Live Trumpet Q & A No. 48
We have one question going into this week’s live Trumpet Question and Answer session. This is Q and A number 48 by the way. Creeping up on the 50 Q and A milestone!
The question we will start with this week is when to practice music. And more specifically, when to practice improvisation.
When to Practice Improvisation
In my system, practice sessions are divided into three categories. You have your daily physical routine as the first category. Then there is technique practice. Then finally, there is music practice.
What makes these three categories just a little complicated is when we try to apply the 50% rule. The 50% rule says that at least 50% of your practice time should be spent practicing music. Clearly, the daily routine falls in the exercises category. And just as obvious is the music practice. But where does the technique practice fall in the context of the 50% rule?
Well, that depends on the nature of your technique work. I would say that my personal technique work is about 90% musical. But I say that because that material is derived from musical motifs and stuff like that.
Tonalization Studies In This Context
The Tonalization Studies are a funny creature in the context of the 50% rule. They can be physical rudiments or musical studies, depending on why you are doing them. So, for example, you should be doing Tonalization Studies as part of your daily physical routine. When you do them daily like that, they fall in the physical rudiment category.
However, when you practice the Tonalization Studies in preparation for working on a piece of music, or in the context of improvising on a specific tune, then the Tonalization Studies are musical and fall into the music half of the day’s practice.
Something to keep in mind, now that you know you can do Tonalization Studies as part of your music practice, is that when you do that, you will be practicing Tonalization Studies TWICE that day. You will do them first as part of your routine. Then you will do them again as part of your music practice.
Just thought I would clarify that.
Three Types of Practice
I don’t do it this way anymore, but for many, many years, I practice the three types of sessions in order each day. Start with the daily routine. Then, if you have time, take a break. Try to rest at least as long as the daily routine lasted. If it took you a half hour to do the routine, then rest a half hour before you practice again.
Next practice session of the day would be the technique stuff. Scales, arpeggios and other patterns. This can be a very short session or if you have time you can extend it for a while. The way I make sure this session is “music” is to organize it so that the technical stuff is related to the music I’m practicing. So for example, if the piece you are practicing is the key of E, then do your technique work in that key.
The third session of the day should be your music. And this is when you would practice your improvisation.
Short Practice Sessions
If you don’t have time to do three practice sessions in one day, then you squeeze everything down into a shorter session. Let’s say you only have a half hour to practice each day. Well, do your daily routine in 15 minutes (use the Chops Express for this), then spend the rest of the half hour practicing music OR technical work that is related to the music you are practicing.
I didn’t mean to spend this much time on this question on the blog. But it’s something we haven’t covered in a long time. So yeah, good question. We will definitely talk about it some more in the Q and A.
Past Q and A’s
The old Q and A sessions are only readily available here on the blog. If you are interested in watching some of the older Q and A’s, then feel free to explore them by clicking the button: