Tips for Practicing
Tips for Practicing: This page is to help you with your practicing.
- Don’t play through a piece. Find 8-16 measures in a piece and work on it.
- Practice in groups can be more fun.
- Break your work down. If the problem is:
- Rhythms: write out the counts (numbers), say it with a beat, play on one note, play it as written.
- Dynamics (loud, soft): on one note, that dynamics to hear it.
- Articulation (tonguing accents, slurs, etc…): practice slow (with beat)
- Fingerings: find fingerings, write them out, play them one note at a time, play them a couple notes at a time, play it slow in time (with beat), speed up.
- Pitch (finding a high or low note): check out the fingerings, play a scale up to the note, play the note a couple of times in a row (make sure you can hit it), play it in the measure, play it in the piece.
- Find a good time to practice (just like homework time) and keep it there.
- Use your resources to figure things out (finger charts, glossary in Red Book, exercises from Red and Blue Books, Simply strings, rhythm charts).
- Tools to help practicing:
- Metronome (beepy thing that keeps a beat): remember to tap your foot to the beat as well.
- Tuner to check note against to help stay in tune.
- Sit up and breathe with a big stomach.
- Mirror to look at your face, hands and instrument
- Your books to look up things you don’t know.
- Good exercises for each instrument to warm-up on are:
- Woodwinds: scales in different keys (check your fingerings), then a piece from Red or Blue book.
- Brass: long tones (green pages at the beginning of Red book), then scales, then pieces from the Red or Blue book.
- Percussion: Snare warm-up of rhythms in back of Red and Blue book, then scales for Snare Drum followed by a piece. For Mallets: scales from Red and Blue book and then a piece.
- Choir: Mi, Me, Mah, Mo, Moo, and then solfedge exercises on CD. Then pieces (work on words).
- Hand bells: Practice movements of a piece in rhythmic time while saying the rhythms (keep a beat).
- Strings: scales in common keys, then move into more complex fingerings. Use rhythms in the book to help with bowing issues.
Remember that practice is time for you to work on what you need to fix. If you have something that you play correctly, then spend your time on material that you are having problems on. NOTE: If you don’t understand something, ask me or someone else who does.
Always end your practice with singing or playing something that you enjoy (there are lot of books at the music store with song that are for enjoyment).