All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians

Beginner how long does a pro practice


Senior Member
Frankston Victoria Australia
I haven't written this as a question but to inspire other beginners out there who are just starting out.

I have seen a few beginners on this forum ask "how long should I practice?"
I have heard of some professionals who will practice 12 or more hours a day.
I used to think how could they do that????

But lately I`ve had a couple of guys who have been mentoring me and I`ve got a real fire in my belly
and I could now see myself practicing for hours.
My passion is taking over my life but I don't care!!!!!
I just want sax ,sax ,sax.......
Ive been playing / learning for three years now, and I think I can now stop calling myself a beginner
Im starting to understand the scales .....improvising.... etc.
Time frames will be different for everybody and learning one way may not suit everyone
experiment with different ways of practice and learning until you find your way.
you tube has been the most inspirational tool I have used of late.
Good luck to all of you

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Burnley bb9 9dn
If I don't play every day for at least an hour I seem to develop a twitchyness.

The day after a day not playing and it feels awful.

I can do anything from an hour to 12 hours, but usually these days around four hours practice, if I'm not out playing.

I find the more I play, the more I want to. I've decided to commit full time now. Knocked the agency work on the head and it's sax all the way. Not much money but I'm eating and have spare reeds lol


Busking Oracle
Rugby UK
I've decided to commit full time now. Knocked the agency work on the head and it's sax all the way. Not much money but I'm eating and have spare reeds lol

Colin I haven't quite got the guts to go fully pro! I admire you and wish you all the luck in the world!!!!!

Allansto, I don't "practice" as such. I'm either busking or gigging. I gig with two very different bands, one is pure Rock 'n' Roll which gives me the chance to really express myself. Each gig with them is about 2.5 to 3 hours in duration, but it's full on hard sax all night! By the end my lip is raw and I know I've had to work for my money. My other band is the Pink Floyd tribute band, where I'm on stage for a maximum of 15 minutes per gig! With this band, I'm restricted to playing the pieces as close as I can to the original.Two real extremes. I also busk, and this is what I call my practice sessions. I will busk three or four times a week and each time is a minimum of four hours and a maximum of six hours.


Hobart, Tasmania
The answer is probably "enough to maintain a sufficient standard so as to continue to get paid". Then you have people like Coltrane......

Reed Warbler

Senior Member
Marciac, France
The great cellist Pablo Casals was asked, at a very advanced age, why he still practiced. Response:"Because I'm still improving". Professional is a category that has nothing to do with musical ability. People who get paid for playing aren't necessarily better than amateurs, some just got lucky. I've known great pros who hardly ever practiced and others who did, obsessively, non-stop, every available waking moment. I was with Don Weller on a long train journey in Germany. He got his sax out and filled the time usefully, others read books! Went to a film with a sax player once and realised he was practicing fingerings on his shin, in the dark, knee raised. That's dedication! We practice to maintain chops, improve, or just because we love music. Doesn't cost anything either!
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Sue


Well-Known Member
Your Casals quote reminds me of the term student as opposed to professional, as If you stop being a student because you start getting paid. Not in my book. An other quote is you are what you do all day long. So if you play/practice your Sax most of the day. You are a Sax player. How good ? well that varies. I've heard players that do a great audition for an orchestral position, but when they get the job, they have trouble playing as an ensemble player, so don't last beyond the trial period.


Elementary member
Berkshire, UK
What do you call a man with no shins?........................................................Tony


ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Just north of Munich
You can also practice in your head - play, hear... An amazing exercise, especially when you need to work on something.

Guess that's what the shin player was doing. Guess he was a Bari player.


Well-Known Member
I agree, that practicing in your head is worthwhile, especially if you are a bit like me, and go at things like a bull in a china shop.

Staff online

Popular Discussions

New York
Los Angeles
New Delhi
Top Bottom