Art of Practicing
ART OF PRACTICING
1. Practicing makes you better but perfect practice makes you perfect.
Careful practicing yields quality results. Would you turn in math homework on which all your answers were guesses? Of course not! 5+5 is not 11, and your teacher will not think your answer is close enough and mark it correct.
PRACTICE YOUR MUSIC CAREFULLY. ACCURACY COUNTS!
2. Practice only on the days you eat!
If you join a soccer team and never go to practice, will you get to play in games? Practicing has to occur regularly for there to be any progress. Sometimes practicing is the last thing you want to do, but it’s the ONLY way to get better.
MAKE IT A HABIT! EXCUSES MAKE YOU LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR GOALS.
3. You can’t buy skill.
No one can buy you a skill. You can’t buy excellent basketball skills or gymnastics ability or musical skill. All skills come from one thing: HARD WORK. It’s the only way. There are no shortcuts.
IF YOU PUT IN THE EFFORT, YOU WILL GET RESULTS!
4. Learning an instrument means making lots of mistakes at first.
You didn’t learn your multiplication tables the very first time someone told them to you. You had to practice them many times in order to master them. The same thing goes for riding a bicycle or even learning to walk. You fall many times but you get right back up and try again.
THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO KEEP TRYING! DON’T GIVE UP!
5. Set a goal.
The Olympic champions are great examples of people who set goals and work hard to achieve them. Every one of these athletes worked very hard at practicing their skills. Not one of them was born with an Olympic medal around their neck! They each had to work hard and set goals along the way to get to the top.
YOU CAN DO THAT TOO!
Say what? Slow Motion. Slow It Down. Get It Right.
Here is what you do: Play each section as slow as you can. Try for accuracy in getting every note exactly right. Speed it up once you’re awesome!
Strategy: CHUNK IT!
Say what? Break Down the Music Into Small Parts
Here is what you do: Break each section down into 2 notes. Once you can play those two notes correctly, add 1 more, and then 1 more...and 1 more…
Strategy: PENCIL POWER!
Say what? Write It In!
Here is what you do: Isn’t there a pencil in your orchestra binder?
Strategy: FIVE TIMES BEATS THE GRIND!
Say what? Play Each Section Through Five Times Perfectly Before Going On
Here is what you do: Play each section through five times without any mistakes. If you can’t play it five times perfectly, go back and try again…and again...and again…and
Strategy: THINK IT, SEE IT, DO IT!
Say what? Practice First Without Your Instrument
Here is what you do: Put your instrument in its case. Try counting the rhythm out loud and then clap it out. Then get your instrument and pluck the rhythm on an open string. Then air bow.
Strategy: FORGETTA ‘BOUT IT
Say what? Go On To Something You Do Well Then Come Back To The Challenging Section
Here is what you do: Having trouble? De-stress by going back to something you can play really well (Twinkle, anyone?) and once you feel good about yourself again, hit the challenging section.
Strategy: KARAOKE TIME!
Say what? Sing It Through. Make the Windows Shatter!
Here is what you do: Maybe you’re not the next Taylor Swift or Nick Jonas, but singing the passage out loud as if no one is listening will make you better faster. Try to sing in tune, please.
Strategy: YOUTUBE, ANYONE?
Say what? Get A Computer, CD Player, or Your Phone. Listen To What You REALLY Sound Like.
Say what? So maybe you’re not going to be the next YouTube sensation just yet, but listening to yourself on a recording is a great way to hear what’s really coming out of your instrument!