Practice - Less is More?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by neal085, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Neal, over the years I've had to, out of necessity due to living a busy life, develop a "practice smarter, not harder" approach to my practice. This means that I don't always practice every day, although before a gig I always make sure to have at least 4 days in a row, with a light day the day before the gig. I try to listen to what my body and chops are telling me, and focus on what needs to be worked, rather than adhering to a specific routine. I don't know if that necessarily means that less is more, but I know that at my age, I don't recover like I used to, so pounding it out daily isn't always the best approach because sometimes we need the break, both physically and mentally, and especially if playing trumpet is a part-time endeavor.

    If I was a pro and depended upon it for a living it might be different, but I'm not, so I do what I can with the idea of being the best I can be for the next upcoming gig, and leave it at that.

    Speaking of gigs, I've gotten thrown some real curveballs in the past. There were times when I had what I felt was an important gig coming up, and on the surface, I did everything right to prep - I practiced consistently, got good sleep and exercise, ate the right foods, made sure I was hydrated, and then had an awful gig. And then there were times (years ago - I don't do this anymore) where I'd get busy and I'd roll into the gig without having touched the horn in days, tired from not getting good sleep, not eating good etc - virtually nothing done "correctly" to prep. And then I'd blow the walls down. It just didn't seem to make sense. These days I shoot for a general level of consistency, but I'm not adverse to taking a day (or two, or three at times) off. Then again, I'm no Manny Laureano or Arturo Sandoval, so there's that.
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The Six Enneads by Plotinus might be a good start.
  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Just trying to pronounce all those guys names makes my head hurt! ;-)
  4. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

    Dec 19, 2009
    Hillsborough, NJ
    There's nothing that single handedly makes me feel smarter than watching a few episodes of the Three Stooges.
    Makes me feel brilliant.
    Or, watching a teenager trying to make change.
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    My personal thoughts is that a thoughtful practice is ALWAYS important, as practicing just for putting in the time, is wasteful and inefficient. With that said, I NEVER miss a day of practice. I cannot afford to, as one day off takes me a week to get my baseline endurance back, and with the performance demands and the quality of performance I demand out of myself, I cannot afford to miss a single day. But even on an everyday schedule, I can work in the time where that daily practice session counts and gives me full return on my time investment. For that additional reason, I have no set time of the day when I need to practice, I just set down when I have the time.
  6. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

    Dec 19, 2009
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Where do I even begin to edit this most recent post? Oy!
    No problem, boss. Job security.......I will never lack for work..
    It's the sentiment, anyway, there's some good stuff here if you can get around the errors!
  7. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    thanks for supporting my signature...

    Honestly, it equates with any type of physical training. I'm also a powerlifter. I have to be careful about my recovery because I've got a tendency to run my body into the ground. That worked just fine when i was in high school and college and a heavy training session wore on me for maybe a day. As i've gotten older, I might not feel the effects for 12-18 hours after a really strenuous session. As we age, we also get smarter about listening to what our bodies are telling us. Slow and steady wins the race.
  8. SAS

    SAS Pianissimo User

    Jan 7, 2015
    It's amazing how much better I could play when I take a day or two off from a stretch of everyday practice. My chops need time to heal and they can't when you're playing every day. I also started doing long tones on warm up and long soft tones chromatically from no particular note, downward, breathing through my nose and continuing until my chops and face absolutely burn. This was an instructor motivated exercise that helped with endurance. But, for me, playing the trumpet is about relaxation, learning, fun, and satisfying some musical void inside my I play whatever I want, whenever I want without caring or pressuring myself on any particular exercises or requirements. Some days I'll hit the books and do nothing but scales and etudes, and exercises. Other days I just play music off my sheets. And sometimes I just play while lounging on the couch to see what kind of sounds or melodies I can make.
  9. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I thought PLOTINUS was an acronym

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