1. Jazz trumpet. I was a music education major in college, but switched to another major after 3 years. I play in a working jazz combo, but my primary means of support has always been in something other than music.
2. About 25 years of playing experience, played for 20+ years, took 15 years off, now 3 years into my comeback.
3. My practice routine is always evolving. Right now it's 60 to 90 minutes a day, every day, except on gig days. I try to break it up between music, chop-building, and technical studies. I take at least a 15 minute break between each section, and rest as much as I play.
- Warmup - (2-5 minutes) based on the Schlossberg mouthpiece warmup, except that I do this on the trumpet, not just on the mouthpiece.
- Maintenance (20 minutes) - mouthpiece buzzing, flow studies, lip slurs, tonguing. I keep things light here, and don't push anything too much.
- Music (30 minutes) - memorize and practice jazz standards and other music.
- Chops (15 - 30 minutes) - some combination of lip slurs, placement exercises, flow studies, and tonguing exercises.
- Technical (15 - 30 minutes) - scales, arpeggios, and jazz patterns.
4. As a comeback player, I've found that my appetite is sometimes bigger than my abilities. So my biggest challenge has been to take it slow, to be content with steady progress, and to not push my playing beyond the point of diminishing returns. I've also learned that even at 50 years old, a private teacher is a great help. Finally, I've learned that, for me, music is more for fun when I'm playing for myself (not for teachers, band directors, or to pay the mortgage).