When you only have 30 minutes to practice..what are your go to exercises?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by coolerdave, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    30 minutes leaves no time for woodshedding - not my approach. If all you have is 30 minutes per day, I would question how serious you are with the trumpet. Serious starts with at least an hour and then a guilty conscience when the hour is up!

    30 minutes is not even enough to maintain high quality playing over time.
  2. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I always have limited time to practise. I start with some Clark to warm up. Then Arban, pick something from the second half of the book. There's plenty there. If there is time left, work on learning new music or music you need to perform.

    If you're like me, catch up on the weekend with a lot of sessions each lasting about 1/2 hour.
  3. tpsiebs

    tpsiebs Piano User

    Feb 6, 2010
    Randolph, New Jersey

    Let's just focus on the Caruso comment for a moment. I took some lessons with Carmine in the 70's and have gone back to Laurie Frink for periodic tune ups. The objective with six-notes, intervals or any of that type of exercise is to keep the chops set on the mouthpiece so as to not reset to go from note to note. This is commonly mis-understood as "freeze everything" and lock the muscles into some sort of isometric which is not necessarily the intent. I think the comment about lips tight or stiffness is generally when the drills are performed incorrectly. Lip buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing are important elements prior to actually playing the instrument as well. Pitch bending is important.

    Look into Flexus co-written by Laurie.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    30 minutes - I came on talking at one point about having streamlined my practice to maintain my chops, but even that took 40 minutes or so. But, looking at it with how the question was asked, if I had just 30 minutes, I'd do the following.

    Warm up by doing scales, major and minor in a circle of 5ths, ascending and descending. On this, if the chops are stiff, I play up and down the first C scale a few times before moving to the F.

    Short break

    Next move to articulations - basic stuff, moving up and down a chromatic scale from low F# to top of staff G, multiple articulations per note. Focus first on single tonguing, then on multiple tonguing. Really focus on what's going on with air usage and chops focus, and focus on keeping the articulations crisp, light and clean.

    Short break.

    Staying on articulations, single tongue up and down through scales and chromatic scales - focus on synchronization between the fingers and the tonguing. At this point you can push your range a bit because your chops will be warmed up and you can push it to the limits of your upper range.

    Short break.

    Flexibilities. Keep it simple - do basic single partial slurs at first, do them in the staff, and be aware of chops focus. Move to arpeggios, working up and down chromatically.

    That's it - you can cram that into 30 minutes if you manage the time well. Notice that I don't have anything from a method book there. This is really just a warm-up routine with the thrust of getting yourself in tune with what's going on between the you and the horn, and covering the basic mechanics of trumpet playing - sound production, articulation and flexibilities. It doesn't cover phrasing and it doesn't cover musicianship - what do you expect for just 30 minutes? :-)

    You won't get any better doing that, but it will help to keep your chops maintained.

    That's a great quote Robin, and it is 100% right. 30 minutes may get it done here and there for maintenance, but eventually if you've built your chops up to a decent level, they'll start to degrade unless some more focused practice time is spent.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    "Pops" McLaughlin has a 30 minute a day program ( but usually takes me 45 ;-) though). It is good and thorough. WARNING!! If you aren't in shape, it will kick your butt!
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  6. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    @rowak... agreed it is not an everyday routine "on the road to trumpet excellence in just 30 minutes a day" ... it is for the days when life just isn't cooperating ...
    trickg got it .. a maintenance routine..
    here's a little insight ... I work nights .. sometimes 14 hours ...with over an hour of commute each way ... there are days where I just get time to sleep and get ready to get back to work ... so I squeeze in some chop time in my car on lunch or breaks... so unless someone has figured out a way to literally add more hours in a day ....
    and it is frustrating... but I am determined to be able to play again.
    There is a reason so many of you are working musicians.... and your commitment to practice is a big part of it ..besides loving this damn instrument we have chosen.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    1 hour commute? 8 foot piece of silicone tubing with a garden funnel on one end/mouthpiece on the other and you have a servicable "natural" trumpet in C. A couple of CDs with the real baroque trumpet literature and off you go! The length of the hose means that the spit does not end on your lap.

    There may be issue with the police if they think that you are "toking down the freeway" (hey, what a great name for a tune.........)
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    OR you can use the gmonady (adaption from John Coltrane) technique and blow on your mouthpiece gently into a towel with the towel hand determining the resistance you need to comfortably tone your lips. AND the police see you blowing into towel, they will have sympathy that your are suffering from a cold and are likely infectious so you will be "left totally alone" (a great name for a Country Western tune).
  9. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    California freeways are not trumpet player friendly ... yeah I have buzzed with the mouthpiece but it does look like a crack pipe..never thought of the towel though.
    I sure appreciate the time I get to really practice away from the car.
  10. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    Ha, ain't that the truth. I find that once I get in a rhythm I can go for a couple hours at a time. Hopefully by this summer I will be transposing tunes in all twelve keys for several hours. I love hearing parker play, and it is rumored that he practiced for 12 hours a day. When wynton asked art blakey what he practiced he answered "what ever he needed to practice" I love that because as a trumpet player, there is always something I need to practice, the hard part is prioritizing. :)

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