Chase Sanborn is an engaging modern jazz trumpet voice with a warm, inviting tone, fluid lyrical phrasing, and a style that always swings. He exhibits the cultivated sensibility of a player at the peak of his powers.
Music Business Tactics is an easy and enjoyable read that provides sound, practical advice. If you are an aspiring musician, or you know one, get this book! You need this information!
Chase Sanborn goes right to the heart and soul of the music. His performance was an inspiration to hundreds of festival participants, and his positive and upbeat outlook made a lasting impact on our students
Jazz Tactics presents the material in such a clear and simple way, with the vitality and spirit of a live teaching session. This method speaks to all musicians, regardless of age and previous experience.
Chase addresses the needs of developing musicians in a manner that is understandable and relevant. My students were thrilled to work with someone who understands their learning curve.
Tuning Tactics teaches you to listen. In just a short time, I've witnessed strong improvement in my students' awareness. Tuning Tactics makes good intonation attainable for all!
Chase Sanborn has a natural gift for engaging and involving an audience. He shares a wealth of honest and knowledgeable information about music and the music business.
Brass Tactics offeres authoritative instruction balanced with sage and homely advice. It shows you how to handle yourself in any professional or amateur situation. No trumpet player should be without this book!

How Much Do You Practice?

6a00d83451b36c69e201156f4538e2970bMalcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, discusses the 10,000-hour rule, which states that achieving expertise in anything requires 10,000 hours of practice. During a flight from Toronto to Newfoundland I pondered whether this number rings true for a musician and whether the status of ‘expert’ connotes a high level of competence or something greater, approaching mastery or artistry.

I consider myself a representative case study. I exhibited some natural talent for the instrument at an early age—that initial positive experience encouraged and propelled me—but I’ve known many musical colleagues who are more naturally gifted than I am. I am a hard worker, however, and a bit of a perfectionist, which keeps me striving for a higher standard. If there is a secret to my ‘success’, it is the willingness to keep plugging away, which I continue to do every day.

If you practice your instrument one hour a day, every day of the year, it will take you approximately 27 years to accumulate 10,000 hours. I’ve been playing the trumpet for 45 years including 35 years as a professional player. Differing amounts of time were devoted to the instrument during various periods in my life. Assuming I passed the 10,000-hour mark, when did that occur and what level of expertise had I attained by that time? How many hours have I practiced to date?

Determining precisely how many hours I have practiced is impossible since I neglected to keep a log dating back to the 5th grade, but I’ll venture an educated guess. I’ve identified five stages of my trumpet playing experience and assigned an average number of daily practice hours at each stage. To allow for some variance, I calculate my yearly figures based on five days a week and fifty weeks a year.

Elementary School (Grades 5/6)
I started the trumpet in the 5th grade. In the first couple of years my parents would not allow me to watch Superman on TV unless I had practiced for 30 minutes. That’s motivation!

.5 hours X 5 days X 50 weeks X 2 years = 250 hours of practice.

Middle School (Grades 7/8/9)
In middle school I took weekly trumpet lessons and practiced an hour a day.

1 hour X 5 days X 50 weeks X 3 years = 750 hours.

High School (Grades 10/11/12)
In high school I got serious about music as a career. By the time I graduated I was putting in a solid three hours of daily practice. Let’s average that out to two hours a day over the three years.

2 hours X 5 days X 50 weeks X 3 years = 1500 hours.

Total after eight years: 2250 hours.

By the time I finished high school, I had accumulated just over 20% of the requisite 10,000 hours.

University and Beyond (Six years)
My peak practice years occurred while I was a student at the Berklee College of Music, and for the first few years of my professional career (a period I will call pre-parenthood). I practiced up to five hours a day and rarely missed a day. I’ll average that out to four hours a day, six days a week.

4 hours X 6 days X 50 weeks X 6 years = 7200 hours.

Total after 14 years: 9450 hours.

It would appear that I hit the 10,000 mark somewhere around age 25. Was I an expert at that point? It could be argued that I was. I was playing at a professional level; people were paying me for my services. But I know a lot more and play a lot better now than I did then. How many hours has it taken me to get where I am today?

Professional Playing Career
It has been approximately thirty years since I passed the 10,000-hour mark. As a professional player, I generally practice two hours a day and rarely miss a day, so I base my calculations for this period on six days a week.

2 hours X 6 days X 50 weeks for 30 years = 18,000 hours.

Total to date: 27,450 hours.

Note that these figures apply only to practice time, not playing time. It’s impossible to calculate how many hours that would add up to, but certainly they add significantly to the total amount of time spent playing the instrument.

After all this time, I will state with confidence that I am an expert on playing the trumpet. Have I mastered the instrument? Ha! Listening to recordings of Sergei Nakariakov or Wynton Marsalis as a teenager should be enough to make any trumpet player hang it up. Fortunately, playing music is not about being the ‘best’. We are each unique human beings, with the ability to make a musical statement that reflects our individuality. It just takes a little time and effort to acquire the tools to do so.

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