very beneficial.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  2. rufflicks

    rufflicks Pianissimo User

    Dec 9, 2009
    Nor Cal
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Yamaha Silent Brass Mute.
  4. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    Give up trumpet and take up viola. ROFL ROFL ROFL
  5. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    Ask your wife "what" instruments she would approve of and be supported of --- then succumb to the realities of life and COMPLY with her choices ----- you might NOT be happy with them, but she'll think finally she has trained you to be ALL that she wanted you to become in the first place ROFL ROFL ROFL
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Hose trumpet for the car. 10' of 3/8" I.D. flexible pvc tubing. I have limited time available and this is a Godsend!! Long tones, lip slurs, bugle calls, etc..
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    When time is of the essence, time management becomes critical. What you practice does not depend on some theoretical optimization, rather an analysis of what groups you are in, what parts that you play and if you entertain any ambitions of real improvement. The chance of much more than maintenance for short term planning is not very good. With 30 minutes per day, you can perhaps keep a bit of range above the staff, double tonguing at quarter=144 and minor finger flexibility.

    I divide my playing between maintenance and skill building. My maintenance routine is about 30 minutes a day. With this, I could hold down first trumpet in any wind band or 3rd or 4th in an amateur big band - because I have been doing it for over 40 years. Basically the mix in that case is 30 minutes EVERY day and 3 rehearsals with different groups per week.

    Those 30 minutes are breathing exercises (google Circle of Breath), long tones, lipslurs, scales and easy tunes like from a hymn book.

    Now, that is not the playing that I do. I play professionally in several venues and 30 minutes a day does not cut it for that workload. I have 2 hours a day and 4-6 rehearsals/performances per week. Basically with that amount of time, I have an opportunity to build and maintain a higher level of playing. I practice for what is coming up next. During Lent I have more cornetto, Eastertime is more natural trumpet and after that comes summer pops programs with the Bb. My time in the practice room is getting the specific mental patterns/sound concepts and chop habits for the other instruments.
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Chris, I feel your pain - I've been in similar situations to you where I was mostly doing maintenance practice. It sounds like all is not happy on the home front - I'm sorry to hear that, and I hope you find some better kind of resolution. My wife (in our 23rd year) long ago learned that music isn't something I can choose not to do - it's an integral part of my being, and as such, she understands the time it takes.

    In any case, are you trying to improve as a player, or are you looking to maintain and not lose chops or technique? I had gotten my maintenance routine to not much more than 30 minutes a day, and it consisted of some very basic, fundamental work, particularly by combining long tones and articulation - basically, tonguing through a long tone, or up and down some scales.

    In your case, I might look into breaking a routine up into specific days. Example, every time you practice, do a basic warm up incorporating basic air flow, tone production, articulation and flexibilities, but then rotate what you are going to work on and only really work one skill per practice session. The first night work long tones, the second night work articulation, the third night work flexibilities, then rotate. There was a time in my life where I structured my practice this way, although I wasn't limited to time and usually went much longer than 30 minutes.

    In any case, by playing daily, you'll maintain your basic chops, but you'll get more real work in on your basic chops skills than in trying to streamline it an hit everything in one day.

    Of course this isn't ideal - nothing about your situation is ideal, and especially not if you have a spouse who isn't willing to cut you some slack and give you the necessary time. Doing what I've suggested you can maintain chops without losing technique, but that's about all it will be. You just can't improve on only 30 minutes 4-5 times a week.

    Good luck.
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Geez, I suppose some would say that at this time in my life that I've lucked out where I've about 8 hours a day where I'm alone in our house and could practice since our house is at the minimum 50 yards from another. Just don't believe it! Psychologically I'm trapped by illness and disability. Just yesterday, early in the morning while still dark and getting our dog out I fell and again injured my left shoulder rotor cup. This morning with elbows on my desk and a table/desk top music stand I was good to put in the time for my practice ... and actually the pain med relaxed me and I feel as though I did well. Currently while barren the farm fields nearby are quite muddy, but several times last year I was allowed to sit among the crops and practice. Too, I've got access now to two churches, and too it's take and give some solos from time to time in exchange for the privilege. When I'm in the right mood, I'll drive to the back of our cemetery and sit in my car to practice, Soon we'll restart Wednesday evening open community band that is called the Cleffers. Before my wife wakes up, with my old model YSB and in my office at the back of the house I usually get one or more hours of actual "lip time" on one or more of my varied brass instruments. Really, such is an avocation I'm still able to pursue to some extent.
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Keep going Ed, you're an inspiration.

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