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Discussion Starter #1
I may be asking too much, but really want to get back to the flute while still (a) learning piano and (b) continuing to progress on sax. I fell in the love with the flute in high school studying with an amazing teacher, but dropped it after college along with the other instruments, before taking up music again a few years ago.

Today I practice piano 30 minutes in the morning and sax for an hour or so at night. With a full-time job and a family, it seems like that should be enough to ask for and that there's no room for flute. But . . . I don't want that to be the answer.

Has anyone found a way to juggle practicing several instruments on a limited time budget while still making progress on all of them? I'm debating different strategies -- 15 minutes here and there on flute; flute before sax at night; flute mainly on weekends, etc -- and would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions you have.
 

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I need to play flute every day or it goes south quick. I can sneak a day off from sax if I wanted to but I don't. Really you can get alot done in a short time if you focus. I get my tech work pretty much done on flute and for sax its just applying chops to lines on chord tones. Anything I can do on flute I can do on sax faster so I don't need to replay all the scales and arpeggios I do on flute. I think you'd need at least 20 minutes on each just to maintain and get very slow growth K
 

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I may be asking too much, but really want to get back to the flute while still (a) learning piano and (b) continuing to progress on sax. I fell in the love with the flute in high school studying with an amazing teacher, but dropped it after college along with the other instruments, before taking up music again a few years ago.

Today I practice piano 30 minutes in the morning and sax for an hour or so at night. With a full-time job and a family, it seems like that should be enough to ask for and that there's no room for flute. But . . . I don't want that to be the answer.

Has anyone found a way to juggle practicing several instruments on a limited time budget while still making progress on all of them? I'm debating different strategies -- 15 minutes here and there on flute; flute before sax at night; flute mainly on weekends, etc -- and would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions you have.
I understand this struggle so well! I love flute, tenor and alto equally, and want to progress on all three with a very busy schedule. Seems impossible! I went back to school to study music performance for altruistic reasons. I was going to focus on saxophone but ended up majoring in flute, which I love also, but I've had to commit to some saxophone projects to make sure I kept that moving along. There are seasons of life for everything, I guess, so it's good to just realize how lucky it is to have things to value so much to invest time and energy into. I don't know how the pros that have to keep up all those woodwinds do it and keep enjoying it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I understand this struggle so well! I love flute, tenor and alto equally, and want to progress on all three with a very busy schedule. Seems impossible!
You summed up the dilemma perfectly! I left the alto out of it, but the truth is, I'd love to be giving attention to the flute, tenor and alto all the time, plus piano. Maybe I should add triathlons and leaping tall buildings in a single bound, too.

My sense is that what Keith said is true - 20 minutes a day minimum. But that's probably just for maintenance not much improvement. I guess I'm trying to decide whether to start a maintenance schedule now, or whether to wait until I have more time to devote to the flute.
 

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I don't think I could make much progress on a schedule like that. Piano can be a bit easier to just sit down at when you have 15-20 minutes free and get a little time in. Likewise, if you have an electronic keyboard you can use that with headphones and play at night or in the morning without disturbing the rest of your family so that maybe a way to get a few more minutes of practice on keys. For me, I can't even get warmed up on flute or sax in less than 15-20 minutes so if I don't have an hour or so worth of time I usually don't bother but other folks can play for 1/2 and hour a day and maintain their chops so it depends upon what works for you. In the end I guess it depends upon what level of mastery you want to have on each instrument. If you've played an instrument for 30+ years you've likely reached a level where you can maintain that level just playing 20-30 minutes a day or maybe even every-other-day, but if you are just learning an instrument you really don't have much skill to maintain. For most, I think it takes more time to develop that skill than just to maintain it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
For me, I can't even get warmed up on flute or sax in less than 15-20 minutes so if I don't have an hour or so worth of time I usually don't bother
That's the way I feel. An hour is too short as it is; I guess I'm asking for a miracle cure for too little time.
 

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I potter with the saxs and clarinet and piano - even with my very meger musical ability.
I find it helps, sometimes, to be reasonably clear on what's being practiced - i.e. ability on an instrument vs capital-M-Music.
For example, learning the same piece on alto/tenor/clarinet can be interesting to reveal details which might get overlooked when one has just learned it on one instrument - because the fingers can lock-in habits and, even, small mistakes, at least I've found that.
... and learning it at some level on the Piano can help on the harmony understanding.
Equally, for me, the piano is first-and-foremost about learning music 'theory' - chords, inversions, progressions, rhythms, all sorts... it's nice to learn a tune or two, but I prioritize stuff that I can transfer to the tubes...
As for finding time - as the "old saying" goes "time is infinite, it is you who is finite", no way round that! Like you, I do piano in the morning, sax (week or two Alto, week or two Tenor) in the evening and only 15-20 mins clarinet in the afternoon because I really don't have the chops for more yet!
 

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Well, I play a little bit of flute while my sax reeds soak in warm water and that doubles as muscular warm up too.

There is no way to multiply hours but using time that you would otherwise spend can be a way.
 

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Exactly and it’s the embochure adjustments on the lip plate and tongue placement that have to be so consistent especially with no aid from an octave mechanism that are some of the challenges that distinguishes flute from other reed instruments. The more second nature through practice and exercises your embochure becomes, the quicker the warm up becomes so 20 minutes can be more like 10 and even if you can’t get a full hour and a half of playing in, 45 minutes to an hour is doable every other day.

That's the way I feel. An hour is too short as it is; I guess I'm asking for a miracle cure for too little time.
 

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For years I believed I needed at least 45 minutes to an hour for flute....I started with a new teacher a few months ago, she suggested 10 minutes at a time....so I weave it into my sax practice time....even if I only get 10 minutes, it’s every day and doing what she showed me has really made a massive difference in my sound....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow, I went to bed resigned to holding off on flute. Then, on viewing the further comments this morning, I feel encouraged to pick it up again, thanks!

My goals with piano are also limited to
music 'theory' - chords, inversions, progressions, rhythms, all sorts... it's nice to learn a tune or two, but I prioritize stuff that I can transfer to the tubes...
Also, I, too, feel that playing multiple instruments can help in interesting ways with each of them and with music generally.

I'll probably keep the late evening for sax alone, but it seems like there are several possibilities for where to put flute and piano during the day, and I'm encouraged now to think it isn't a crazy idea to try. Thanks again for sharing your experiences, gotta love this board!
 

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I love flute, piccolo, clarinet, sax, classical guitar, pan pipes, dizi, voice, etc
What a dilemma!
When I do practice it is very focussed, very analytical, very critical, never accepting anything less than "perfection" in slow practice, before speeding it up. Mercilessly making myself play something well 5 times for ever time I play it badly, because reinforcing "badly" by repeating it is so destructive to progress.
It's hard work.
Playing to wallow in the pleasure of the playing is not really part of it at all. Unfortunately. Unfortunately I seldom get time for that.
 

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Glad to hear you found inspiration and encouragement!

Wow, I went to bed resigned to holding off on flute. Then, on viewing the further comments this morning, I feel encouraged to pick it up again, thanks!

My goals with piano are also limited to

Also, I, too, feel that playing multiple instruments can help in interesting ways with each of them and with music generally.

I'll probably keep the late evening for sax alone, but it seems like there are several possibilities for where to put flute and piano during the day, and I'm encouraged now to think it isn't a crazy idea to try. Thanks again for sharing your experiences, gotta love this board!
 

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I keep my Alto, tenor & flute on practice stands together. What ever material I am working on, I simply rotate horns. This mimics what I do on my gigs. Most nights I'm probably 50% tenor, 30% alto & 20% flute on gigs. The point here is keep rotating in practice. Obviously there are certain practices that will be specific to each individual horn, but the rotation concept holds true.
 

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This might be a rediculus idea but you can experiment with getting less sleep by taking strategic nap/s in the day.
 

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I have practiced sax, clarinet and flute pretty much from the get go. My teacher made me do it. I started on sax the 1st year, 1 hour a day, added clarinet in the 2nd, then flute in the 3rd. Until recently I played sax on day 1, clarinet the next, then flute on day 3 etc, but now since I don't play out much on flute and clarinet, I do sax, clarinet, sax, flute etc. Within each of those families I rotate each time between SATB, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, and flute/piccolo/alto flute.

I also practice piano, 20 minutes in the morning, and 20 minutes in the evening.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank for the continued encouragement and extra tips! It’s really helpful to see other people working to keep multiple horns (and piano) in rotation.

I’ve played flute the past few days between getting home from work and dinner. Finding 20-30 minutes a day doesn’t seem to be a problem; I just can’t get greedy and hope to be playing Telemann and Barbosa fluently very soon.

I see how all the instruments — sax, flute, and piano — help in each other in different ways, and, of course, they’re all tied together by the ear and listening. Since my family finds it easier to listen to flute and piano, I feel like they’re my “bonus time” before the night practice sessions on sax at the office. It’s exciting stuff!
 

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Post #12 points to proper practice attitude so the question is ..... what specifically do you do in each 20-30 minute session?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Post #12 points to proper practice attitude so the question is ..... what specifically do you do in each 20-30 minute session?
This past week, during the 20 minutes that I played between work and dinner, here was my routine:
1. 5 minutes on long tones slurring octaves.
2. 10 minutes on the first of the 17 daily exercises from Taffanel and Gaubert.
3. 5 minutes picking out exercises randomly from the Ernest Wagner "Foundation to Flute Playing." (Okay, one night I couldn't resist playing another 20 minutes on Manha de Carnval.)

I played flute a lot in high school and here and there over the years. I'm just getting reacquainted with it and wondering what goals I might like to set. 20 minutes doesn't seem remotely enough, but it's start and better than none at all.
 
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