How often do you practise?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by stevetrom, Sep 5, 2014.


Be honest - be anonymous if you want

  1. Monday

    26 vote(s)
  2. Tuesday

    21 vote(s)
  3. Wednesday

    24 vote(s)
  4. Thursday

    26 vote(s)
  5. Friday

    21 vote(s)
  6. Saturday

    18 vote(s)
  7. Sunday

    22 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Practice defined as:
    - not a band/orchestra/group rehearsal - just you
    - not a lesson - again, just you
    - minimum 15 minutes

    I missed out a 'Never' choice, could an admin person add it - or tell me how to - thanks
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  2. B.Portas

    B.Portas Member

    I voted Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

    Monday and Thursday are regular band nights for me, and I like to play for about 20 mins before I set out, just so that I'm already warm for the rehearsals. Wednesday and Sunday, I usually try for about 15 mins of long notes, scales, arpeggios, and take about 10/15 mins to run through any solos for university recitals, test pieces (currently 'A Kings Lie') or tricky bits in the bands usual repertoire.

    That's my usual routine, but I sometimes squeeze in a bit of practice here and there, when I can, but it's never really set.
  3. superwan

    superwan Member

    I'm still keen as I'm a comeback player. I came back to playing in October after a 25 year break (apart from playing along with the kids 6 years ago). It's been hard work but I've been doing 20 mins in a morning and 30 mins to an hour in the evening each day as well as playing in band on a Monday and Thurday. It's paying off though, I got a distinction for grade 6 in June :sup
  4. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    O'dear this is a difficult one to both answer and be honest about, and I don't tend to time my practices either. Thinking back over the last fortnight or so I recon to do at least one band practice but sometimes a second as a visit to someone elses band. Another night is out with sport so that leaves four possible but take another out for family pressures and yes it's three or four sessions a week. However, if there's a concert coming shortly I make certain to somehow do more. The sessions are typically about an hour or so as a lot of the practice is playing music, familiar to me or sight reading, that I enjoy. Of course I do have a go at band peices giving me problems too, some scales and some hymns. Whilst thinking about it I ought to be putting in some execises from Langey or Complete Method etc. and a book or exercises has been recommended to me on a different thread ..... there goes half a man day per week.

    When I was a youth my teacher then asked his pupils to do 15 mins each day. Each day you can find that small time (if it's that and no more) and will do it so perhaps less is more in a way, little and often is best etc.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  5. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    None at the moment. I am waiting to get started again after suffering a Stroke just over a year ago. hoping to get back in the swing soon.
  6. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    My experience of 2nd horns is that most of them sound like they are practicing even when at a full rehearsal !

  7. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Same as us Trombones then :). The Baritones are always perfect and practice lots, that nice Mr October's a Baritone player so they are the best and never make any bother. :D
  8. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    I dont get my instrument out of the case much nowadays. But seeing as my only banding now is doing demented windmilll impressions in the middle I guess its less important. Do want to get my lip back in though...

    must practice.......MUST practice.........must PRACTICE......
  9. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Before my accident I practiced 5 days a week. I heard a saying once -- it went like this:

    lay off one day - OK
    lay off two days in a row - OK if you practice soon
    lay off three days in a row - and you will start to show regression

    When at University, they said to be "Professional" we had to practice AT LEAST two to three hours a day.

    I think for brass players there is another question. How often do you just "buzz" on your mouthpiece? You can do that in your car, at your computer, even during commercials watching a football match. This will not help intonation or fingering, but it is the best way I have found to strengthen your embouchure!

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
  10. CoopErQuiet

    CoopErQuiet New Member

    I try to every other day, although it's hard because sometimes I practise lots on consecutive days and then will have the weekend off, it also depends on what else is going on at that time but I'd say in general every other day for at least 45 mins.
  11. JimboFB

    JimboFB Active Member

    The P word???

    I have a theory that i continually tell our band manager and MD that if i pratcised every day and could play the part, there would be no point in having band rehearsal. Makes it more fun and interesting...
  12. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    As a former MD -- yeah that would be an interesting statement ONCE. In a competing band, rehearsal should be not to learn the parts, but to learn how to play together including intonation, tempo, energy, dynamics, and the like. You can certainly learn the notes during a practice session.

    Now, I used to direct a "no-audition" community band. The players in that band were professionals in anything. My substitute MD rehearsed the band and the following week I got an earful of complaints. I would rehearse the band and point out places that sections could work on in their practice time. My sub went over and over a section in a Sousa march for 45 minutes -- often stopping every 8 bars finding something wrong. It made band practice no fun and less productive. I lived by this principle (click on the picture to see the full size):


    Getting the notes under your fingers and your embouchure in shape is something done primarily during a practice session. Working on ensemble matters is primarily done during band rehearsal. This is my opinion anyhow. The "no-audition" band I got to play fairly well "Melody Shop" and "Bugler's Holiday". How? The euphs practiced at home and so did the trumpet ensemble. We never got "Those Daring Young Men in their Flying Machines" because the clarinets would not practice it and I never wasted rehearsal time.

    Alas, in a competing band, if they didn't practice I would question if they wanted to compete and maybe personnel changes would have to be made, or the selection of tunes changed to easier pieces.

    I know you were pulling your MD's leg, but you allowed me to express my feelings. Practice individually at home and rehearse ensemble problems at band practice.

  13. JuHarper

    JuHarper New Member

    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for me. It changes around a little depending on commitments but I try to get in 4 days a week and these are my main days - Monday and Thursday being band practise.
  14. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    The original question was aimed at practice outside of the band rehearsals.

    does the instrument come out of the case BETWEEN band rehearsals?

    in my case the answers is , very rarely and definitely not a set day where I put time aside for personal practice.
  15. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    I practice when I'm given something I need to practice, or I'm bored. I spent several years being a security guard when I would often do in excess of 6 hours practice a day just to pass the time on a night shift. Sounds bigheadded but, it's not that often that I'm given anything that I can't wing it by just looking at it and running through in my head and fingering through the parts. I have hade to put some time in recently though just to get my stamina up after not being able to play (got mauled by a mongrel leaving both hands in bandages) but that was more long note and stamina excercises.
  16. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    It’s interesting that some experienced players - and in the cases above higher section ones too - do not practice regularly but pretty much play what’s expected of them at rehearsals. However, what’s expected is constrained by the number and types of pieces possible to play in rehearsals (time and repertoire is limited) and mostly they will have completed them many times already. Maybe one of the reasons why twice a week rehearsals, plus additional ones before concerts and contests, are common is to counter ‘lost practice’ between rehearsals. My suspicion is that this group of players once played at a higher level and are now, to some extent, coasting on a mix of past experience and natural ability.

    Other players do practice, some want to maintain and/or polish skills and some want to learn and/or develop them. I’m in that group and the part of it that is trying to learn and/or develop skills. What the split between the two groups is I really don’t know but my suspicion is that 2/3 rd’s of players don’t do much between rehearsals, but my experience is limited to the ‘lower sections’.

    IMHO regardless of what your MD demands and the defeat of your competitors needs you’re missing out if you don’t practice. At home you decide what you play – besides exercises and band parts you might polish there is, once you seek it out, loads of good stuff to enjoy and even possibly learn from – unlike at rehearsal where you are obliged to (only) play stuff that you might not always like and that doesn’t necessarily prepare you for other challenges.
  17. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    That quote brings back memories! As an undergraduate a Central Christian College (USA) I made a similar comment. I already was voted all-region #1 Euph player (the region consisted of 5 US states: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska) and like you, it was hard to find people who could out play me. My instructor wanted me to take lessons from someone once a month who played in the St. Louis Symphony who gave lessons in Kansas City one day a month. From my school to Kansas City was a 3 hour drive one way. And the price for the lesson more than I could consider.

    But then my instructor said something that stuck with me. Those who really become complete players practice boring things like scales and lip slurs when they don't like to. I was converter (or doubling) to/on trombone. I took his advice. Today after a severe car accident, I can still play at an absolute top level if you give me a month to work my embouchure into shape again and long phrases are not required.

    That would mean back to buzzing, lips slurs and scales. I have become the MD of so many groups my playing endurance fell off. That can be embarrassing if you are asked to sit in in another group. An unfortunate car accident has cut my playing off. Not only is my back ruined, I had a 10 day stay in a hospital for a major lung disorder (I never smoked or did anything to my lungs that was damaging). The first night they gave me a 5% chance of living. 10 days later, I lived with only about 3/4 of my lungs power.

    Hard to play now. Hard to be the MD if you cannot stand up. I play at church and fun mostly now.

    BUT --- to really be good, I think you have to practice, especially when you don't want to, or even need to. Just my thoughts.

  18. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Two band practices a week for me, and I practice four other nights on my own, with Sunday night as a rest night. I only get to do 30-45mins a night due to stinky kids.
  19. Leveridge96

    Leveridge96 Member

    Interesting thread. Since I have just finished my a-levels and currently on a gap year (as well as being unemployed :-( ), I tend to do at least 30mins most days whether it's on band stuff or my pieces for my grade 8 horn. Before I finished in June, I'd try to do at least 15-20 minutes due to other comments such as bands and coursework which I had at the time as well as my exams.
  20. GordonH

    GordonH Member

    I practice every day that I can with one day off per week to let my lip rest. I do not practice on days that I have a band rehearsal. I do half an hour minimum made up of warm ups, technical exercises, lip flexibilities, hymn tunes and working on difficult sections from pieces my band is working on. A lot of that practice is done very quietly in order to build control and stamina. I also do isometric exercises for my lips most days before I go to work. Possibly overkill, but I have had embouchure trouble in the past and I like to keep everything working correctly. One day off a week is vital for recovery if you are playing the way many of us do.

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