- Students are recommended to practice at least 20 minutes, five days a week.
- Students involved in extra-curricular bands or auditions will need to put in additional practice time.
- Students can best concentrate in a quiet, well-lit room with a chair and music stand.
- Instruments need to be taken home nightly.
- Practice assignments are posted on Genesis and my webpage.
1. “Cramming” does not work, that is you can not make up for a week of not practicing by practicing for a couple hours the night before a lesson.
2. Find a quiet room in your house that is well-lit. Be sure to sit in a chair with good posture and use proper playing position – this is nearly impossible without a music stand. Practicing on the sofa, on your bed, or on the swing set is not a good idea! Mirrors can be helpful in checking out your embouchure and playing position.
3. Be sure to use a warm-up like we do in lessons. Then you should practice scales, lesson book material, and band music. End your practice session with something fun!
4. Try to set both short-term goals (e.g. figure out this rhythm) and long term goals (e.g. improve my high register).
5. Whole–Chunk–Whole Try to play through the entire scale, passage, or exercise first without stopping. Remember the mistakes that you made. Now isolate the hard or troublesome chunks and work on them alone until they reach perfection (could be 2 notes, one measure, or a big section). Now try to play through the entire thing to make sure you can play that chunk in context.
6. Slow down the hard parts and gradually increase the speed.
7. Figure out the rhythm first (write in counts, clap it, speak it), then worry about correct notes, and then worry about all the details.
8. Always be sure to check the form, key signature, and time signature before practicing something.
9. Don’t be afraid to write in sharps, flats, counting, fingerings, note names, or circle things IN PENCIL as a reminder.
10. Always tap your foot and practice with a metronome if you have one.
11. When your embouchure is getting tired practice speaking the rhythm, singing the notes, or fingering along.
12. You will only know if you “really have it down” when you can play it several times perfectly. Repetition is key!
13. Always strive for the most beautiful tone possible
14. Reading music is critical. Don’t just think, “How’s this go?” Figure it out like we do in lessons.
15. If you get frustrated, just take a break and come back fresh. Even professional players have bad days. Relax and let it go.