Shorter practice time

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hichez, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

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    The fact is that I have have to focus on college. During high school and throughout the Summer months I had all day to practice. I find myself crunched on time to practice since I not a music major(which I hear they still have a hard time finding quality practice time). Just came here to find out what other people do. I would consider myself a player with a good foundation( player all throughout middle and high school and had 3 1/2 years of private instruction). I also participate in marching band in my college and soon to be part of the basketball pep band. I have also been playing trumpet for around 8 years now. Just looking for suggestions. Thanks.
     
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    A balance of what we play is very important. If you are playing nothing but marching and pep band rehearsals, then spending time on gentle, legato and quiet playing can serve as an antidote. Most band directors cringe at the transition from marching band to symphonic band each year, because they end up with a bunch of people who have let their chamber-music playing skills atrophy.

    Look for a cute freshman music major in your marching band and maybe go out on a couple of dates--it can provide a great incentive to spend more time in the practice room. ;-)
     
  3. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

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    Of course, afterwards you will still need to fine some practice time!
     
  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    The practice room? Really? Cute freshman music major. Practice Room? Really? Has it been that long since you were at college? Well, what ever room is chosen for "practice", I am sure breathing technique will still be a priority!
     
  5. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

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    Funny thing is that I would have to find a music major to even get into the practice rooms. Non-music majors aren't allowed in.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a daily maintenance routine with lipslurs, long tones and easy tunes that is separate from my practice time. Most of the students that have come to me from other teachers have not been practicing smart. There was plenty of room for increasing awareness and making every note count.

    We don't get better by practicing a lot. Getting better needs LEARNING to be at the core and not "face time". Every brainlessly played note sets us back!
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    gmonady, I was a junior before I started that, and had keys to the marching band office and a door that locked. It had no windows. Kinda surprised when the marching band director walked in once....

    But I digress. Rowuk makes an excellent point--quality is better than quantity, which is why I suggested the cute freshman music major.
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Yes I agree and in addition, this was excellent stregic advice as well as the OP just noted above: "...to find a music major to even get into the practice rooms. Non-music majors aren't allowed in,". So finding this cute freshman music major is a win-win recommendation to be sure.
     
  9. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

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    The following comments are not meant to be hard on you; They may not even apply in your specific case. But, as a university professor, I am amazed at how much time students waste. If trumpet is really that important to you, you have to make it a priority and cut out other things. Forget about TV, socializing on electronic media, Youtube etc. Maybe there are other things. Just sit down and analyze how you use your time; there are always options. I also recommend purchasing Don E. Johnson's "A comprehensive practice routine for the aspiring brass player". He writes the book specifically for students with excellent recommendations. For example, the book has a 40 miniute routine for students to practice every morning before going to work when they are off school during the summer.

    BotherBACH
     
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I was going to say something similar to this. While there is a phase in development where spending a lot of time on the horn can really bring about a lot of progress, there comes a time once the foundation is built that you no longer need to spend that kind of time with the horn.

    To piggyback a bit on what Rowuk said, think about what actually comprises the core elements of your trumpet playing. It should be a list similar to this:

    Sound production/breath support
    Articulation
    Flexibility
    Fingers/coordination of the fingers to the chops/articulation

    Your list may differ a bit from mine, but all of trumpet playing is comprised of basic elements put together in combinations that result of the music we make. (granted some people do it better than others....)

    If you narrow it down to the core elements, you can get a lot accomplished in fairly short bursts of time. This is something I came to out of sheer necessity due to the life I live with a full time job, a home, a family that includes two active teenage kids, and in general just having a lot of stuff on my plate with a finite amount of time to accomplish it all. There are times when I have to tighten up certain aspects of my playing and I need to take more time, but mostly I practice for maintenance, and I accomplish this in a time span of 30-75 minutes a day, depending on the day, and depending on how my chops are performing at the time.

    I do VERY basic exercises sometimes, and some of the time I don't crack a method book or even look at music - it's free-form practice where I'm paying very close attention to what's happening with the mechanics of playing the horn. I'm looking for various things:

    1.) how focused are my chops/how easy is the sound being produced/how full and vibrant is the sound?
    2.) How clean, fast and crisp is my atriculation?
    3.) how is my flexibility? Is it coming easy, or am I working hard on it?
    4.) how easy is my upper register coming? (I have a few lines of music from the stuff I gig that I use as a benchmark for this - "Uptight" by Stevie Wonder is one of those tunes, as is "Love Shack" where I need to pick off D's above high C.)
    5.) How tight are my fingers and articulation?

    As I get into my practice, I usually pick one thing per day to focus on through various means. If my focus seems a bit out, I work long tones and articulation. (I find that if my focus is out, it adversely affects a lot of my playing, and doing some work on articulation seems to help me tighten that up.) If it's flexibility, I work that with some arpegios and other flexibility drills. I generally don't work on range - if the range isn't happening, that's usually a symptom of other things being out of whack. For coordination between fingers and articulation, I go back to basic scale patterns.

    It just seems to me that by working core fundamentals it gives me better general control over the horn, and the better that is, the easier it is to transfer musical thought and expression into reality with the horn.

    Keep in mind, I will never tell you I'm a great trumpet player - in the grand scheme of things I tend to regard myself as a hack, but I'm good enough to gig around the area in various genres, which is probably why I don't incorporate a lot of music practice into my maintenance practice - I play music when I gig, and I gig on average 3 weekends a month.

    Anyway, that boils down my approach. You'd be amazed how much you can accomplish when you really stop to think about what you are practicing and why you are practicing it/what core fundamental you are targeting. Again, I'm not saying that this should completely replace solid work out of methods or to totally ignore working music, but when you are limited on time, it can get you by.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011

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