The Art of Practicing
Every music teacher you’ll ever encounter will tell you practicing is important, but not only is practicing important but how you practice is even more!
When you decide to sit down and start practicing, using your time effectively is key to ensure that you are getting the most out of the practice. You want to have a healthy mix of scales and etudes as well as materials from class (band or orchestra).
I start out each practice session by doing a series of short breathing exercises. First I do a few long inhales and exercises followed by a few small in rhythm breathings. Inhaling for 4 counts and exhaling for 4 counts. This helps warm up my lungs for what comes next.
I always begin playing with scales. Scales help expand your range of notes and get your fingers warmed up for the day, just like doing stretches before a work out. This works on the same general principal.
If you take lessons your teacher will usually assign a few ‘etudes’ or exercises to improve playing technique. If you don’t take lessons, taking lessons is one of the fastest ways to improve your playing abilities. By having an expert assist you on your playing, students can improve almost twice as fast in their first few years because of the personal guidance on your instrument.
Finally finishing with the required materials for the week, catching up on band or orchestra music you might be behind on so you’re prepared for class for the week
Some other tips for practicing are
- Practicing a minimum of 15 minutes per day instead of an hour for only one day a week will help improve your daily playing ability, embouchure muscles and support.
- Mixing technique with fun. Playing scales for a bit and then finding music you like, pop songs or popular song books will make practicing more exciting.
- Keeping on task, Set a time and a place where you can concentrate on your music in a place free of distractions, sometimes even practicing at school in a neutral environment will keep you on task
- Use a metronome and tuner. Always practicing all the time will a metronome and tuner will help your rhythm as well as intonation. If you haven’t learned about intonation or a tuner ask your band director!
- Finding videos online. In todays world it’s so easy to find tips and tricks online, on how to practice. Using online resources can really expand your horizon on playing and help you discover new exciting things.
If you’re interested in learning more about lessons you can call us in Itasca at 630-285-1485 or talk to your band director!
If you’re interested in hearing more about practicing and breathing correctly we have the perfect opportunity coming on May 7th with an amazing Patrick Sheridan! Check out the event page HERE.
Music and Arts, Itasca IL