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post #16 of 40
I'm not even studying music formally, and I would say 2 hours a day is minimum to see any improvement.

What I usually do is find some time and go for intense study music/difficult concert passages etc. After the 2-3 hours of doing that, I do a little multi-tasking later on; watch Family Guy on DVD, turn on the subtitles, and practice memorized studies/scales or even pieces with the mute on. I think this practice, for me, is more efficient and balanced to meet my television needs.
post #17 of 40
I agree that 2 hours is about the minimum to produce good, predictable results. A lot does also depend on the dedication you put into practicing while doing so. One hour of serious practicing, which involves a lot of brainpower, can do more than dozens of non-involved practice, which can actually cause bad habits to develop.
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSTpt1022 View Post
For brass players the minimum is 3 hours a day.
Err, not necessarily.

It's worth noting that professional brass players, specifically those in the Chicago Symphony who I have read interviews with, don't practice much at all. They've reached a certain zenith in their playing, and only practice enough to maintain that level. They're simply not going to get much better than they are, so it comes down to maintenance, and learning new material or touching up familiar stuff.

Bud Hirseth, legendary prinicpal trumpet of the CSO, stated he would only practice about an hour a day. Arnold Jacobs was the same way.

But when you're in school, you're trying to learn and improve, so you obviously need to practice beyond the maintenance level. If you're already playing in a bunch of ensembles, and doing sectional work for those, and perhaps gigging a little bit--then 3 hours a day is pushing it, IMO. And if you're at a lib arts college, and not a conservatory, you also have general classes to worry about, papers to write, chapters to read. And you may be working part-time in there too. So it depends on your level of commitment, and how competitive your school is.

I was a trombone music major. I would do a warm-up routine of around 45 minutes, take a short break, then work on my solo lit and ensemble stuff, and each day a "challenge" session where I tackled an especially difficult etude for a while. It often added up to only 1.5 hours, occasionally more, occasionally less. 1.5 hours of focused, productive practice time is so much better than 3 hours of meandering, taking a lot of breaks, "I'm sick of this"-type practicing.

And I did get better. Good enough to have some gigs as a sub with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and play as a rehearsal substitute with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Bottom line is, you will find out what works for you one way or another. But don't be scared by talk like "You must practice 4 hours a day and not have friends or a social life if you're going to be any good." That's just not true.
post #19 of 40
I almost majored in music instead of computer science and would say that most people in a music major are expected to practice at least 2-3 hours daily, though 4-5 is routine. I'd have practiced 4-5 hours if I had gone that route.

Also, no offense but I find it a bit perturbing you're asking. If you really love music as a musician, you wouldn't really need to ask this and perhaps you should consider a different major, especially if right now you're practicing 1-1.5 hours daily.

Also you can try scheduling an appointment with a professor at a local music ollege for an audition to get feedback and an opinion if you should major in music.
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowpogo View Post
Err, not necessarily.

It's worth noting that professional brass players, specifically those in the Chicago Symphony who I have read interviews with, don't practice much at all. They've reached a certain zenith in their playing, and only practice enough to maintain that level. They're simply not going to get much better than they are, so it comes down to maintenance, and learning new material or touching up familiar stuff.

Bud Hirseth, legendary prinicpal trumpet of the CSO, stated he would only practice about an hour a day. Arnold Jacobs was the same way.

But when you're in school, you're trying to learn and improve, so you obviously need to practice beyond the maintenance level. If you're already playing in a bunch of ensembles, and doing sectional work for those, and perhaps gigging a little bit--then 3 hours a day is pushing it, IMO. And if you're at a lib arts college, and not a conservatory, you also have general classes to worry about, papers to write, chapters to read. And you may be working part-time in there too. So it depends on your level of commitment, and how competitive your school is.

I was a trombone music major. I would do a warm-up routine of around 45 minutes, take a short break, then work on my solo lit and ensemble stuff, and each day a "challenge" session where I tackled an especially difficult etude for a while. It often added up to only 1.5 hours, occasionally more, occasionally less. 1.5 hours of focused, productive practice time is so much better than 3 hours of meandering, taking a lot of breaks, "I'm sick of this"-type practicing.

And I did get better. Good enough to have some gigs as a sub with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and play as a rehearsal substitute with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Bottom line is, you will find out what works for you one way or another. But don't be scared by talk like "You must practice 4 hours a day and not have friends or a social life if you're going to be any good." That's just not true.
So 1.5 hours of focussed practice is better than if you did 3 hours of "meandering". What if you did 3 hours of focussed practice? While I do subscribe to the fact that many professionals need not practice a lot, the best still put in many hours a day. The better you are, the more you need to practice. I find it difficult to believe that someone could possibly have maxed out their potential if they only practice, for example, two hours a day and is merely "maintaining" their standard. There are just so many different techniques to tweak and perfect that no amount of practice is really too much.
post #21 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
Also, no offense but I find it a bit perturbing you're asking. If you really love music as a musician, you wouldn't really need to ask this and perhaps you should consider a different major, especially if right now you're practicing 1-1.5 hours daily.
I'm planning on double majoring (math & music). Also it's not like I dislike practicing, I was just wondering what's normal for people in the major, that's all.

I don't really practice for a specified amount of time each day. I start with scales & warm ups and then play through my pieces that I'm working on for auditions, while making a list of things that need work in my head. Then I go back and spend most of the time working on the passages in my head, and when I feel I've made significant progress on all of them I review everything again and then stop. While this averages around 1-1.5 hours I sometimes spend a lot more time. I feel I've made quite a lot of progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
Also you can try scheduling an appointment with a professor at a local music ollege for an audition to get feedback and an opinion if you should major in music.
I take piano lessons from a professor at a local (c)ollege and he's been telling me for years that I should major in music
post #22 of 40
goldenratiophi, that all sounds very promising and a lot of fun too. Best of luck with your studies.
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder View Post
I find it difficult to believe that someone could possibly have maxed out their potential if they only practice, for example, two hours a day and is merely "maintaining" their standard. There are just so many different techniques to tweak and perfect that no amount of practice is really too much.
Well, I'm just quoting what Hirseth and Jacobs said. Other professionals might be different.

Of course more focused practicing is ultimately better for you. Charlie Parker famously practiced ten hours a day for, I don't know, two years or something. And he turned out to be alright.

I'm just saying, you find what works for you. Maybe some days you have more free time, and are able to practice four hours. Great. BUT, if other times, you have a paper to work on, part time job, or maybe just want to go hang out with your friends for the first time in two weeks...fine, do those things, get an 1-2 hours of solid practicing in and don't worry about it.

I was always mindful that music is an expression of life, and if you don't HAVE a life, what are you going to express? You need to be part of the human world, not locked in a tiny room every waking hour. You need to compromise between the two. Read books, see movies, get a girlfriend, go to concerts...get out in the world. Then you really have something to say and work on when you're in the practice room.
post #24 of 40
post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowpogo View Post
I was always mindful that music is an expression of life, and if you don't HAVE a life, what are you going to express? You need to be part of the human world, not locked in a tiny room every waking hour. You need to compromise between the two. Read books, see movies, get a girlfriend, go to concerts...get out in the world. Then you really have something to say and work on when you're in the practice room.
I very much agree with this statement. Drawing from real life experiences is what makes music real and worth listening to (and playing). Progress is not only measured by the number of hours in which you practice; it's also measured by your personal growth and maturity.
post #26 of 40
Even if you do practice numerous hours a day, there's still plenty of time to hang out with whoever and do a lot of other things.

Example day, assuming you have no real commitments:

So the day begins at 8am. Eat breakfast, pray, change, take a bath/shower, etc. 9am. Start practising. Stop practising at 12:30pm. Eat lunch. Practise from 1pm to 4pm. Rest, go out, hang out w/ friends, watch TV, then dinner time until 8:30pm. Practise until 10pm. Relax until 12am and go to bed.

That's a solid 8 hours of practice done (or a bit less if you include short breaks) with plenty of time in between to relax. If you play in an orchestra, quartet or other ensemble, then isn't that time to socialise as well? It's not like you can't talk about other things during rehearsals.

The bottom line is, if you really want to master an instrument, there's no substitute for hard work. That does not mean you need to lock yourself away in a tiny sound-proof room for hours on end and never see daylight.
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder View Post
So the day begins at 8am. Eat breakfast, pray, change, take a bath/shower, etc. 9am. Start practising. Stop practising at 12:30pm. Eat lunch. Practise from 1pm to 4pm. Rest, go out, hang out w/ friends, watch TV, then dinner time until 8:30pm. Practise until 10pm. Relax until 12am and go to bed.
Uhhh...isn't this thread about music majors, as in, college? Where you have classes and stuff? You describe the day of a hippie bum with nothing else to do. Here's what a typical day was like for me:

Get up at 8, breakfast, shower, etc. Get to 9am geology lab, done at 10:30. Walk half a mile to English class at 11. Have noon hour free for lunch. 1pm, orchestra rehearsal, done at 2:30. A few minutes to hang out in the lounge, before jazz band at 3pm. That's done at 4pm.

NOW, I have about 3 1/2 hours before I have to leave for work, as a delivery driver at 8pm. I have a chapter to read, an assignment to do for tomorrow, a paper to think about. Walk to the library, work on that stuff for 1.5 hours, possibly even skimping and not doing a very good job. Walk to cafeteria, spend 20 minutes eating dinner. Now it's 6pm. Get back to humanities building, Practice 1.5 hours, walk 20 minutes to work. Work until 12am, relax and watch Conan for a little bit, pray for the weekend to come soon. And, on this day I neglected to work on piano, my second instrument.

See my point? That what lib-arts schools are like. Sometimes my days were even a lot busier. Maybe I could have gotten up an hour early and gotten another 45 minutes of practice in.

Those advocating 3+ hours of practice a day, how the heck would you have fit that in a schedule such as above? There were occasional days where I had bigger chunks of time free, and was able to practice 3 hours or more, but it was by far the exception, not the rule. Maybe one day a week was like that.
post #28 of 40
Woops, got mixed up with people going to a performance-orientated school/college/degree Shows how shallow my understanding of the US system is...

Anyway. Even if you were going to perform for a living, practising for 8 hours a day is definitely not necessary. All I wanted to get across was that even if you do eight hours of practice a day it doesn't make you automatically a social outcast with no "life experience".

If I was at Trinity, Royal School or Guildhall I'd be practicing at least four hours a day just to keep up with the really good people.
post #29 of 40
My piano teacher in high school days told me that with my level of talent, I'd have to practise 8 hours a day to be competitive. He never told me how many hours the average piano major student practises, but I guess more than 8 hours. I went on to study physics and economics.
post #30 of 40
I just started learning guitar a few months ago. My instructor explained that practice is important but that 30 minutes every day is better than just doing one long practice a week. I practice about an hour a day with a focused plan my instructor helped me design. I don't know if this is the kind of response you were looking for but thats my experience.
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