How Long Should I Practice?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Solar Bell, May 15, 2012.

  1. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
  2. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    Thanks Chuck. This is indeed informative. Worth reading more than once.
  3. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Pretty good. I find myself drifting into the "mindless practice" mode when I do it just to maintain my chops. I do know how to do it right though - a good example is a piece for our upcoming brass band concert. One piece of music is technically demanding for me, mainly because of the key and the convoluted fingerings required at performance speed. I've been specifically working that piece over the last few nights, and almost have it down well enough that I can't get it wrong...;-)
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I am going strong at 45 years of practicing (almost 46). Maybe 15 or 20 days total in those years that were trumpet free.
  5. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA

    here is some "sound" advice -- don't read this article more than 2 hours at a time, and repeatedly reading this article may actually be deleterious to assimilating the contents of the article into your gray matter (brain, and/or neurological functioning part of your anatomy) -- also it might be a good suggestion to take a day off from reading this article to more fully appreciate it's contents. ---- uhm ----wait for it --------------------------------- here it is----------------- ROFL ROFL ROFL ----
    BTW -- I practice as much as I need to, and as much as it is enjoyable to me -- whether that be a half hour, or 2 hours, or even 3+, and I seldom take a day off --- and 3 1/2 into a comeback, and also trying another instrument (trombone) --- I am happy with the results, actually I am impressed with the progress ---
    ROFL ROFL ROFL (one more time to those people who these little guys ROFL 's annoy --- just for fun)
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    The scary thing about reading this is that the mindless practice section describes a large percentage of the physicians that practice at my hospital. It has been reported in the medical literature that 95% of physicians practice on biased experience. I think we musicians of the fine arts have a lot we can offer to the healing arts. Of course all of the physicians here on TM are part of the 5%.:-)
  7. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    About 20% of the time, I'm 50% sure that I'm in the 5%.

  8. chenzo

    chenzo Piano User

    Jul 18, 2008
    Yes,,,,, I had read this article Yesterday. A very good read.

    Must say these types of articles are great they always help me to keep me focusing on what I am trying to achieve.

    It never hurts to read something along these lines before we practice , Its a good reminder and re centers the mind after a day in the slave pit.

    A good way to start a practice session I would say.
  9. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Excellent article but pretty general ... Everyone's different. The article has the POV that you can practice too much. I don't agree with that. According to many accounts, John Coltrane practiced all day every day for most of his career. Some researcher is going to tell John Coltrane that he probably practiced way too much and that, really the human mind can only concentrate for short spurts or one or two hours at a time??? :dontknow:

    Or Oscar Peterson .... He was in the habit of practicing all day long, 8, 10 hour days for years. Worked for him. You don't hear about trumpet players doing these sorts of daily hours, but with a lot of instruments it's totally doable. Spend enough time with any musical instrument and it can become as natural as talking. Excessive practice gives a person a lot of confidence, or at least it does for me. I've been doing 6 hours a day of practice on guitar for the last 5 months (not including my recording) and mistakes, uncertainties and hesitation have completely disappeared from my playing. I'm getting great takes every time I record (unless I'm tired from too much practicing) and my confidence is soaring. 6 hours a day is what I've found I need to keep an edge that works that way. You have to practice a lot if you want to pass that (slightly arbitrary) 10,000 hour mark that supposedly makes you proficient on a musical instrument. BECAUSE I've always practiced excessively, I no doubt passed that mark years ago on guitar.

    Practice is the musician's secret weapon. Can you practice too much??? It's a good question, but I think some of the conclusions in this article are nonsense. "It's probably not even possible for the human mind to practice (in a concentrated way) more than an hour at a time"????? What planet are they from? Again, all this research is no doubt culled from the most average of the averages of average players who are average in their ambitions. And, what is the drawing line between "concentrated" and "wandering" practice, and is it the same for all players and all genres?

    Aside from those few reservations .... I think it's a great article. :lol:

    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    We actually learn from the time that we get up in the morning until the time that we go to bed at night. We learn by casual contact as well as focussed work.

    The major tenor of the article, is that there ARE diminishing returns for most. Once we have reached the mindless state, we actually hurt our progress. This concepts also lines up with my teaching experience.

    The important part to realize is that our playing time should stay in the "focussed" box. Once we aren't paying attention, we reinforce habits that are in the way. On days where we stay focussed longer, we can spend more time.

    So that covers technique. What do we do when our "motor activity" box and "creative" box are biorhythmically out of phase? Isn't making music more than puking patterns that we have crammed down our throats previously? I certainly hope so, and have an answer: IF we learn to find the "focus" box AND we start playing in a very concentrated way, we can alter our musical biorhythmic activity. The sense of success with scale patterns triggers our ability to find melodies, perfection of patterns unlocks room for musical thoughts, superior articulation lets us spend more time with dynamics and microdynamics.

    Every brainless note leads to the next.

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