How Much Practice Time?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by connmaster, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. connmaster

    connmaster New Friend

    Mar 14, 2010
    I'm trying to prepare for a solo at church. I play everyday at least 45min, but I'm still thinking I need more.

    My instructor told me to rest when my chops feel tired. I do rest when I start blowing "just air".

    Sound right?

    Oh yea, I forgot to mention, I've been playing for about 4 weeks after a 27 year hiatus.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  2. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    I agree that you should rest when you get tired. Break up practice time into smaller pieces during the day if you can. Twenty minutes 3 - 5 times a day gives you more practice time without beating up your lip.

    In my opinion playing a solo in church (assuming it's for an Easter mass) only a few weeks after a 27 year layoff was a bit ambitious. I would have recommended a few months to get back into shape.
  3. connmaster

    connmaster New Friend

    Mar 14, 2010

    Not actually for Easter, just whenever I can get it ready.

    I guess I need to pack the horn in my car and practice between sales calls. Shouldn't be a problem.

    Thanks for the response.:D
  4. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Richland, MO
    I break up my practice time into segments throughout the day. Normally, the first session is a looong warmup, a lot of Tongue Level exercises and maybe finger flexibility or something relatively boring and painful. I'll quit for a few hours. Then, later I'll do some Clarke flexibilities and more tongue level stuff, then quit, then I will usually do some key work (improv) with or without music.
    Normally I'll pick a couple tunes I don't have memorized or aren't as solid as I'd like (I was playing Crisis, and Stella By Starlight yesterday) and work through the changes over and over in my head without music.

    Anyway, bottom line, break up your practice throughout the day. I used to play marathon practice sessions and my chops suffered greatly from it.
  5. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Hi connmaster. Welcome to TM. I'm a comeback player as well, and I continue to struggle with practicing too much. My mind remembers my former abilities, but my chops just aren't there yet.

    I may have misunderstood your description, but I think I'd take a break *before* I started "blowing air". After only 4 weeks, 45 minutes may be too much playing. But that's something you'll have to figure out for yourself.

    I break up my practices into 10-15 minute segments, and rest at least that long in between. I try to always keep my lips feeling fresh (similar to the comments in Clarke's 1st Technical Study). Another way to view it is to think of yourself as someone on a diet. You should always leave some food on your plate, and you should always leave the table hungry. In other words, after practicing, you should always feel like you could play more.

  6. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

    May 28, 2009
    Tewksbury, NJ, USA
    I've been playing for 10 months now (after a longer layoff than yours) and I am just now getting up to an hour for a practice session, although I usually limit it to 30 to 45 minutes. By keeping the sessions short I can generally handle about 4 hours a day on weekends.

    You have been playing 1 month and when I had been playing a month I couldn't get good practice time in after 30 minutes. By cutting the sessions down to about 20 minutes I managed to get a decent hour in each day.
  7. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    If you are playing to the point of just "blowing air" you are overdoing it. Routinely working any part of the body to exhaustion is never a good thing. If you were a runner you would be running until you collapsed from leg fatigue every day. That would lead to weaker legs, not stronger--same thing goes with you embouchure. You've already been given several suggestions about more shorter practice sessions a day, you should take them. Play in the low register, warm up with intentionality, maybe 15 minutes of work below second line "g". Next session you can warm up briefly then think about doing stuff that goes up to the "g" above the staff. A couple of more 15 minute practices a day and you've got an hour of productive practice. If your lip starts to feel fatigued go back to low and soft--do a warm down--but don't play to exhaustion. I would guess you should start seeing improvement very quickly.

    I would also not rush your "recovery". I never took years off; but for 10 or so years I just dinked around without a practice schedule and playing once in a while. When I got serious it took me 6 months to really begin feeling comfortable with my level of performance. So, pick your church piece accordingly--you might want to avoid Phil Driscoll charts for a while.
  8. seilogramp

    seilogramp Piano User

    Nov 23, 2009
    Georgia, USA
    Very good point, and one that often does not get mentioned. Practicing more does not always lead to better endurance. You have to be smart about it, like an athlete would be smart about when to push it and when to back off.
  9. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Richland, MO
    This is an apt comparison. If you want to see what happens when you make this a practice habit, check out my thread a few months back "Broken Embouchure". Be careful! If in doubt, TAKE A BREAK! :)
  10. a marching trumpet

    a marching trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Murfreesboro, TN
    What I do is where I play for generally about 30-45 min and when I feel a bit of fatigue I let off of the practice gas pedal and slow it down for another 5 min, then I'll warm down, and an hour later I'm back at it again :play:

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