In The Practice of Practice, I recommend learning the tumbao and clave patterns on conga, or learning any rhythm instrument. Here’s a lesson on playing the guiro, from Bobby Sanabria. He teaches not only how to play it, but where the patterns go in the clave pattern.
Most mammals use play and playfulness in practice, including the musician in this amazing video, the great trumpeter, educator, and composer, Allen Vizzutti (discography/bibliography):
Here’s George Carlin’s critique of his 1992 performance on David Letterman (video of his appearance below the notes).
Whenever I hear the “Concerto for Trumpet in Eb” by Johann Nepomuk Hummel I have this flashback: I’m once again in high school, about to perform the Concerto (on a Bb trumpet). It’s an ambitious piece for any trumpet player, let alone a high schooler; let alone a kid from rural Alaska who has had no lessons. I’m nervous, of course, but I’ve practiced (or so I think), I’ve worked with my excellent accompanist a few times. I’ve never performed it before but I don’t give this much thought because I’m too nervous. I sit in the warm-up room and practice a little before I go perform. That’s not true. I practice a LOT. It’s becoming frighteningly clear to me–much too late–that I don’t really know this piece. I work the sections that are difficult (there are a lot) and begin to get tired. My chops are getting tender. I stop practicing and go perform with a feeling of trepidation in my gut.