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How many hours...

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by HowiePlaysBass, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. HowiePlaysBass


    Aug 24, 2012
    Do you typically practice on days when you have 3 or 4 hour rehearsals. I try to hit about four (excluding rehearsal) should I be sucking it up and shedding longer?
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    If I do not have a gig, I practice on my own on Friday and Saturday nights for about 3 or 4 hours each night and rehearse with the band once per week for 3 hours. If we have a gig and are learning new material, we rehearse twice per week. Everyone in the band has been playing for at least 20 years so we can usually learn songs very quickly. I learn everything by ear and can learn songs by the second or third time I listen to them. My Ipod has over 6,000 songs on it so sometimes I just put it on shuffle and learn whatever happens to play.

    The most important thing is to find what works for you and stick with it.
  3. ThomClaire


    Dec 31, 2012
    Asheville, NC
    I typically practice for 3 or 4 hours daily, but I am a beginner, so instead of the (what seems) usual, warm up-> orch. rep.-> solos, I am only warming up with scales, and working with Simandl exercises.
  4. LuisUSB


    Jan 29, 2013
    I usually practice 4-5 hours daily and also guess when I have a lot of free time I practice 6-7 hours :p
  5. Well, during the week I have between two and six hours of rehearsal for one thing or another every day. Before and after rehearsal I just take my bass and go practice as if I didn't have rehearsal at all that day. I see rehearsal as the extra time I get to play the bass rather than something to take away from practice. I think today I only had one meal because of it.
  6. Taking care of your mental and physical health on a daily basis is equally as important to the quality of your playing as regular practice. I don't think neglecting any one of these three things does you any good in the long run.

    I would rather play a concert without having practiced for a week instead of going a week with a ton of woodshedding and inadequate sleep. It's important to have a balance and find what works for you. I like practicing, when I'm really motivated and have the time I try to practice 3 hours six days a week. But on a concert day, I often spend the day relaxing, doing chores, eating well, and exercising to make sure my mental game is at its best that evening.

    Long story short, you're going to have to figure it out yourself! Everybody is different.
  7. Quality of practice is just as important as quantity IMO.

    A good warm-up regime, whether you do it all or not each time, should both prepare you physically and mentally to make real progress.

    Know what, why and how you are practicing. Keep a practice diary. Learn to listen carefully and analyze both your technique and musicianship as you play. Set realistic goals and be patient in reaching them. If you are a student get the best tuition you can afford. A good teacher will help focus your practice and guide your development, avoiding the bad habits that waste so much time to undo later.

    So, when it comes to how much practice before or after rehearsals, warm up well before and run your fingers over difficult passages in the forthcoming session so that you are physically and mentally well prepared for work. After rehearsals make sure you have a rest and some fresh air exercise to refresh yourself before doing more practice. Go over the day's events and work on difficulties (both technical and musical), spending enough time on each to make real improvements before setting the music aside to go on with your own work. Don't practice to the point of exhaustion. Take regular breaks and do stretches before and after practice. Eat and sleep well and pace yourself so you don't go totally nuts. Treat your body and mind with respect. Here I agree with Matt Burri above.

    Best of luck and see you at the summit!!


    Do all this and you should achieve more in less practice time.
  8. Yes indeed. For reference, in my day job (as a software engineer) I get about 4 hours max of hardcore coding or reading time, and the rest is process stuff, thinking around the edges of the problem and talking to people. There are limits to how long you can apply maximum concentration to anything.

    I have never played more than 3 or 4 hours of practice time in a day, and probably not more than say 90 minutes on a day when I also had rehearsals. But, that's not to say that I wouldn't think about or listen to music most of the day when it was my main study area.

    Bass doesn't take the endless repetition that violin or piano does, and your body won't thank you for trying. So practice smarter, rather than longer.
  9. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    I agree on all counts with David, and came here to say much of the same, though less eloquently put.

    I don't count the hours in which I practice, but what I do in them. I also don't give myself a break regarding timing. In the average practice session in music school, I saw that my colleagues and I generally got 1.5 to 2 hours of real, meaningful work out of a 4 hour practice session. So, I counted 2 hours of practice in that day (if that was all the practicing I did, which is unlikely). Goofing around playing the melody from Daphnis and Chloe? not practice. Getting Coffee? Not practice. glossing over or "Playing through" your orchestral excerpts in an unfocused manner? Not practice. Looking at the cute girl across the hall? Not practice. Practice is focused, regimented work where you know exactly what you want to achieve and are consciously taking steps to achieve it. What are you working on, specifically, in the Othello solo today? is it the Phrasing in the 7th bar? Go right to the 7th bar, and figure out what steps you are taking to get that bar exactly as you want it. If that took 15 minutes, then you have done 15 minutes of real practice. On to the next thing (and the 5 minutes you took to rest your brain afterwards doesn't count!)

    I have to be tough on myself to get the best results out of my practicing, otherwise I will find myself having spent the day playing bass with all of my excerpts and solos none the better for it.

  10. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
  11. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    went though a weird over practice phase, which culminated in me wearing off my fingertips, but i'm an artist so i can get way too obsessive, i try to keep my practicing to about 90 minutes to 2 hours, maybe less if i'm just going over a setlist of covers on my iphone
  12. ILIA


    Jan 27, 2006
    I try to be goal-oriented rather than time-oriented when it comes to measuring progress. I set a reasonable goal (reasonable being the key word, and if one is a student, it is best to work with a teacher to define goals), and work for it whether it takes forty minutes or four hours. The idea is to be as efficient as possible. If I end up hitting the 4 hour mark consistently over a long period of time, but I'm still not meeting my goal, then I examine my method of practice for that goal or I consider that the goal may be unattainable with my current approach (or in a student's case, unattainable at a particular stage of development--again, this is why a teacher is paramount). Some people accomplish more significant goals in 1 hour than some do in four. My point is it is best not to measure progress in terms of hours wood shedding. Yeah, I know that's what you do with grade school kids, but I'm amazed at how many adult musicians feel like they have accomplished something when they put in four hours without meeting any kind of specific measurable goal other than putting in hours. The amount of hours one practices is really just an analytic (data to help one measure efficiency of practicing and monitor health). It's simply a byproduct of good goal-oriented practice habits.
  13. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    It's not how long, it's how well you practice.

    Day dreaming 2 of the 4 hours means that you've only practiced 2 hours.

    It's more about efficiency than amount of time.


    We all have the same amount of time each day. Only a few manage it far better than the rest.
  14. HowiePlaysBass


    Aug 24, 2012
    Thanks that's exactly what I was thinking. I try to break my practice sessions into three separate sessions. I picked it up from an interview Max Dimoff did. That way I don't get mentally burnt out. I also have the pleasure of being able to practice on the third floor balcony at school which is a really relaxing and focused atmosphere. Cool this helps a lot thanks.
  15. 4 hours? 6 hours? I'm lucky if I can get an hour and a half. :(
  16. Personally 2 to 8 hours, though mostly about 4 hours. Then I'm a music student working for auditions, which might be different from your situation.
  17. My situation is very much different. I work 9 to 12 hours a day in retail selling appliances and I play with a small wind ensemble of mostly parents. I wish I was in your situation. Heh.
  18. 2 hours currently, (I am studying journalism f/t) but when I am studying music again, I will come back to my usual 5 hours practice per day.

    Practices are in 1 hour blocks, of 5 min warmup, 40 mins of working practice and 15 minutes off time.

    So 3 blocks = 2 hours pratice, 6 blocks = 4 hours practice etc
    This is the most effective way of managing time/practicing, otherwise you`ll be pushing for 2 hour straight sessions.
  19. chicagodoubler


    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    How much is far less important than *how.

    Re: specifics and efficiency-

    Practice 50 minutes. Break ten. Set an alarm. After 50 minutes your brain is gone and your body needs a break.

    Record yourself all the time. Listen and be honest. Video recording/mirrors are nice.

    Use a tuner and a metronome religiously. Sequencers are nice too.

    Devote time every day to bow mechanics- Sevick and Zimmerman.

    Devote time every day to intonation- scales and arps. See above re: tuners and sequencers.

    Also, exercise your body regularly even if it's as simple as jogging or jumping rope and pushups/pullups/situps, and eat like an athlete. Many people wreck their bodies by shedding too hard without giving the body what it needs. Remember that we are much like professional athletes, but on a small, specific level. We get similar injuries, and our bodies have similar demands.