If you have read any of my Trumpet Building Blocks, you know that I recommend all kinds of methods to help you squeeze a little trumpet practice (or composing, in the case of my last post, “The Portable Composer“) in between all of your other daily activities. I write about this so frequently because I face busy schedules myself everyday, and I think that some of the tricks and strategies I use can help out other busy trumpeters.
But in this post, I want to advocate a different way. I want you to waste time every now and then. When you have a few hours, or an afternoon, or even a Saturday, take the whole time to fool around on the trumpet. Play through your etude book. Play all of the Clarke Technical Studies. Play all of your fundamental exercises. Hang out with your buddies and sight read duets and trios and orchestral excerpts. Play along with all of your Aebersold jazz recordings.
This kind of time “wasting” is not, as you probably can see, a waste of time. It is just the thing you need to really improve. The late piano master Arthur Rubinstein, who practiced very little when he was young, changed his ways when he was first married. He began to practice for 6 to 9 hours a day. And a funny thing happened. He declared, “I began to discover new meaning, new qualities, new possibilities in music that I have been regularly playing for more than 30 years.”
We trumpeters cannot stretch out and practice all day long every day. Our lips will not sustain the kind of regular schedule Rubinstein embraced. Most of our other commitments will not allow us to practice that much anyway. But when we have time and a fresh lip, we should try it. I think you will love it.